When you’re running a business, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. An incident response plan is critical to deal with potential network security issues such as data loss, cybercrime, and service outages. Trying to avoid security breaches will only take you so far – you also need a document or detailed set of instructions to detect, respond to, and recover from security issues as they happen.  

A robust and comprehensive incident response plan can ensure data integrity and sustainable productivity across your entire operation. 

Why SMBs need an incident response plan 

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are at risk of multiple network security issues, including natural disasters and serious criminal acts such as phishing and ransomware. Multinationals and other large enterprises dedicate substantial resources to network security, with smaller operations often falling behind.  

According to the Identity Theft Research Center, there were 1,579 data breaches in the United States in 2017. Without dedicated departments and integrated solutions, too many SMBs rely on a combination of outdated and poorly configured technologies. 

Not only does this leave gaps in your security coverage but it’s also a clumsy and inefficient way to do business. This doesn’t have to be the case, however, with the accessible size and scope of SMBs making it easy to carry out a detailed security analysis and secure critical data and systems if a breach occurs. 

Risks without an incident response plan 

Businesses without an incident response plan are putting themselves at serious risk of data loss and system failure. According to a report from the Ponemon Institute in 2018, 77 percent of respondents did not have an incident response plan. It doesn’t matter what you do to avoid security breaches – no one is totally immune to network security issues. 

With no response plan in place: 

  • You’re likely to react negatively when a data breach occurs, which can put containment at risk. 
  • Data center downtime will impact productivity when security issues occur. 
  • You may suffer critical gaps in your compliance strategy. 
  • You are less likely to identify risks and prepare appropriate prevention measures.  
  • Uncertainty and confusion may compromise workplace trust and satisfaction. 

Benefits with an incident response plan 

Implementing and carrying out an incident response plan is beneficial for all businesses. While prevention measures are always crucial, it’s equally important to have an action plan that limits potential damage and minimizes productivity losses.  

Data breaches can last for days or even weeks, with swift and effective containment necessary to safeguard critical business systems. Without a plan in place, you’re compromising the safety of your entire business and allowing small data breaches to turn into a bigger ongoing issue. 

With a professional, detailed incident response plan available: 

  • Your team knows the plan of attack and can respond quickly and confidently.  
  • You can mitigate your losses and ensure swift containment by tightening the link between the data breach and its response. 
  • You can identify existing security issues and plug holes to minimize breaches in the future, leading to solutions like hiring more security offices or investing in new hardware and software systems. 
  • Systematic testing and verification procedures can occur from the outset, leading to sustainable workplace practices.  
  • You can improve capacity across your organization, with tools from penetration testing to end-user agreements. 
  • Workplace confidence and assurance increases among employees, leading to higher productivity and staff loyalty. 

A professional incident response plan offers several major operational benefits for your technology systems, which filter down into every aspect of your business.  

Your managed security service provider has the expertise to assist you in planning and preparing the right procedures to keep your business ready for the unexpected.