Call now for cybersecurity help: 888-646-1616
Holly Sagstetter

Incident Response Policy Template: Easy to customize and simple to follow

June 9, 2022

Looking for a straightforward Incident Response Policy Template? You’ve come to the right place.

Incidence response is having a plan for when something bad happens. You need to know who will do what when an incident occurs.

All too often, companies don’t have a plan when an incident occurs and they are left scrambling.

Don’t do this to yourself. Having a plan and responding swiftly can reduce losses and allows you to restore equipment and services more quickly. Having a plan helps you move through the right steps in order to involve the right people at the right time and tie up any loose ends.

Every company should have an incident response plan. This isn’t a thing just for big businesses. You’re planning for worst-case-scenarios, which unfortunately DO happen to companies of all sizes.

Hopefully you’ll create an Incident Response Policy and never need to use it.

What is Incident Response?

Incident Response is having a plan for when your company experiences a security incident. You need a plan for when something bad happens. 

Your Incident Response Policy should be clear and repeatable – and understandable by everyone on your team. Our Incident Response Policy Template makes it super easy for you to build your policy.

What is an ‘Incident’?

A security incident can include the following - but this list is not exhaustive!

  • An employee violates a policy
  • A computer is damaged, lost, or stolen,
  • Someone accesses or tries to access your network or data
  • Someone clicks a link in a phishing email
  • A smartphone is lost or stolen
  • Anything that seems strange, like a computer mouse moving on its own, a flood of spam emails, your Internet connection being down for an extended period, etc.
  • Mishandling or losing client data (like accidentally sending an email to the wrong person)

Your Incident Response team (which the Incident Response Policy Template will ask you to identify) will need to determine if the reported incident justifies a formal incident response. That’s why it’s so important to have a policy ready to follow. You don’t have time to waste if you’re dealing with an actual security incident.

Does your company need an Incident Response Policy?

We’d argue that any company of any size needs an Incident Response Policy. If you’re a smaller company, it may seem like overkill, but it’s necessary. We’ve seen smaller companies absolutely crippled by security incidents and we don’t want that to happen to you.

You need an Incident Response Policy before an incident happens. That’s how you limit damage done to your company, reputation, and your clients.

Like we described above, an ‘incident’ doesn’t need to be something really catastrophic, like someone accessing your network. But what will you do if your work laptop is stolen? It unfortunately happens all the time.

Incident Response Policy Template: How to Choose

If you Google “Incident Response Policy Template’, there is no doubt that you have hundreds to choose from. We recommend looking at a few and removing parts that aren’t relevant for your organization. 

Our company specifically works with companies that need to adhere to SEC regulations or comply with NIST and/or CMMC. If that’s you, then our Incident Response Policy Template is going to be a good fit.

One important tip when choosing an Incident Response Policy Template is to not choose one just because it’s the longest - that doesn’t mean it’s the most thorough. In fact, it might just be packed with filler which makes it harder to follow. 

Incident Response Policy Template: Sections

The first step of our Incident Response Policy Template is having the Incident Response Team assess the incident. Does the incident require a formal incident response? Or, after some digging, is this a false alarm or something that can be easily resolved?

Next, you’ll follow these considerations and procedures:

  • Consider safety and customer impact
  • Establish scope of the incident
  • Contain and document the incident (this could include disconnecting systems, terminating access, changing passwords, locking down physical access, etc.)
  • Preserve evidence (your cybersecurity insurance provider or legal team should identify an appropriate forensic specialist)
  • Investigate the causes and circumstances of the incident
  • Notify appropriate parties (could include customers, vendors, law enforcement, etc.)
  • Conduct detailed root cause analysis on the issue
  • Recommend improvement options
  • Implement approved recommendations
  • Perform and document post-implementation actions

It’s important to note the order of these items. Sometimes when companies have incidents, they jump right into root cause analysis or brainstorming improvement options, when they should really be focused on isolating the incident and preserving evidence.

That’s why you need a plan for security incidents! They do happen and you need to be able to focus on handling the issue.

How to get your Incident Response Policy Template

We’ve made this super easy for you. Take a few minutes with our Incident Response Policy Template: https://adeliarisk.com/incident-response-policy-generator/ 

There’s just a handful of questions to answer. Once that’s done, our system will automatically generate a custom Incident Response Policy for your company and deliver it straight to your inbox.

Yes, it’s that easy. BUT - be sure to actually read through the whole policy to make sure it makes sense for your company. And the last step can actually be kind of fun - plan a test incident at least once a year to make sure everyone can implement the security incident plan and that the current plan is effective. 

Directions for the Incident Response Policy Template

Our free Incident Response Policy Generator Tool makes it easy to craft your Incident Response Policy. 

Let’s get started. Open this link: https://adeliarisk.com/incident-response-policy-generator/ 

Start by filling in some introductory information:

Incident Response Policy Template by Adelia Risk Cybersecurity

Then, answer how your staff should report incidents:

Then, list the roles of people who will be on the Incident Response Team:

Then, choose where you will store any Incident documents:

Finally, fill in your email address in order to receive a copy of your customized Incident Response Policy:

Now celebrate! You did something that will save you and your company a headache in the future. 

Share the tool with your friends and colleagues:

Finished with the Incident Response Policy Template? Do this next!!

Ok, you filled out the generator and have your policy. Great. But you’re not done.

It’s important that everyone is prepared for security incidents. You need to provide incident response training regularly. We recommend planning a test incident at least once a year to make sure that anyone can follow the plan and that the plan works! 

Choose a type of security incident (phishing attack or maybe a stolen smartphone) and walk through the policy to make sure everyone understands what to do.

TLDR: This Incident Response Policy Template is awesome!

Having a customized incident response policy is easy:

Step #1: Fill out the Incident Response Policy Generator https://adeliarisk.com/incident-response-policy-generator/ 

Step #2: Read the policy

Step #3: Annually, have a ‘test incident’ with your team to make sure the policy is easy to follow and makes sense for your company

Summary

Use our Incident Response Policy Template to create a customized policy for your company. It's easy and you'll be glad you did it.

If you need additional help with creating InfoSec policies and strengthening your cybersecurity program, our Virtual CISO program may be a great fit. Learn more about the included services and how to get started: https://adeliarisk.com/virtual-ciso-service/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

We help over 100 of the best financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing companies across the U.S. with their cybersecurity.
Copyright 2022 Adelia Associates, LLC | All Rights Reserved