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Why Cyber Incident Response Plans Matter

high tech cyber coding graphic

Simply put, every organization that stores or handles data is at risk of a cyber attack.

As technology advances, companies are collecting, storing and transferring more personal information about their customers and employees than ever before. This not only puts a target on an organization’s back, but it also means that just one breach can affect thousands or even millions of individuals.

And, unfortunately for businesses, cyber incidents cost more than just data:

  • Data breaches are becoming increasingly expensive. While cyber liability insurance can help offset the costs of a data breach and any subsequent litigation, just one breach can be financially devastating. According to a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach was $5.78 million, or $255 per lost or stolen record.
  • Cyber incidents can lead to serious reputational damage, significantly impacting directors and officers. Reputational damages can easily reach six figures. According to Kaspersky Lab, a global cyber security company, a single cyber incident caused brand damage of $8,000 for small and medium-sized businesses and $200,000 for larger organizations. When wide-scale breaches occur, a company’s reputation can be tarnished, sometimes permanently. In addition, the public holds organizations accountable for major losses of personal data, and directors and officers are often the ones who take the blame.The Benefits of a Cyber Incident Response PlanMost organizations have some form of data protection in place. While these protections are critical for minimizing the damages caused by a breach, they don’t provide clear action steps following an attack. That’s where cyber incident response plans can help.Cyber incident response plans are written guides comprised of instructions, procedures and protocols that enable an organization to respond to and recover from various kinds of data security incidents. Cyber attacks are no longer a matter of if, but when, and reacting to an inevitable breach takes more than just threat neutralization.Companies must have the ability to respond to and defend against evolving threats. Cyber incident response plans give organizations the tools they need to further enhance their data protection practices as well as help them:
  1. Anticipate cyber security incidents before they occur.
  2. Minimize the impact of cyber security incidents.
  3. Mitigate threats and vulnerabilities while a cyber attack occurs.
  4. Improve cyber security response overall, encouraging buy-in at a management level.
  5. Reduce the direct and indirect costs caused by cyber security incidents.
  6. Maintain business continuity in the face of major threats.
  7. Prevent the loss of data critical to their business.
  8. Improve the overall security of their organization.
  9. Strengthen their reputation as a secure business, thus increasing partner and customer confidence.
  10. Devote more time and resources to business improvements, innovation and growth.

Above all, cyber incident response plans can help organizations better understand the nature of an attack, which, in turn, promotes a fast and thorough response to threats. However, cyber incident response plans are typically created and implemented as part of larger cyber security programs. As such, it’s important for businesses to have a basic understanding of what goes into creating an effective cyber security program.

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