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Security incidents are events that fall outside the range of normal operational noise, surpass a pre-defined threshold and/or have a negative impact on the overall security posture of the network, data, systems or organization. A computer security incident is an accidental or malicious action or event that has the potential to cause unwanted effects on the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) of an organization’s information and IT assets. Therefore, a security “incident” can be defined as any situation that has negative repercussions on the CIA of a company’s electronic information assets. This piece details guidelines and best practices to follow when defining a security incident.
Many organizations often struggle to differentiate between computer security “events” and actual “incidents.”
The determination of whether an anomaly is an event or an incident is based on whether the CIA of a system or data has been affected. It doesn’t matter if the action or event was accidental or malicious. If it has the potential of causing unwanted effects on the CIA of the organization’s information and IT assets, it qualifies.
Therefore, a security “incident” is defined as any situation with negative repercussions on the CIA of a company’s electronic information assets. In addition, the classification level of the affected data plays a role in determining the incident’s severity level.
READ: How to Prepare for SEC’s Cyber Disclosure Rules
The determination of whether an event is an incident should be made using the following guidelines:
If the answer is ‘yes’ for any one of those four questions, an incident has occurred and should be declared so. If the answer is no, the anomaly should be classified as an event because none of the four criteria for an incident were met.
Common examples of computer security incidents include:
With the SEC’s new cyber rules, the materiality of cyber risk is further emphasized. Cyber knowledge and disclosure in the business is the priority and the board’s role in cyber oversight along with the need for CISO expertise on public boards remains a key requirement. Download our CISOs as Board Directors, CISO Board Readiness Analysis to find guidance and compelling insights included in this year’s benchmark reports.
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