Incident Response Planning and Execution |Top 6 Phases

Sneha Mude   16-01-2024 - 4 mins read

Incident response planning and execution is a critical component of cybersecurity. It encompasses the methods, protocols, and records that pertain to an organization’s ability to identify, react to, and recover from incidents.

Cyberattacks pose a serious threat to organizations of all sizes and sectors in the digital era. As cyberattacks become more frequent and sophisticated, it is imperative for organizations to have a robust incident response plan. This blog article provides guidance on how to create an effective incident response plan and outlines the key steps to take in the event of a cybersecurity incident.

A comprehensive incident response plan should consist of multiple phases that address the different aspects of a cybersecurity incident. Each phase should have specific objectives and tasks that need to be accomplished.

The six phases of incident response are:

1. Preparation

2. Identification

3. Containment

4. Eradication

5. Recovery

6. Lessons Learned

Incident Response lifecycle



The preparation phase involves establishing a plan, a team, and tools to handle a cybersecurity incident. It also includes training, testing, backing up, and securing the systems.


The identification phase involves confirming and assessing a cybersecurity incident. It includes monitoring the systems, networks, and devices for any anomalous or malicious activity, determining the scope and impact of the incident, collecting and preserving evidence of the incident, documenting the incident, and notifying the relevant stakeholders.


The containment phase involves isolating and stopping the cybersecurity incident. It includes disconnecting the affected systems, networks, and devices from the rest of the environment, and implementing temporary solutions to block the attack or mitigate its damage.


The eradication phase involves removing and cleaning up the cybersecurity incident. It includes eliminating the root cause and the remnants of the incident from the affected systems, networks, and devices, and restoring their integrity and functionality.


The recovery phase involves resuming and verifying the normal operations after a cybersecurity incident. It includes reconnecting, monitoring, and evaluating the systems, networks, and devices, and resolving any issues or problems.

Lessons Learned:

The lessons learned phase involves improving the security and response after a cybersecurity incident. It includes analyzing the incident and its response, identifying and implementing changes, sharing the lessons and the best practices, updating the plan and the tools, and reviewing and rewarding the team.

Why is Incident Response Planning Important?

The purpose of incident response planning is to identify stakeholders, streamline digital forensics, enhance recovery times, limit bad press and customer attrition, and minimize the length and damage of security incidents. The planning for both known and undiscovered cyberthreats, the accurate identification of security event causes, and disaster recovery following an occurrence are all included in incident response. It enables businesses to set best practices for managing incidents and create a communication strategy that can include alerting staff, employees, and law police.

Who is Responsible for Incident Response Planning

Incident response teams can include:

a. Incident response manager:

supervises and assigns importance to actions taken during an incident's detection, containment, and recovery. When appropriate, they might also be obliged to notify the public, law enforcement, other members of the organization, and customers about high-severity situations.

b. Security analysts:

assist and work directly with affect resources, as well as creating and maintaining technical and operational controls.

c. Threat researchers:

Give the background information on security incidents and threat intelligence. To comprehend present and potential risks, they could make use of the Internet and other third-party resources. If an organization lacks the necessary expertise inside, it frequently outsources this service. If this describes your company, search for products or services that can automatically keep an eye out for data breaches, compromised credentials, and the security posture of third- and fourth-party vendors.

Nevertheless, a cross-functional incident response team made up of personnel from within the business is necessary for efficient incident response. Incident response teams may be ineffectual in the absence of stakeholders from senior leadership, legal, HR, IT security, and public relations departments. Support from senior leadership is especially important to assemble the funds, staff, time, and resources from many teams. This could be the CEO or a board member of smaller companies, or it could be the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a large corporation. Legal counsel can offer guidance regarding third-party vendor data breaches' liability as well as assist the company in determining whether data breaches need to be reported to customers and regulators. Human resources can help with personnel dismissal and access credentialing in cases where an occurrence is the result of an insider threat. Public relations is crucial in ensuring that regulators, the media, customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders receive an accurate, consistent, and truthful message.


In conclusion, having a strong incident response plan is vital for any organization that wants to protect its data and reputation from cyberattacks. A good incident response plan should cover the six phases of incident response: preparation, identification, containment, eradication, recovery, and lessons learned. By following these steps, an organization can minimize the impact of a cybersecurity incident, contain the threat, and restore normal operations as quickly as possible. Moreover, an organization can learn from the incident and enhance its security posture and incident response capabilities for the future.

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