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Incident Management Checklist For More Efficient Cybersecurity

An incident management audit checklist is a step-by-step plan that prepares your company for any cybersecurity incidents such as data breaches, malware attacks, or natural disasters. It gives your employees a clear procedure to follow so they know how to protect your company from such threats and enables them to take quick and effective action.

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What Is An Incident Management Checklist?


Incident management (IcM) describes an organization’s or team’s effort to address incidents that have occurred and it’s all about planning and being prepared. In order to do this, the hazardous incident in question is being identified, analyzed and corrected. Without incident management tactics, problems are left to run their own course, threatening business operations, employees, as well as customers or clients.


Planning how to respond to an unplanned event is a big part and important part of IcM, all in the vein of the popular saying: Better safe than sorry. If you learn and practice to expect the unexpected, occurring incidents can be addressed much quicker and potentially be resolved without any or maybe only minor lasting repercussions.


By using a checklist of things to look out for and actions to perform in the event of certain incidents, you increase the probability of addressing a problem as soon as it arises rather than when it’s too late. With a checklist, everyone immediately knows his role and can act accordingly to save operations.


With proper incident management you can minimize the impact of cyber-related issues, avert attacks and react appropriately to natural disasters in order to save relevant data. Avoid disruptions, upkeep your service quality and assure clients that their information is as well protected as possible, ensuring well-maintained relationships.



In this article, we will discuss:


1. Why your company needs an incident management checklist


2. What makes a good incident management checklist


3. The 4 phases of the incident management process


4. How to manage incidents with digital checklists



Employee rebuffing cyber attack on laptop

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Why You Need an Incident Management Checklist


Every company should be prepared to perform an incident management audit when necessary. Many companies experience workplace cyber attacks at least once. Such attacks result in disrupted business and high costs related to dealing with resluting damages or theft of IT assets and infrastructure.


The new way of digital working may be beneficial for business but comes with its own set of challenges, too. If you don’t offer remote work, you risk missing out on the best talent, but remote work options can act as open doors to data breaches and cyber attacks.


You need a good incident management audit checklist to address these growing challenges, so that you can train your staff in what to look for. This way everyone is aware and prepared and can take action at the first sign of any trouble to protect your business.



What Makes An Efficient Incident Management Checklist?


A good incident management audit report starts with some basic groundwork. Your incident management checklist should be tailored to your business – one-size-fits-all simply doesn’t work in this case. However, there are some general tips you can follow in order to create the best incident management checklist for your business.


First, you need to figure out how much risk you’re taking on in your daily operations and how much you’re willing to tolerate. For instance, if your website holds credit card information for thousands of customers the cost of a data breach could be devastating. On the other hand, perhaps your business simply doesn’t keep a lot of sensitive information. Therefore a data breach for you would maybe “only” mean that hackers gain access to your employee network passwords. While inconvenient and worrisome, this can ideally be fixed easily enough. Further, a data breach of that nature won’t necessarily ruin your reputation and compromise your client’s trust. In fact, if you become aware of such an incident early on, it might not have to become public at al and can be dealt with internally.


Second, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the need for an incident management audit plan. Your C-level executives need to understand the importance of cybersecurity and must be willing to allocate the budget and personnel needed to take care of it. Even if your business isn’t particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, what would you do if your office were hit by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or flood? Would you have all the data backups you needed to get back to business as usual? Really think of all possibilities and complete a risk assessment so that you know what to expect.


Once you’ve figured out how much security you need and have the money set aside to pay for it, it’s time to assemble your incident management team. Will you need full-time cybersecurity, or will you assign certain people to take care of incidents as they arise? You should also make a list of everyone who needs to be informed in case of an incident, both internal and external. For instance, you may need help from Human Resources to inform employees that their information has been compromised. You should also have contact information for law enforcement in your area so you can quickly report a hack or other cyber crime.


Once you are fully prepared, have weighed and considered every option and are aware of your undertaking, it’s time to design your incident management ticket audit checklist and figure out what to do in case of an actual cybersecurity incident.



Employee pointing out data breach

The 4 Phases Of Effective Incident Management


Your incident management audit report should cover the four main phases of the incident management process that cover the following points:


  1. Detect
  2. Contain
  3. Resolve
  4. Review

By using a standardized process, incident management is facilitated and easily repeatable. Implementing this specific sequence of actions into your processes in the event of a security breach takes the guesswork out of the incident resolution and allows employees to act as quickly as possible.


1. DETECTION


The first step of incident management is to actually detect the issue at hand. Your incident response team therfore identifies that an incident has taken place and reports it to the stakeholders concerned. They then track all the times the attack has taken place and conduct a thorough analysis of the incident. This part of the incident management checklist would document the following:


  • What is the source of the threat?
  • What type of threat is it? (For example: ransomware attack, phishing email, natural disaster, etc.)
  • What data or other business assets are affected?
  • What parts of the business are affected?
  • How big of a problem is it?

2. CONTAINMENT


Your team acts to contain the threat and reduce the damage. For instance, they might shut down the network and reset the passwords of affected accounts. Some hardware might need to be replaced. Maybe the data on compromised systems has to be erased and replaced from backups or law enforcement may need to be notified.


3. RESOLUTION


Once the threat has been defeated, what steps does your team need to take to restore your system to a usable state? Hopefully you can regain all your lost data and it won’t take that much time to bring your system back up again. Every step of the process should be documented as part of your internal audit checklist for incident management in preparation for the next stage and for future reference.


4. REVIEW


Once the incident has been addressed, it’s time for review. What can you do to improve your response to the next incident? Can you train your personnel to better identify suspicious emails? Are there any holes in your cyber defense system that need patching up? What can you add to your incident management checklist to improve it for the next time? Work on these questions diligently and consider this final step a preventive measure.


If you need more help designing your incident management checklist, Lumiform has a variety of free incident report templates to help you out.



More Effective Incident Management With Digital Checklists


With checklists, you can guide employees, teammates and colleagues through even the most complicated processes since step-by-step instructions provide employees with a manageable framework. Digital checklists prevent oversights by immediately connecting team members with one another and collecting data automatically.


As soon as incidents occur, a digital checklist is immediately available at a mere click of the finger or mouse and can help guide you through the most troublesome time. With Lumiform’s checklist app you can easily perform a multitude of safety and quality inspections on the go from your smartphone or tablet – online or offline.


  • Lumiform’s flexible form builder is especially useful. With its streamlined and straightforward design, it makes creating checklists intuitive and thus helps you convert any paper-based incident management checklists into a digital format immediately.
  • Lumiform offers a plethora of pre-made templates to choose from. Use them as inspiration or as your baseline and change whatever you need.
  • Our uncomplicated mobile app allows you and your team to react to any incidents with practiced ease and stay calm.
  • All completed incident management checklists are automatically summarized in a report that can be sent to responsible personnel on-the-fly.
  • Exhaustive and automated analyses help you uncover areas where you can perform more efficiently in the future and thus allow you to concentrate on improving processes continuously.



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