What is an Incident Response Retainer Service & Why Do You Need It?

Date: 19 July 2023

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If there’s one thing that businesses need to prepare for today, it’s cyber crime. With the rampant rise in cyber attacks and ransomware attacks, improving readiness to respond to a cybersecurity incident is critical. 

As a business, you may have already put a lot of thought and investment into your Cyber Incident Response strategy. You probably have all the necessary tech solutions, cybersecurity documents and policies in place and perhaps also an Incident Response team. 

So what exactly is an Incident Response Retainer Service? And why might you need one over and above all the other cybersecurity initiatives you already have in place? 

In this blog, we explore the Cyber Incident Response (IR) Retainer Service in a little detail. You’ll be able to see why several small to medium organisations swear by this service for effective incident response. We’ll also show you why even large organisations with a robust security infrastructure opt for this service.  

Topics covered: 

1. What is an Incident Response Retainer Service? 
2. Why do you Need an IR Retainer?

What Exactly is a Cyber Incident Response Retainer Service? 

A Cyber Incident Response Retainer Service is essentially a proactive agreement between an organisation and a specialised cybersecurity consultancy firm. 

It involves retaining the services of the cybersecurity firm in advance. They can then provide immediate assistance and expertise in the event of a security incident or breach.

The purpose of an Incident Response Retainer Service is to ensure that the organisation has a designated team of experts readily available to respond swiftly to any security incident. This arrangement allows for a faster and more efficient response, minimising the potential damage and impact of a cyber attack.

The main goal of an IR Retainer Service is that you have a highly experienced team of cybersecurity practitioners who help you in detection and analysis of threats. They help you respond as fast and as efficiently as possible. Further, they also enable the business to bounce back from a cybersecurity incident with least possible disruptions to critical operations. 

Here are some of the common components of an IR Retainer Service:

  • Specialised Incident Response: A specialised team of IR responders can manage a cybersecurity event far more effectively than any in-house team. The reason is pretty simple - they do this for a living day in and day out. No matter how experienced internal teams may be, they hopefully don’t see security events and data breaches every other day. Therefore, the efficiency that an external IR retainer brings is unmatched.  
  • Incident Triage: The IR Retainer helps you conduct Incident Triage by assimilating inputs from all possible sources. They then help you define incident response processes for the particular event and assist in all critical coordination to dramatically reduce response time. 
  • Constant Support: Your Incident Response retainer should provide you with ongoing support as you deal with an incident. They may attend important conference calls with your internal stakeholders, challenge your suppliers and third-parties. They will also often review your internal and external communication plans during the event and offer expert guidance.
  • Digital Forensics related support: The incident response team provides support through the forensic investigation process. The vendors or partners of the IR firm could help you collect evidence, analyse logs, and identify the vulnerabilities exploited by the attackers. This information is crucial for remediation and future prevention.
  • Post Incident Support: This is one of the most crucial phases of incident response. We regularly conduct a Lessons Learned workshop for our clients. This helps them see the actual long term impact of the incident, how well it was handled and what gaps need to be plugged. 

    It helps you understand how to further bolster your organisational cyber resilience and what improvements you need to make in your Incident Response plans and processes. This also gives you fantastic insights into how you can improve your preparation against future incidents.

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Why Does My Business Need an Incident Response Retainer Service? 

There are several reasons why your business may benefit from having an Incident Response Retainer: 

Effective Response: Cybersecurity incidents can occur at any time, and their impact can be devastating if not addressed promptly. Having an Incident Response Retainer ensures that you have a dedicated team of experts available to respond immediately when an incident occurs. This swift response helps contain the breach, minimise the damage, and reduce downtime. 

Expertise and Experience: Cybersecurity incidents can be complex and require specialised knowledge to handle effectively. By retaining an incident response service, you gain access to a team of highly experienced professionals who are well-versed in handling various types of incidents on an almost daily basis. 

They bring valuable expertise, an outsider’s perspective and deep experience of having dealt with similar crisis situations in various organisations across the globe. Their expertise is unmatched and this is what may help you bail your business out of a sticky cyber attack situation. 

Minimise Impact and Downtime: Security incidents can disrupt your business operations, leading to financial losses and reputational damage. With an incident response retainer, you can minimise the impact of an incident by having a team ready to take immediate action. They can swiftly contain the breach, mitigate the damage, and facilitate faster recovery. They will also advise you on how to conduct yourself with external stakeholders like clients, customers, third parties and regulatory authorities. 

Proactive Preparedness: Retaining an incident response service is a proactive approach to cybersecurity. It allows you to be well-prepared for potential security incidents rather than scrambling to assemble a response team when an incident occurs. By developing an incident response plan and engaging in proactive measures, you can strengthen your overall security posture and reduce the likelihood and impact of future incidents. 

Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have a trusted team of experts available to handle security incidents provides peace of mind. It allows you to focus on your core business activities, knowing that there is a dedicated team ready to respond swiftly and effectively in case of an incident. Even if you have an inhouse team, they will probably not have the bandwidth to independently deal with the chaos a cyber attack throws their way. Having a trusted partner who is objective and deeply experienced can be critical beyond measure. 

Unmatched Cost Savings: If your business doesn't already have an inhouse cybersecurity and/or Incident Response team, then our Incident Response Retainer Services can literally be a gamechanger. 

You could also couple this service with the Virtual Cyber Assistant service and have all your cybersecurity needs taken care of in one comprehensive and cost-effective package. The Virtual Cyber Assistant service is flexible, asynchronous and remote, yet it offers you access to deeply experienced cybersecurity practitioners. 

The whole USP of having an IR Retainer and/or a virtual cyber assistant is the unmatched cost savings it offers in comparison to onboarding a traditional, full-time consultancy. 

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In a world where cyber crime is quickly becoming a deal-breaker when it comes to business continuity, not everyone can afford or find the right talent to manage cybersecurity incidents. We’ve curated the Incident Response Retainer service especially for such organisations. 

But it is equally important for any business that understands the need for really effective Incident Response. A retainer service such as this can add immense support and bandwidth to your existing internal teams when they’re faced with the worst crisis. 

By engaging in an Incident Response Retainer Service, you can proactively address potential security threats and ensure a rapid, effective response when incidents occur. It provides peace of mind, strengthens cybersecurity resilience, and helps minimise the financial and reputational damages associated with security breaches.

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