How lessons from the pandemic have redefined the approach to Incident Response


The COVID-19 pandemic made clear that current approaches to Incident Response needed drastic reassessment. Despite differences in type, size, industry and sector, what the majority of organizations shared was a siloed and unadaptive approach to managing risk. However, there were organizations that came out of the pandemic with quick, effective and comprehensive responses.

The success of their approach can be identified in three conclusions:

1. Incident Response is cross-functional and needs to connect the right people to the right information in order to make the best decisions possible.

2. The response is multifaceted and multi-formed and should draw on stakeholders across the organization according to their specialties and roles.

3. Risk is increasingly dynamic and enduring and requires a consistent way for solutions to automate baseline requirements, such as application integrations, knowledge management and information sharing, so that response teams can focus on devising creative and innovative ways to adapt to the incident.

Incident Response is cross-functional

Historically, security teams have been made responsible for handling incidents. The pandemic showed that despite a security team’s expertise, compartmentalizing the response to them alone fails to address the complexity of the event. This approach siloed information, leaving out necessary perspectives and knowledge by the rest of the organization.

Organizations that came out of the pandemic stronger were the ones that recognized Incident Response as a cross-functional effort. Incident Response needs to be threaded throughout the organization so that the right people are tasked with the right assignments and informed with the right information in order to make the best decisions possible. With clearer procedures for how events are managed within the organization, tasks can be assigned with expertise, and collaboration can be managed efficiently.

Where CafeX can help:
  • Create detailed logbooks of any event, which teams can use real-time to inform the actual response and down the line in the process improvement stage. Managers can view how their teams performed, assessing their activity to identify the strongest candidates for each role, and their competency to deliver on its responsibilities.
  • Prepare response plans targeted to specific events. With workflow automation, connect tasks with relevant information, applications and other tasks to streamline the response.

The response is multifaceted and multi-formed

The majority of approaches to Incident Response were in having a small team that worked off of a relatively generalized response plan, but the pandemic showed the shortcomings of this type of approach. Incident Response is much more effective when the approach is communicated across multiple stakeholders and developed with their involvement.

Where CafeX can help:
  • Anyone in the response team can communicate through video, call and chat to align on status and priorities.
  • Notify the team with updates and task assignments to keep response accurate and controlled.
  • Use the Workspace Publisher to communicate with outside stakeholders without involving them in the throes of the response. This provides the response team with an accessible but controlled mechanism to deliver messaging.

Risk is increasingly dynamic and enduring

Incidents are not one-off or temporary threats. They are, instead, ongoing developments to the circumstances of the organization and its environment. While the nature of the incident is unpredictable, the probability that it occurs is not. The organizations that responded to the pandemic best invested in solutions that streamlined and automated the structural elements of a response, such as application integrations, knowledge management and information sharing, so that their response teams could focus on creative and innovative ways to respond to the unfolding threat.

Where CafeX can help:
  • With workspaces, notifications and integrations to monitors, provide teams with a quick way to meet, gather information and respond to the critical event.
  • Audit all activity chronologically to provide insight in real time and post-crisis for process improvement.
  • Organize historic and incoming information that can be visualized and designated to specific tasks, role assignments, and stages of the response.

In summary

While the COVID-19 pandemic was the most severe crisis experienced to date, it made clear that risk is increasingly dynamic and lasting. Organizations need a solution that manages the entire incident lifecycle from planning through response and recovery. CafeX offers organizations a comprehensive and adaptable approach to help ensure the safety of those affected and the ability to respond.

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