In today’s world, the threat of cyberattacks looms large, with malicious actors growing increasingly sophisticated and financially motivated attacks becoming more frequent. With new malware families being discovered daily, organizations of all sizes and industries need to have a plan of action in place to mitigate the impact of cyberattacks.
According to experts, having detailed cyber playbooks is essential. These playbooks should outline what teams should do when an attack occurs, covering best- to worst-case scenarios. This will allow security leaders to promptly address the issue, reassure business leaders, and move forward as quickly as possible in the event of an attack.
While each cyberattack is unique and requires its own procedure and recovery plan, there are three critical considerations that chief information security officers (CISOs) should discuss with their security teams and business leaders to ensure they are prepared for cyberattacks.
Before a cyberattack occurs, CISOs and security leaders should prioritize educating stakeholders. This involves regularly engaging with business leaders about cybersecurity, especially those who may not be directly involved in day-to-day security operations. They should foster strong relationships with business leadership, build a comprehensive framework that outlines roles and responsibilities, and continuously test plans to proactively detect flaws and adjust response practices.
By implementing these initiatives, CISOs can reassure stakeholders that a plan of attack has been mutually agreed upon and tested in preparation for any potential future cyberattacks.
During a cyberattack, effective and empathetic communication is essential. Organizations should be able to quickly activate their teams for response and communicate effectively with empathy to reassure those impacted by the attack, both internally and externally.
After a cyberattack, organizations should create an open space for honest and insightful postmortems. It is important for security teams to reflect on the incident to understand what went well and how they can improve for the future. This should be done without blaming any particular individual and should involve reviewing the playbook in detail with stakeholders to determine if any adjustments are needed for a more effective response.
One example of this approach is Google’s concept of blameless post-mortems, which encourage open discussions about what went wrong, what went right, and the lessons learned from the incident.
Ultimately, the goal is to avoid surprises before, during, and after a cyber incident. Organizations should consistently communicate and educate stakeholders throughout the entire cyberattack cycle to increase understanding and avoid making the same mistakes again. By creating a plan of action that is frequently tested, establishing roles and responsibilities, updating playbooks, communicating frequently, conducting postmortems, and asking for outside help when needed, organizations can improve their response to cyberattacks. While it may not be possible to avoid cyberattacks entirely, organizations can strive to become more effective in addressing them.