What Is an Incident Response Plan (IRP) for IT?

What is an incident response plan, or IRP, for IT?

An incident response plan, or IRP, is a set of instructions to help IT staff detect, respond to, and recover from network disturbances.

Often, “network disturbances” refers to security and data breaches. But any network disrupter should be taken into account in an incident response plan. You may face a natural disaster, infrastructure failure, or other challenge.


What is an incident response team?

An incident response team is the group of people assigned to implement the IRP as defined by the plan.

Why do I need an IRP?

If your network hasn’t been threatened yet, it will be. If it has, then you know the chaos following an attack. Whether the threat is virtual (security breaches) or physical (power outages or natural disasters), losing data or functionality can be crippling. An IRP will help you prepare.

How can I make sure my network is ready for a disaster scenario?

Your network will never be 100 percent secure, and you will be threatened by a disaster scenario eventually. You must prepare your network. You need a thorough IRP that can mitigate the damage done by a disaster. Here are five steps to help you best prepare.

Preparing for a network disaster

Determine the critical components of your business network

To protect your network against major damage, you need to replicate and store your data in a remote location. Because business networks are expansive and complex, you should determine your most crucial data and systems. Prioritize their backup, and note their location. These steps will help you recover your network safely and quickly.

Identify and address the network’s single points of failure

Single points of failure can expose your network when disaster strikes. Address them with redundancies or software failover features. Do the same with your staff. If a designated employee can’t respond to the incident, name a second person to take over. In this way, you will help prevent a disaster from destroying the entire network even if it damages part of it.

Create a workforce continuity plan

During a security breach or natural disaster, some locations or processes may be inaccessible. In either case, the top priority is employee safety. You can help ensure their safety and limit business downtime by enabling them to work remotely. Create an infrastructure with technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and secure web gateways.

Create an incident response plan

Draw up a formal IRP, and make sure all levels in the company understand their role. An IRP often includes the following:

  • Evacuation procedures
  • Communication plan to verify the safety of employees
  • Workforce continuity plan
  • List of network components and their locations
  • List of critical network recovery processes
  • HR responsibilities
  • Coordination plan with first responders, partners, and customers

Train your staff on disaster response

It is crucial that everyone in your organization understands the incident response plan. After you’ve created it, train and educate your staff on disaster response. Practicing facility evacuations and emergency responsibilities for certain types of disasters helps your team to stay in sync when disaster strikes. This preparation will help increase safety and productivity during an incident.

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