Three Steps CISOs Should Take When There is an Active Adversary on the Enterprise Network

Three Steps CISOs Should Take When There is an Active Adversary on-01

Often in a security incident, many CISOs fail to execute strategies that will mitigate the impact of a network breach, leading to substantial business losses and reputational damage. Having an effective step-by-step plan in place will enable them to deal with the active adversaries on the network.

Cyber-attacks have skyrocketed in the past couple of years with the quick adoption of remote work. With many organizations suffering from dire consequences, it should be given that CISOs have prepared themselves to respond quickly and effectively to an incident. However, surveys reveal that it is not the case, and many CISOs are continuing challenges to deliver on that goal.

As per a report from Kroll, Red Canary and VMware, titled the “State of Incident Response 2021,” surveyed over 100 legal and compliance leaders and 400 IS professionals found that 45% of them identified inadequacies in detection and response resources. Additionally, 55% of them wanted to improve time to containment and incident response. Hence, it is critical that CISOs start investing in their incident response plan. They should create comprehensive cyber incident response plans to detect threats early and accurately, quickly respond to incidents, and have the capacity to recover promptly from disasters. Additionally, they should practice identifying any deficits that can inhibit their performance should cyber-attackers breach their network. Furthermore, CISOs should ensure they regularly conduct drills that allow them to perform as best as possible in a real scenario. However, they should not figure all this out only in the case of an active incident.

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To be discreet about their cybersecurity infrastructure, cybersecurity teams should have accurate asset inventories as well as visibility into all areas of their IT infrastructure. They should know the mission-critical systems of their organization and they should understand how they should respond if they detect threat actors trying to breach the network.

Here are a few key steps CISOs can take if they find an active adversary on their network:

  • Set-off the alarm 

Today’s cybersecurity teams are overwhelmed with the number of cybersecurity alerts in a day. While many of those alerts are false positives or indicate low-priority risks, others point to even concerning issues that should quickly be escalated. Still, many in the team are afraid to pull the alarm due to oversight and costs, and more importantly, it is hard to take it back if they do.

CISOs should create better guidelines that will let their team members know when and how to escalate the situations. This will enable them to prevent delays that could give hackers more time to do damager yet prevent costly responses to minor incidents or false alarms.

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  • Loop in the business

During the triage process, CISOs should loop in their C-suite counterparts. As part of this process, the cybersecurity team should immediately identify what impacted aspects are crucial for them to conduct business, who owns those components, and who controls them. Additionally, CISOs should build a secondary process that runs business continuity and disaster recovery program to keep their operations going.

  • Track their actions 

CISOs should keep track of the actions they are taking when the incident hits. They should create notes on the priorities, investigations, ongoing activities, accomplished tasks, and more that they should effectively document and disseminate. At the same time, CISOs should understand that simple word docs or emails are not communication mediums for such critical information-sharing and archiving. Instead, they should have a knowledge management system or communication platform to share and recover data during incident response.

  • Work on the plan of action

In crisis mode, CISOs are often tempted to jump into the trenches like everyone else. But, they do more harm than good as they end up creating more bottlenecks in the response and delay critical tasks. However, the best way to contribute to the ongoing crisis is for them to focus on their own work. CISOs and all responding teams should stick to the incident response plan and resist taking over tasks that are outside of their assigned roles.

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