Why critical incident response is the ER of cybersecurity

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Category: Business

Author: Stephanie van Wissen


Prevention is smart, but not always easy to achieve. We all know what it can be like. Nobody wants to end up in the ER with acute heart problems, but preventing health issues by getting enough exercise, moderating our calorie intake and reducing stress is easier said than done.

A Cyber Security Incident Response Team is the emergency room of cybersecurity. You don’t want to need one, but once something bad happens, the ER doctors might just save your life. You don’t want to need critical incident response, but once a cyber incident occurs, you’ll be glad you have a team ready.

Recent regulatory frameworks underscore the growing emphasis on incident response in the cybersecurity landscape. NIS2, for instance, strongly advocates for the implementation of an incident response plan and the readiness of a dedicated Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CSIRT) to swiftly respond to serious threats.

It is important to recognize that while incident response is crucial in the aftermath of a security breach, the primary focus should always be on prevention. A solid cybersecurity strategy, with said focus on prevention, will ensure that your CSIRT will hardly ever be needed, as it ensures that most threats are stopped in their tracks. Just like taking care of your health should hopefully prevent any unexpected ER visits.

Six ways the Zero Trust strategy makes sure critical incident response is hardly ever needed

Zero Trust is a cybersecurity strategy focused on preventing data breaches. It does so by eliminating the need for digital trust, using the guiding principle of ‘never trust, always verify’.

But, how exactly does one eliminate the need for digital trust? Let’s look at six ways Zero Trust focuses on prevention and cuts down the need for a CSIRT.

  1. Protect Surfaces: The first of the five steps of implementing Zero Trust is to define protect surfaces. Protect surfaces are microsegments within your architecture. By isolating segments and setting strict access rules per protect surface, Zero Trust limits lateral movement within the network, reducing the likelihood of a widespread security incident.

  2. Identity-Centric Security: Verifying user and device identities is a fundamental aspect of Zero Trust, preventing unauthorized access and decreasing the likelihood of security incidents that might require the intervention of a CSIRT.

  3. Proactive Threat Prevention: Zero Trust employs continuous monitoring and analysis, allowing for the early detection of potential threats before they escalate, minimizing the need for extensive reactive measures.

  4. Least Privilege Access: Zero Trust adheres to the principle of least privilege, restricting user access rights and minimizing the attack surface, thereby reducing the chances of a security breach. Employees only have access to the files on the server they need to do their job, and not to anywhere else.

  5. Continuous Authentication: Zero Trust goes beyond traditional authentication methods by implementing adaptive and context-aware authentication, enhancing overall security and reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

  6. Automated Incident Response: With automated incident response processes, Zero Trust streamlines the identification and mitigation of security incidents, minimizing the reliance on manual intervention and expediting the response time, reducing the potential workload for the CSIRT.

This doesn’t mean critical incident response is redundant

As the six ways listed above show, Zero Trust is all about preventing issues before they get out of hand. But that doesn’t negate the need for incident response; it just means your CSIRT doesn’t have to clock in as often. Think of it like having a security team that’s so good at nipping problems in the bud that they don’t need to be on high alert all the time.

By implementing a Zero Trust strategy you ensure that 99,999% of threats are prevented by automation, leaving your CSIRT to focus on the most serious ones. To bring it back to the ER metaphor; just because people as a whole take good care of their health, doesn’t mean no one will ever need the emergency room. When said emergency does take place, you’ll be glad to have a skilled team in place to handle it.

Incident response services & csirt

In the event of a high-impact cybersecurity incident, where rapid and effective response is crucial, the role of a Cyber Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) becomes paramount.

Find out more about our CSIRT services:

Cybersecurity Incident response brochure
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