Unfortunately, if you work in IT long enough, you’re likely to encounter a security incident. Having experienced these incidents as a Systems Administrator and as a consultant, I felt that it would benefit others if I shared 3 things that I learned while responding to security issues.
- Stay calm – If you’ve noticed malicious activity on your network, your first reaction might be to panic. While time is of the essence, you don’t want stress to negatively impact your decision making. If you need to, give yourself a minute to collect your thoughts prior to proceeding with resolving the issue. Once you’re ready to start working on the problem, begin by attempting to gain an understanding of the type and severity of the attack. This information will go a long way towards mitigating the issue.
- Don’t be shortsighted – Whether you’re dealing with a targeted attack or a random malware infection, it’s important to consider the long term effects of your decisions. It is likely that you will receive pressure from various business units to bring systems back online as soon as possible. While it’s important that staff regains access to their applications, it could lead to larger problems down the line if that access is restored prematurely. For example, removing network connectivity or isolating affected systems is obviously going to upset some staff members due to the loss of productivity. However, it’s possible that the malware or attacks could become more widespread if the affected systems are not properly isolated.
- Hindsight is 20/20 – I’ve seen individuals waste time during incidents pointing fingers at other team members. I’ve also witnessed individuals procrastinate resolving the issue while they agonize over ways they could have prevented the incident from occurring. After the issue has been resolved, it’s important to have a post mortem meeting to take the proper steps to make sure that history does not repeat itself. However, those conversations can wait until the incident has been fully resolved.
I sincerely hope you don’t have to deal with any security incidents. However, if you need help resolving an issue involving a malware outbreak or targeted attack, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.