Six Pillars Of Security, #6: Appropriate Escalation and Containment

  • In the event of a breach or an infringement of your companies responsibilities, timely and appropriate escalation is required.
  • During one breach I witnessed at a company I used to work for, inappropriate and untimely escalation made the situation a lot worse; the dev team and their managers failed to escalate a serious issue (users credentials being logged in a log file) quickly and appropriately, and as result the situation escalated.
    • access to files is often logged. In the case of a breach, the lower the number of people who accessed the compromised resources the smaller the aftermath (e.g in the case of sensitive data being logged to a file, it’s easier to deal with five people who accessed the compromised file, than thirty). Reducing initial propagation helps this.

  • It is important that an issue is only propagated (revealed to other teams/parties) after it has been fixed.
    • Premature propagation can lead to a lot of chaos and panic and ‘quick fixes’ which exacerbate the situation.
    • Escalation not propagation!
  • Share details after the incident has been contained and fixed.
  • Basic Action Points For A Team:
    • Identify the existing breach report escalation structure.
    • Question it if needs be.
    • Communicate this to the team and ensure they understand it.

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