How to Build an Incident Response Playbook

Having an incident response playbook is essential to helping your enterprise investigate and respond to data breaches. But what is it exactly, how do you build one and why do you need one?

What is an Incident Response Playbook?

An incident response playbook is a set of rules that describes at least one action to be executed with input data and triggered by one or more events. It is a critical component of cybersecurity — especially in relation to security automation platforms and security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) solutions. It’s meant to represent a basic security process in a generalized way that can be used across a variety of enterprises.

According to IACD, Incident response playbooks “bridge the gap between an organization’s policies and procedures and a security automation [solution].” While an incident response plan highlights overall roles and communication requirements, a playbook tells you what actions to take for threats. Time is of the essence when a threat occurs. It’s critical to eliminate unnecessary steps and information from the incident response process.

Incident response playbooks (IR playbooks) can be shared across organizations and include common components, such as:

  • Initiating condition: The first event of the playbook triggers the rest of the steps. It’s often the security issue addressed by the entire playbook.
  • Process steps: This includes all major activations organizations should conduct to satisfy the policies and procedures triggered by the initiating condition. This is the core component of an IR playbook and includes key steps like generating response actions, authorizing responses, quarantining, etc. These steps typically encourage future automation (with human oversight), even if the organization does not currently have those capabilities.
  • Best practices and local policies: These are dependent on your specific industry. It includes activities that may be conducted in addition to the core process steps.
  • End state: This is the end goal of the incident response playbook. It is the desired outcome based on the initiating condition that represents the playbook’s completion.
  • Relation to governance and regulatory requirements: This component relates key process steps to those required for various compliance and regulatory laws.

How to Build an Incident Response Playbook

Here are the steps the IACD recommends following to construct an incident response playbook:

  1. Identify the initiating condition.
  2. List all possible actions that could occur in response to the initiating condition.
  3. Categorize all possible actions into: “required” when must occur to mitigate the threat, or “optional” when considered more of a best practice.
  4. Build the playbook process order using only the “required” elements determined in step 3.
  5. Determine if steps from the “optional” category can be grouped by activity or function (e.g., monitoring, enriching, responding, verifying, or mitigating).
  6. Modify the process created in step 4 to indicate where any optional processes would occur.
  7. Insert the categorized optional actions into the options box below the process steps box.
  8. Identify the end state or another initiating condition to another playbook.
  9. List the regulatory laws and requirements that the playbook satisfies.

When to Use An Incident Response Playbook

You should build an incident response playbook for major cybersecurity events that need clear steps and procedures. Some examples include:

  • Ransomware Attacks
  • Phishing Attacks
  • Malware Infections
  • Compromised Applications
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Incident Response Playbook Template: Phishing

The following is a template of a phishing playbook that an organization may utilize:

Incident Response Automation

An automated incident response solution provides your organization with the tools to model and automates manual and time-consuming response processes.

Tasks that can be automated include:

  • Reviewing and analyzing threat intelligence sources
  • Investigating incidents involving log gathering and analysis
  • Updating tickets
  • Gathering metrics and creating reports
  • Sending email alerts
  • Resolving alerts

Every automated step can save minutes for each alert, saving time and improving your organization’s incident response.

Incident response automation allows your organization to handle more threats in the same amount of time. Plus, by automating responses, your cybersecurity team can focus their training and skills on serious threats instead of mundane tasks. This force multiplier has the additional positive effect of increasing morale and reducing analyst burnout.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Swimlane (en-US) authored by Sydni Williams-Shaw. Read the original post at: