Which Team Is Responsible For Debriefing After A Cyber Attack

Even the stoutest defenses can have security gaps. When an attack occurs, the cyber incident response team (CIRT) goes into action — coordinating and responding to the attack, containing it, eliminating it, guiding any necessary recovery, and debriefing. By determining and documenting the scope, priority, and impact of the attack, the incident response team can collect relevant data, investigate root causes, and document findings. When it’s time, a senior member of the information security team is typically responsible for debriefing after a cyber attack, but too often, IR teams skip the important post-incident activity. The debriefing, however, is crucial to report the lessons learned and improve cyber maturity.

What is the goal of the debrief after a cyber attack?

The purpose of the cybersecurity debrief is to capture the lessons learned and prioritize remediation of any vulnerabilities that were uncovered. The debriefing is an important opportunity to honestly discuss what was found, ensure everyone knows what went wrong, and where systems, processes, and responses can be improved in the future.

A typical cyber attack debriefing will include:

  • A review of the incident timelines
  • An analysis of the cyber attack’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs)
  • An evaluation of the organizational response, including people, processes, and tools
  • Guidance on preparation for future incidents

From there, several functional areas will have responsibility for handling various tasks.

Internal communications

For example, the IT team typically handles communication with its internal team and employees on events and what needs to change in the future to be better prepared. This may also include working with law enforcement.

External communications

If there needs to be public disclosure, outreach to customers or clients in the case of a breach, or governmental reporting, communications and legal teams are involved along with senior company management.

Executive and board Communication

Generally, the CIO and CISO will be responsible for reporting to the CEO and other members of the executive team and may also be asked to provide information for the Board of Directors in publicly-traded companies.

Preventing future threats

A debrief is focused on explaining what happened and what steps are needed to ensure subsequent cyber attacks are not successful. In some cases, this may require changes to security tools, controls, policies, procedures, or staffing. Depending on how the incident was handled by SecOps teams, there may also be additional training or upskilling that is required to help prevent future threats.

Unfortunately, debriefs are reactive

While a debrief is a necessary and crucial part of improving an organization’s security posture in light of a successful attack, it’s a reactive approach to dealing with security. By the time an incident response team needs to be activated, threats are contained and eliminated, and the data is gathered for the debrief, the damage has already been done.

Debriefs don’t account for incidents that haven’t yet been discovered or emerging threats that have yet to be deployed. In other words, it deals with what has happened but may not prepare you any better for what else might happen. 

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), cybersecurity measures put in place by businesses and governments are being rendered increasingly obsolete by the growing sophistication of cybercriminals. The stakes are high. An analysis by Cybersecurity Ventures forecasts cybercrime to grow by 15% per year annually, accounting for global losses topping $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

The best way to protect yourself is with a proactive approach to cybersecurity and enable continuous security validation.

A proactive and continuous solution

SightGain is the industry’s first Threat Exposure Management Platform that provides continuous SecOps validation. Using real-world and live-fire testing  — safely deployed in your production environment, organizations can pressure-test technology, processes, and people. This helps identify security gaps from potential and emerging threats, where additional resources or training are needed, and helps you quickly reduce your threat exposure.

SightGain’s continuous cybersecurity risk analysis helps you overcome your greatest vulnerability: your lack of visibility. 

By quantifying risk exposure to emerging threats and real-world attacks, you can isolate defensive gaps. SightGain automatically delivers a roadmap to improve performance with prioritized recommendations.

With SightGain,not only do you get empirical data to optimize your security investments, but you also get the evidence you need to justify budget requests and prove ROI. CISOs can:

  • Gain confidence that their organizations are safe even when others are getting hacked
  • Know if their people, processes, and technology are efficient and effective in stopping threats
  • Achieve compliance and effectiveness, automatically and continuously

By going beyond what penetration tests and breach and attack simulation (BAS) provide, SightGain allows you to continuously improve your security posture against the latest threats.

Download our eBook, Reducing Risk with Continuous Cybersecurity Readiness, to learn how a data-driven framework can improve your cybersecurity performance, or contact the security experts at SightGain for a demo.