·February 10, 2023

Cyber Incident Response 101 for small businesses

Imagine, it’s the end of a long work day and you’re ready to go home. Just as you are about to leave, you find out that your e-mail data has been hacked and important data from your company has been stolen. As a small business, you may face this type of scenario due to phishing attacks, ransomware, malware or some other security threat.

The question is, do you have a plan to respond quickly and effectively to minimize the impact on your business?

You must remember that the longer it takes to address a cyber incident, the more damage cybercriminals can do to your business, such as serious data loss and damage to your bottom line and reputation.

Therefore, you should not only have strong cyber security measures in place, but also have an incident response plan that you can fall back on.

An incident response plan is a series of steps you can implement after a breach to minimize its impact and get the business back up and running as quickly as possible.

Cyber incident response 101

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the response to an incident consists of five phases:

  • Identify

There are many different security risks that you need to be aware of in order to develop an effective incident response plan. This includes threats to your technology systems, data and operations. By having a good understanding of these risks, you will be better prepared and better able to respond to incidents to minimize their impact.

To identify risks, you can start by reviewing system logs, examining vulnerable files or tracking suspicious employee activity.

  • Protect

It is critical that you create and implement appropriate safeguards to protect your business. These safeguards include security measures against threats and measures to ensure continuity of essential services in the event of an incident.

To protect your business from cyber threats, use backups, implement security measures such as firewalls and train employees on security best practices.

  • Finding

Detecting anomalies quickly, such as unusual network activity or a hacker attempting to access sensitive data, is essential to limiting damage and getting your systems back up and running faster.

By employing techniques such as intrusion detection systems (ISDs), you can effectively address irregularities.

  • Respond

You should have a plan to respond to detected cyber incidents. This plan should include strategies for breach containment, investigation and resolution.

Some things you can do to respond to an incident include isolating affected systems and shutting off access to all affected systems.

  • Restore

After an incident, a plan should be in place to resume normal business operations as soon as possible to minimize delay.

  • These steps can be part of your recovery plan:
  1. Restore systems affected by the attack
  2. Implement security controls to prevent incident recurrence
  3. Investigation into root cause of attack
  4. Taking legal action against perpetrators


You need to remember that a well-crafted incident response plan will help you resolve a breach, minimize the damage caused and restore normal operations quickly and effectively.

It is essential that all employees are aware of the incident response plan and know their roles and responsibilities in the event of an attack.

An incident response plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it remains up-to-date and continues to work effectively. Cyber incidents can happen at any time, so being prepared is of enormous importance.

Work with an IT service provider to strengthen your security

A specialized IT service provider like us can be exactly what your company needs to develop an incident response plan. By using our expertise and experience, we can help you:

  • Protecting your business from cyber incidents
  • Create a comprehensive incident response plan
  • In adhering to the five phases of NIST incident response.

These are just some of the ways we can help you with your incident response process. If you are looking for help protecting your business from cyber incidents, contact us for a free consultation.

To give you insight into the threats small businesses face, we created a checklist called “Incidents at Small Businesses: What You Can Learn from Their Experiences,” which you can download by
clicking here


Share article
Don’t settle for less than the best

Don’t settle for less than the best

There are several reasons why small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) best fulfill their technology needs from one central location. One reason is that small businesses often have fewer resources. So it is essential to make the best use of resources. Another...

Skip to content