Your Cloud IR Plan Starts Here:

Quickstart Template for Cloud Incident Response

You can find a multitude of frameworks, blueprints, and guides online to help you develop your own roadmap for dealing with a cybersecurity incident.

However, many of these are highly formalized, hard to interpret, and difficult to put into practice. They are also often developed with traditional infrastructure in mind. This means they overlook the measures needed to respond to incidents in cloud environments–leaving those that protect modern hybrid or cloud-based deployments potentially unprepared for an attack.

So we've created this template with a stronger focus on the needs of cloud security operations  teams.

Why download this template

  • Structured Approach: The template provides a well-organized structure, outlining all the crucial aspects of an incident response plan, from preparation and detection to eradication and post-incident review. This ensures a comprehensive and systematic approach to incident handling.

  • Cloud-Specific Focus: The plan acknowledges the unique considerations of cloud environments, including shared responsibility models, distributed deployments, and cloud-native security tools. This tailored guidance helps organizations effectively address security incidents within the cloud context.

  • Actionable Steps: The template goes beyond just outlining phases; it provides specific actions and considerations for each stage. This includes details on technical tasks, communication protocols, and escalation procedures.

How to use this template

This cloud incident response plan template serves as a foundation, but customization is crucial for optimal effectiveness. Here's how to get the most out of it:

  • Gather Information: Assemble a team with representatives from IT security, legal, communications, and business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR) departments. Collectively gather information on your cloud environment, security policies, compliance requirements, and existing security tools.

  • Customize the Template: Don't treat the template as a rigid document. Adapt each section to reflect your specific cloud environment, security posture, and organizational structure. Fill in details like contact information, escalation procedures, and specific cloud security tools you utilize.

  • Develop Playbooks: Use the template as a roadmap to develop detailed playbooks for different types of incidents (e.g., DoS attack, data breach). These playbooks should outline step-by-step procedures for each stage of the response, tailored to the specific incident scenario.

  • Conduct Training: Train your incident response team on the finalized plan and playbooks. Regular training exercises will ensure team members understand their roles and responsibilities, and can respond efficiently during an actual incident.

  • Maintain and Update: Security threats and cloud technologies are constantly evolving. Regularly review and update your plan to reflect changes in your environment, new vulnerabilities, and emerging best practices in incident response.

How NOT to use this template

While it provides a valuable framework, there are some common mistakes you should avoid when using any IR template:

  • Copy-Paste Approach: Don't simply copy and paste the template content without customization. A generic plan won't be effective in addressing the specific complexities of your cloud environment and security posture.

  • Neglecting Playbooks: The template is a starting point, but detailed playbooks are essential for guiding specific response actions. Don't overlook the importance of developing these supplementary documents.

  • Limited Training: An unread plan is useless. Train your incident response team thoroughly on the plan and playbooks. Regular training exercises are crucial for ensuring a smooth and efficient response during an incident.

  • Static Document: The security landscape is constantly changing. Don't treat the plan as a static document. Schedule regular reviews and updates to adapt to new threats, vulnerabilities, and security best practices.

  • Ignoring Compliance Requirements: Ensure your plan aligns with relevant data protection regulations and industry standards that apply to your organization. Don't neglect the legal aspects of incident response.

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  2. 2. Prioritize risks with context
  3. 3. Speed up remediation time on critical threats

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