Incident management in cybersecurity is a set of measures designed to combat cyberthreats and minimize the consequences of attacks. Incident management covers monitoring of security events, as well as incident response, investigation, and prevention.
Incident management breakdown
The incident management process comprises the following stages:
- Incident alert. This can be an automatic notification from a monitoring system, program, or device, or a complaint from an employee, client, or service provider.
- Incident assessment. The IT support or SOC employee responsible for incident monitoring analyzes the alert, determines whether the security incident is real (and not a false positive), and creates a task in the system to document the incident.
- Additional data collection. The employee collects data about the incident from various infrastructure objects to piece together precisely what happened. This is often done using SOAR solutions.
- Incident analysis. The employee assesses the incident danger level and decides what further actions to take.
- Incident escalation. If incident response requires special privileges or skills, the task is delegated to an employee who has them.
- Incident response. Based on the information known about the incident, measures are taken to suppress malicious activity, mitigate damage, and restore affected systems.
- Incident investigation. At this stage, the team tasked with handling the incident establishes how exactly the incident occurred, what caused it, and who is behind the cyberattack.
- Elimination of vulnerabilities. Based on the investigation data obtained, the infrastructural weaknesses allowed the incident to happen are reinforced to avert similar attacks in the future.
The process needs full or partial automation to be effective. Likewise, developing a standard procedure for responding to known types of incidents is important.
Incident management tools
There are tools that make the incident management process more efficient. These include:
- Automation tools (SIEM systems, SOAR, EDR solutions, etc.).
- Databases of previous incidents and response methods.
- Playbooks — documents defining a sequence of actions for responding to typical incidents.
- Runbooks — step-by-step instructions for performing standard tasks related to incident management.
An additional incident management software tool is the Incident Response Platform (IRP), which can be used to connect the automated systems and automation tools mentioned above for further automation.