How to Build High-Performing Incident Response Teams

Incident response teams are crucial in investigating, containing, responding to and recovering from security incidents. Request a free trial with TryHackMe to arm your incident response teams!

How to Build High-Performing Incident Response Teams

As a dedicated team, cyber security incident response teams act on larger-scale threats and sophisticated attacks that cannot be handled as quickly as other teams.

No organisation, regardless of size, is exempt from cyber security threats. Therefore having a high-performing incident response team alongside a cyber security response plan is crucial in limiting the catastrophic consequences of an attack.

Keep reading as we dive straight into the ways to effectively assemble an incident response team and how to arm them with the skills needed to investigate, contain, respond to and recover from security incidents.

Response Team Roles & Responsibilities

An incident response team is responsible for planning for and responding to IT incidents, such as data breaches, cyber attacks, and system failure. Other core responsibilities include searching for and resolving system vulnerabilities, enforcing security policies, evaluating security best practices, and developing incident response plans.

A high-performing incident response team should consist of varied skill sets, with a wide range of professionals to manage all aspects of the cyber security incident response process.

Cyber incident response team roles generally include Analysts, Researchers, a Legal Representative and a Team Leader responsible for coordinating all team members and operations.

Create a Cyber Security Incident Response Plan

What is a cyber security incident response plan, and how do you begin with cyber incident response planning?

A cyber security incident response plan bulletproofs the approach to incidents, outlining the cyber security incident response steps and how incidents should be handled in a way that decreases recovery time, minimises costs, and mitigates damage. It should clearly define your response team; including their roles and responsibilities, protocols, policies, and who the team should report to.

“Businesses with a well-defined response plan can maintain confidence, even in trying times, and restore normal operations quickly and efficiently. For those without a plan, however, the impact of a lengthy resolution time is often lethal.”

Jason McMahan, Co-Founder at Concept Technology Inc

Following an incident, a cyber security response team must evaluate the response, explore the ways to prevent the incident from occurring again, and identify ways to improve the cyber incident response plan in accordance with the incident.

Encourage Communication

Team communication is essential to the overall success and sustainability of a incident response team - not just for incident response but also for an effective cyber attack incident response plan.

“Having an established communications plan will benefit your organisation’s ability to handle incidents while attempting to maintain its reputation, keep its message

simple and consistent, and ensure accurate and timely information is released to the appropriate audience.”

Software Engineering Institute, at Carnegie Mellon University

With incident response teams required to collaborate, clear communication is needed to strengthen relationships and cope in a highly pressured environment.

Conduct Regular Drills

In order to prepare incident response teams for emergency situations, practice drills can be executed to test how the incident is responded to and provide learnings for future improvement. By conducting a drill, your response team will be prepared with the experience to effectively and swiftly handle a real breach.

Incident response drills simulate a scenario in which the cyber attack response plan is placed into action, providing an opportunity to evaluate the incident response plan.

Before conducting a drill, be sure to notify your team and provide advance warning to any relevant third parties.

Foster a Culture of Security Awareness

It is crucial to create a culture of openness that empowers the response team to speak up about concerns and significant worries. In many cases, building a culture of openness and security awareness can help mitigate incidents in the first place.

Making security awareness training a regular component of your employee training will allow your team to upskill and keep ahead of evolving cyber threats and new attack tactics.

At TryHackMe, we make training as accessible and affordable as possible, with over 560 real-world training labs to teach these topics in-action, arming your team with the knowledge needed for cyber security incident response.

We support companies in staying up-to-date with training, by offering adaptable pathways and courses for incident response in cyber security.