In the IT industry, incident reporting is an important aspect of IT Compliance. Incident reporting is an important practise that promotes safety in the workplace. It not only identifies areas for improvement in an organization but also helps prevent incidents from occurring.
In this blog, we shall see what constitutes a security incident and the importance of reporting it.
I will share my own experience that tells how important it is to report an incident on time.
What is a Security Incident?
A security incident is an event that might result in the breach of defined security policies for applications. Not all events might actually result in a breach. Therefore, it is important to identify and categorize these events and monitor the actual and associated events.
What is the importance of incident reporting?
With an effective incident reporting protocol in place, your place of work will see improvements. It will prevent serious things from happening. An unreported incident can cause further damage by spreading the issue further through the network, resulting in data loss and the compromise of confidential and critical data. This may be a source of embarrassment and a loss of customer faith. Worse, it will trigger the penalty clause in the contract.
My own experience
I think it was sometime in May 2022 that I faced a situation that affected one of my team members’ computers. We were all working from home. During our daily team meeting, one of my teammates informed me that he was getting annoyed by the pop-up ads that came every now and then. These pop-ups were not only annoying, but they appeared to be slowing down his laptop. Now, for him, it was just an irritation caused by pop-up ads, but my mind went beyond this apparent behavior. I asked him many questions about what kind of ads these were, how many times they were showing, when they had started showing on the screen, etc. I further asked if he thought that his laptop was getting slower due to these ads.
Due to my bombardment of questions, he got confused. He asked if his laptop getting slower and if these ads were somehow linked. I asked him if he had clicked on any external links, an ad, or an email in the last few days. He thought for a while and said that, while checking the emails, by mistake, he had clicked on one of the mails with a ‘Backup your laptop/work data‘ ad. But quickly realising his mistake, he deleted that email and resumed work.
Actually, his clicking by mistake on a link that came in an email from an unknown or invalidated sender was an “incident” that had to be reported immediately. I told him to disconnect from the office network instantly and talk to our Senior IT Administrator.
Our IT Administrator asked him to scan his laptop with the latest anti-virus and malware security software that is installed on each machine. After doing so, we found a malware attack. We removed the threat using the most recent anti-virus and malware software.
If my teammate had not reported the incident on time, it would have resulted in numerous complications, including the spread of malware throughout the office network, data loss, and any other serious complications.
All companies should have an ‘Incident Reporting’ system in place with a clear understanding of it by all employees who have an important role and access to data.
If an incident takes place, it should be recorded along with the place and time of the incident, a suggested severity level, contact information of the parties involved and a detailed description of the incident. It should be communicated to the organization’s management and executive teams, who can immediately initiate corrective action.
Despite the best intentions and elaborate preventive measures, a security incident can occur once in a while. It is the responsibility of every team member to be vigilant and report if an incident occurs. It is the responsibility of the managers and leaders to educate the team on the importance of reporting incidents immediately.