Just as stage coach operators needed to protect their business, drivers and customers from bandits in the days of the "wild west," today's leaders need to protect their business, their staff and their customers from the ravages of cyber-bandits. It should surprise no one that as reliance on technology has grown, so has the number and sophistication of these bandits.
One step to help protect critical assets is to develop a cyber-incident response plan, which will act as your navigation system when the inevitable cyber-attack occurs. Planning ahead can help an organization deal with the unknown in a way that is effective and avoids costly mistakes and oversights. Why will an organization be dealing with the "unknown" if the likelihood of a cyber-attack is so clear? You are likely to be targeted for attack, but what is unknown is the nature of the attack that will occur, who will initiate it, the assets that will be impacted and its severity. These are the factors that need to be considered, and prepared for, in your response plan.
Moreover, based on the prevalence of cyber-incidents, each incident cannot be treated as a one-off emergency or the organization's focus on important business needs will suffer. (Few senior management teams function effectively when in a reactive crisis mode.) Ideally, firms today will take a serious look at their processes and consider ways to minimize the likelihood or impact of a cyber-attack.
But should one successfully occur, a cyber-response plan is like a GPS navigation system leading a company through the paths that a cyber-incident might take. Hopefully this will allow many incidents to be treated as "routine" events in the life of the firm. Armed with a proactive plan, a firm will invoke its business continuity or disaster recovery procedures only in the truly severe situation and, in that case, these plans should work seamlessly with one another.