Cyber Incident Response Plan

Definition of Cyber Incident Response Plan

A Cyber Incident Response Plan is a set of well-defined, organized guidelines and procedures designed to effectively address and manage security breaches, cyber attacks, or any other form of unauthorized access to an organization’s digital infrastructure. The plan’s primary focus is to minimize damage, reduce recovery time, and mitigate potential risks associated with data breaches. It typically includes the identification, containment, eradication, recovery, and follow-up steps for handling a cyber incident.


The phonetics for “Cyber Incident Response Plan” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) are:- Cyber: /ˈsaɪbər/- Incident: /ˈɪnsɪdənt/- Response: /rɪˈspɒns/- Plan: /plæn/

Key Takeaways

  1. A Cyber Incident Response Plan is a critical component of modern cybersecurity strategies, outlining procedures and communication channels for effectively managing cyber threats and breaches.
  2. Having a well-defined, regularly updated, and practiced Cyber Incident Response Plan helps organizations to quickly detect, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents, minimizing their impact on business operations and reputation.
  3. Key elements of a successful Cyber Incident Response Plan include identifying incident response team members, specifying their roles and responsibilities, establishing communication and escalation protocols, and creating guidelines to follow in the event of a cyber incident such as identifying, containing, eradicating, recovering, and learning from security breaches.

Importance of Cyber Incident Response Plan

The technology term “Cyber Incident Response Plan” is important because it serves as a proactive, organized, and systematic approach to handling and managing potential cybersecurity threats and breaches.

With the rapid advancement of technology and increasing reliance on digital systems, the risk of encountering cyber-attacks has also risen significantly.

A robust Cyber Incident Response Plan helps organizations identify, address, and mitigate these risks before they cause substantial harm to their valuable resources, reputation, and bottom line.

By having a well-defined plan in place, companies can quickly respond to security incidents, minimize downtime, protect sensitive data, comply with regulatory requirements, and maintain the confidence of their stakeholders, thereby ensuring the continuity and stability of business operations.


A Cyber Incident Response Plan serves as an organization’s blueprint in navigating and addressing cybersecurity threats and breaches. The primary purpose of this plan is to outline the steps to be taken to effectively respond, contain, and minimize the impacts of a cyber-attack, ensuring the continuity of the organization’s operations and the protection of sensitive information.

A well-prepared response plan is crucial in preventing the escalation of cyber incidents, which can lead to significant financial losses, reputational damage, and legal complications. By implementing a thorough Cyber Incident Response Plan, organizations can preserve stakeholder trust, quickly resume normal business practices, and be better prepared to face future threats.

In the development of a Cyber Incident Response Plan, organizations typically define the key roles and responsibilities of each team member involved in the response, and establish a series of pre-determined actions to be executed when an incident occurs. These actions may involve identifying the source of the breach, isolating affected systems, assessing the extent of the damage, as well as remediation steps such as patching vulnerabilities and restoring services.

Additionally, a comprehensive response plan will provide guidelines on how to effectively communicate with internal stakeholders and external parties such as customers, partners, and regulators. Regular training exercises and plan evaluations are crucial to ensuring that the Cyber Incident Response Plan remains current, effective, and ready to be deployed when a cyber incident takes place.

Examples of Cyber Incident Response Plan

A Cyber Incident Response Plan (CIRP) is a crucial element for organizations as it lays out specific processes and procedures for identifying, containing, and recovering from cyber security incidents. Here are three real-world examples of companies or organizations that needed or implemented a Cyber Incident Response Plan:

Equifax Data Breach (2017):In September 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit bureaus, reported that its systems had been breached, compromising the personal data of around 147 million people. The breach included sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Equifax’s response to the incident was deemed as inadequate, as the company failed to address the issue in a timely and appropriate manner. Since then, Equifax has implemented a robust cyber incident response plan to prevent future data breaches and respond rapidly and transparently to any potential incidents.

WannaCry Ransomware Attack (2017):In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack infected over 230,000 computers in more than 150 countries. The ransomware locked up users’ files and demanded ransom payments to release the data. Companies affected by the attack, including the UK’s National Health Service and prominent multinational corporations, had to enact their Cyber Incident Response Plans swiftly to contain the malware, restore operations, and secure their networks. This incident demonstrated the importance of having a robust CIRP to minimize downtime, financial losses, and other negative impacts of a cyber attack.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Hack (2014):In late 2014, a cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment led to the leak of confidential data, including personal information of employees, executive emails, and drafts of unreleased movies. The hack caused significant reputational damage, and Sony was forced to implement its Cyber Incident Response Plan to contain the breach and mitigate further damage. In the aftermath, Sony enhanced its cybersecurity measures to prevent future incidents and also worked to create a more effective incident response plan with closer collaboration between its IT and corporate communications departments.

Cyber Incident Response Plan FAQ

What is a Cyber Incident Response Plan?

A Cyber Incident Response Plan is a comprehensive guide for organizations to detect, mitigate, and recover from cybersecurity incidents, such as data breaches, ransomware attacks, and system outages. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of team members, communication protocols, and steps to take in order to minimize the impact of cyber incidents and restore normal operations as soon as possible.

Why is a Cyber Incident Response Plan important?

Having a Cyber Incident Response Plan in place is essential for organizations to proactively identify threats and ensure a quick and efficient response to cyber incidents. It can help minimize operational disruptions, protect sensitive data, safeguard an organization’s reputation, and reduce the financial impact of cybersecurity breaches.

What are the key components of a Cyber Incident Response Plan?

A Cyber Incident Response Plan typically includes the following key components:

  1. Purpose, Scope, and Objectives
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Incident Classification
  4. Incident Detection and Reporting
  5. Incident Response Process
  6. Communication and Information Sharing
  7. Incident Recovery
  8. Documentation and Post-Incident Review

How often should a Cyber Incident Response Plan be updated?

Organizations should review and update their Cyber Incident Response Plan regularly, at least annually, or more frequently depending on factors such as changes in business operations, advancements in technology, introduction of new regulations, and evolving threat landscapes. Additionally, a review should be conducted after every significant cyber incident to identify lessons learned and incorporate improvements into the plan.

Who should be involved in creating and maintaining a Cyber Incident Response Plan?

A multidisciplinary team should be involved in creating and maintaining a Cyber Incident Response Plan to ensure that all aspects of the organization are accounted for and prepared. This team may include representatives from IT, security, legal, human resources, public relations, and business management, among others. Involving various stakeholders will help ensure that the plan is effective in addressing the diverse concerns and needs of the organization.

Related Technology Terms

  • Threat Identification
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Incident Reporting
  • Containment and Remediation
  • Post-Incident Analysis

Sources for More Information


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