What is security incident?

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Expect the unexpected. As soon as a crisis erupts, it should be immediately handled to reduce its potential impact on critical business operations. Such undesirable incidents occur unanticipated and when they do take place, damage or harm is the result.

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In most aspects of life, it is better to stop something disastrous happening than it is to deal with it after it has happened and IT security is no exception. If possible, security incidents should be dealt accordingly from occurring in the first place. Yet, it is unachievable to prevent security incidents. When an incident does happen, its impact needs to be brought down to adequate recommended level. Security incident handling outlines the actions to follow in an event that an electronic information system is compromised. An event is declared an incident when the confidentiality, integrity or availability (CIA) elements of a system is compromised. Significant commodities such as information and knowledge must be safeguarded at all costs. Communications within an organization and its interactions to its customer base are regarded as the life blood in this IT intensive fast paced world. If an organization is inoperative for any period of time, it may cost millions in lost business or loss of reputation. Size of an organization does not matter. Unexpected downtime influences organizations of all sizes impacting revenue, customer satisfaction and overall production. It is vital that they quickly recover from such downtime and restore operation and re-establish their presence to ensure survival. Consequently, many firms have realized the importance of setting up incident handling procedures. One of the drawbacks is that many organizations learn how to respond to security incidents only after suffering from them. In the course of time, incidents often become much more costly. Proper incident response should be an integral part of the overall security policy and risk mitigation strategy. Incident handling procedures that are in place in an organization improves to maintain the business continuity of critical operations. In today’s competitive economy, a company can’t afford to cease critical business operations and remain idle for long period of time because of lack of incident handing procedures. Thus, an organization needs to be well prepared for continuity or recovery of systems. This typically requires a considerable investment of time and money with the aim of ensuring minimal losses in the event of a disruptive event. The goal of setting up incident handling procedures is to know exactly what to do when an incident breaks out. This means anticipating scenarios before they occur and making appropriate decisions about them in advance. Those assessments typically demand consultation and senior management support, hence these people are needed early immediately after an incident has been confirmed. For example, just deciding who to tell when an incident occurs can be hard to determine.

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