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Improving Incident Response Workflows for Your Remote Team

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

New research from PwC cites that 38% of tech leaders report an increase in their organization’s exposure to security threats. No team wants to fall victim to a cyber security attack or huge roadblocks, but in this day and age preparing for a variety of complex incidents that may befall your team is the best strategy for success. When something goes wrong, the outcome can either be the result of preparation or be filled with anxiety and errors. Ensuring your team knows exactly how to handle a data breach or mitigate a PR crisis is crucial to ensuring your team stays agile and capable of protecting your assets, clients, and more. This is where a tried and tested incident response plan is necessary for your success.

The Essence of Incident Response

Incident response (IR) is a structured methodology for handling security breaches and cyber threats so that organizations can quickly contain and mitigate the threat and its effects. “It is essential for businesses of all sizes and sectors to prepare for incident response.” You don’t want to inform clients that their data is still at risk or that the problem still needs to be resolved days after a breach.

For remote teams, the dynamics of incident response workflows take on additional layers of complexity. The unique demands of remote work require a new approach to IR, with communication, coordination, and security measures transcending physical boundaries. Remote teams must lean heavily on technology for real-time monitoring, automated alerts, and virtual collaboration tools to orchestrate their response efforts effectively. An example of this could be a remote team using encrypted communication channels to coordinate their response to a phishing attack that compromised several employee accounts, ensuring rapid isolation of affected systems and restoration of secure operations. While traditional tools can help get your team there, they often leave much to be desired when it comes to aiding efficiency and effective collaboration.

What to Consider When Forming an Incident Response Plan

Irrespective of industry, incident response plays a crucial role in many workflows. In healthcare, for example, a data breach might involve the unauthorized access of patient records, demanding swift action to secure data and notify affected individuals. In the financial sector, an incident could involve a sophisticated cyber-attack aimed at financial theft or data manipulation, requiring not just technical containment but also legal and regulatory responses. Meanwhile, in e-commerce, a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack could cripple online operations, necessitating rapid mitigation to restore service and protect against future attacks.

If your team faces even one of these situations mentioned above, you’ll want to consider how you will stay connected and agile while working to resolve the crisis. For remote teams, in particular, this presents a greater challenge. If you’re unable to physically join your team in a conference room to work on a problem, how can you stay informed, provide assistance, and have a comprehensive view of everything at once?

Crafting a Robust Incident Response Plan

A well-defined incident response plan is the linchpin of effective IR. You’ll want to consider how your team is currently set up, existing workflows that are already in place, and how your team works: remotely, hybrid, or a unique combination of the two. Most plans should include the following in some form or another:

  • Preparation: Establishing your IR team and equipping them with the tools and authority to act decisively. Developing processes and procedures for each team member that needs to be involved. Surveying your team is a great way to understand where they see areas for improvement or where they could use more support. This will likely look different for remote teams compared to teams that are on-site more often, thus making it even more important to do and conduct follow-up surveys regularly.
  • Identification: Outline processes for quickly detecting and assessing the scope of an incident.
  • Containment: Limiting the spread and impact of the incident to minimize damage, impact on affected individuals, and impact on your brand. For each of the following, a separate, detailed checklist of the steps that should always be taken should be created.
  • Eradication: Removing the threat or bug from the environment and taking steps to prevent the incident from occurring again.
  • Recovery: Restoring systems to normal operation and confirming the integrity of your product or organization is restored.
  • Lessons Learned & Documentation: Review the outcome incident to improve future IR processes. This is the time to reflect and update checklists, necessary documentation, and other items to make future incidents solvable with even greater speed.

Each step outlined above is crucial for ensuring the success of your processes and a strategic strengthening of your response and defenses over time. But what ultimately becomes most important during an incident is communication. For remote teams, practicing what this communication looks like is an even greater step in team preparedness to be sure that no important information falls through the cracks.

Best Practices for Remote Incident Response Teams

The effectiveness of a remote incident response team hinges on employing several best practices so that when an incident does happen, your team’s response is second nature.

  • Continuous Training: Regular drills and simulations keep the IR team sharp and ready. As the team improves or implements new tools it’s crucial that the entire team, practices using them in a reduced-stress environment for greater learning comprehension. For remote teams, practicing setting up virtual command centers and getting the correct applications running can better ensure no steps are missed and help the full team understand how long each step will take.
  • Define Communication Strategies: Clear protocols ensure that all stakeholders, from management to technical teams, are informed and aligned. For remote teams this is especially important since much of the communication will need to be done through a variety of channels and not necessarily live or on the phone. Will these be through specified channels that already exist or new ones for each incident? Be sure to communicate those expectations to your team.
  • Iterative Improvement: Post-incident reviews offer invaluable insights for refining the IR plan. Regularly reviewing post-incident documentation to understand where the team can improve or communicate better is key. Consider what workflows need to be adjusted to help your remote team execute plans and checklists faster.
  • Technological Leverage: Utilizing cutting-edge tools for detection, analysis, and recovery can significantly enhance response capabilities. These resources can help expedite the detection of potential threats, improve communication and collaboration among team members, and ensure timely delivery of updates to those affected. With the right technological leverage, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and respond swiftly and effectively to any situation.

Next Steps

In the quest to solidify your organization’s remote incident response processes, exploring Frameable’s innovative solutions for Microsoft Teams can be a game-changer in smoothing out any remaining bumps. Frameable specializes in streamlining collaboration and communication for remote teams, ensuring that your IR processes are not just effective but also seamlessly integrated with your daily operations. By integrating with Microsoft Teams it’s easier than ever to add new capabilities to your workflow. Whether you’re looking to enhance your team’s coordination in the face of digital threats or seeking to leverage technology for a more resilient defense, Frameable offers the potential to do more without forcing your team to learn new, complex tools.

Explore Frameable for Incident Response Teams here.

Improve Microsoft Teams for your unique incident response workflows with Frameable

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Improve Microsoft Teams for your unique incident response workflows with Frameable
Learn more