Why Cloud Incident Response Should Be a Top Priority for Your Business

Cloud incident response requires a different approach to on-premise environments. Organizations need to understand how visibility and access differ in their cloud environments. It’s not enough to implement the same security measures used on-premises.

It includes understanding the shared responsibility model of CSPs and preparing for how to work with their teams during an incident. It also involves purpose-built plans for identification, containment, eradication, and recovery.

Reduce the Risk of Data Loss

Modern business systems operate within cloud environments consisting of networks, storage, virtualization, and management software. When an incident occurs, identifying the threat and taking action to mitigate it can be challenging. It is due to the dynamic nature of cloud environments, which often lack visibility into infrastructure and can be prone to misconfigurations or other security issues that attackers could use to gain access and steal data.

Organizations must adopt a more proactive approach with a cloud incident response plan to combat this. Implementing this before an actual incident will dramatically shorten the time it takes to respond by closing the gap between detection and resolution. To do this, IR teams need to be trained on the tools and capabilities of cloud-native technology and how to detect threats that can occur within a cloud environment.

Incorporating cloud service API integration and automation into incident response playbooks will make it easier for teams to identify and understand risks in their environments, even when DevOps, SecOps, and other stakeholders constantly modify them. Performing periodic configuration checks and routine compromise assessments can also help maintain good cloud security hygiene. Lastly, companies should practice staged incident response drills to build the necessary skills and ensure the right stakeholders are involved in the response team.

Reduce Downtime

There are many reasons for a cloud outage or disruption, but one of the biggest is human error. Whether from an employee accidentally clicking the wrong button or a hacker exploiting a flaw in your code, even a tiny mistake can bring everything down. With a cloud incident response plan, you can minimize the impact of downtime and business disruption by having a clear path to containment, eradication, and recovery.

Using tools that provide visibility and logging for all critical operations in your cloud environments, including APIs, containers, VMs, and SaaS, is crucial to incident response planning. This approach ensures that all events that could impact business continuity and integrity are logged, alerted, and available for analysis during IR. It also helps mitigate against common attack vectors, such as MFA bombing, where actors flood an account with prompts to gain access through user fatigue and credential theft.

IR teams must be familiar with the minutiae of cloud environments and services, typically more dynamic than on-prem systems. It requires a different mindset for IR processes, procedures, and skillsets. Holding regular IR drills with stakeholders from all parts of the organization and the CSP can be beneficial to train teams on how to work together in the event of an incident. Creating playbooks that include automated if-then actions for common scenarios, such as an alert that triggers a change to isolate the affected workload, is another way to reduce downtime by allowing teams to respond quickly to potential threats.

Boost Customer Satisfaction

Cloud adoption is a powerful business growth accelerator, but organizations must safeguard against critical service-disrupting incidents. With the right incident response strategy, businesses can mitigate these incidents and channel tech resources toward revenue-generating product innovations.

Incident response policies guide teams through detection, triage, and remediation. These policies enumerate high-level incident handling priorities, empower responders and help them make sound decisions when the excrement hits the fan. Creating playbooks is another critical step in improving incident response capabilities. While policies offer a broad view, playbooks dig into the weeds by outlining standardized, step-by-step actions responders should take in specific incidents.

A well-crafted plan is useless if teams aren’t ready to deploy it during a security crisis. Companies should conduct regular simulations of diverse attack scenarios to ensure their readiness. It will uncover glaring gaps in their incident response plan and help them develop best practices for responding to various attacks.

The right personnel is also critical to ensuring a successful incident response operation. Recruiting experienced incident response professionals will help you build a team to handle various threats. In addition to hiring experts, training staff to identify and respond to multiple incidents is essential. It includes ensuring team members have access to the proper tools and technology and familiarity with APIs, commands, and cloud-centric concepts.

Reduce Business Impact

With a solid cloud incident response plan, organizations can minimize service-disrupting incidents and channel their tech resources toward revenue-generating product innovations. This approach lets them confidently accelerate their digital transformation and ensures customers can get the necessary products without interruption.

However, preparing for and responding to incidents in the cloud requires different knowledge, processes, and tools than on-premises environments. And that difference is only magnified when you consider the shared responsibility model and the varying service models available from cloud service providers (CSPs) in which your data and applications reside.

This new vantage point makes it even more important to update your incident response process and playbook with best practices that account for the differences between the visibility, access, and alerting capabilities in traditional on-premises environments and those in the cloud. For instance, cloud IR needs to include monitoring APIs, applications, and user roles, as well as the ability for geographically dispersed teams to respond to incidents from their corresponding locations in the cloud.

In addition, your security team’s skills must be updated to reflect the rapid pace of innovation in the cloud and its ever-changing attack surface. And it would be best if you established the right balance between in-house, outsourced and third-party expertise for performing cloud IR. Finally, it’s critical to establish an effective eradication, containment, and recovery framework that removes infected assets and identifies vulnerabilities exploited by attackers.

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