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Learn more about Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR), how it works, and what to consider when evaluating a DFIR vendor.
Even the most sophisticated cybersecurity defenses can fail, and when they do, you want the right tools and resources to contain threats before they disrupt your business operations. In addition, you need to have detailed insights on how the data breach occurred in the first place, and structure your cybersecurity defenses around this knowledge to avoid future cyberattacks. However, it’s unrealistic for the majority of organizations to have an in-house team that specializes in investigating and responding to cybersecurity incidents.
First, let's answer the question, “What is digital forensics?” Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that focuses on acquiring, analyzing and reporting on digital evidence from your corporate systems and applications. It is increasingly used to support evidence handling and forensic analysis of the root cause for the security incident. Digital forensics analysis consists of examining electronically stored information to contextualize cyberattacks and gather evidence of how they took place, who is involved, and where they originated.
Incident response focuses on understanding and investigating security incidents, limiting their effects, and assisting with recovery efforts. Essentially, the goal is to ensure that your organization is better prepared for any future security incidents or cyberattacks. Incident response also extends into very specific areas, including compliance reporting, legal assistance (e.g., expert witness testimony), and incident recovery efforts. Incident Response service providers have extensive experience and hold multiple industry certifications. They are typically called in to investigate:
According to the Computer Security Incident Handling Guide by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), there is a four-phase approach that your organization can use for incident response:
Digital forensics is used in the later stages of incident response where evidence of the cyberattack is reviewed, often alongside:
To prevent cyber threat actors from disabling your business operating systems entirely, they must be removed from your environment as soon as possible. For the DFIR process to be truly successful, the Incident Response team should work hand-in-hand with 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) Cyber Analysts and a global Elite Threat Hunting DFIR team.
Once a data breach is confirmed, there are three steps that incident response providers should take to rapidly deploy DFIR services, contain the cyberattack, and ensure your organization is equipped for continuous Incident Response improvement.
Effective Incident Response providers will perform an initial investigation to determine how to best contain and remove the cyber threat while collecting material evidence. This includes understanding the background facts of the case, determining investigative direction, gaining access to the necessary tools, staff, and in-scope systems and networks, performing the initial investigation, and collecting and preserving material evidence.
At this stage, incident responders initiate threat containment by quarantining affected systems or accounts and identifying the intrusion source. The sooner an Incident Response provider can achieve this, the more likely that your organization’s assets and operations can come out unscathed. This stage includes initiating threat containment activities, quarantining affected systems/accounts, performing computer forensics and network forensics crime scene reconstruction, identifying the source and intrusion vectors, recreating lateral movement pathways, and uncovering any instances of data exfiltration.
In the last stage, the goal is to strengthen the cybersecurity strategy and provide an executive report to the relevant parties. The incident responders will analyze the cyberattack and gather any additional context or data available. This stage includes building an inventory of all compromised assets across the endpoints, hard drives, file systems, etc. and listing the types of data or records exposed.
Next, the report is presented to your organization’s executive leadership team to satisfy reporting requirements. They will also provide a list of the compromised assets and findings to pass along to law enforcement agencies. This helps prevent future cyberattacks from occurring again as defenses are catered to address the vulnerabilities that caused the cyberattack in the first place.
It takes 15 hours for 91% of cyberattackers to breach perimeter controls or 54% of cyberattackers to complete a breach. With cybercrime evolving this quickly, you need an incident response plan that protects your critical assets and prevents data loss. It’s also important to note that cyber insurance providers will provide favorable premiums and coverage options to organizations that take preparatory steps and implement incident response plans compared to those that don’t have any DFIR plan in place.
In the event of a cyberattack, it is important for organizations to contain cyber threats and find the root cause of how it happened and what exactly was impacted. The sooner you secure your assets and gather information from a digital forensic investigation, the more precise your cybersecurity defense plan can be to prevent future cyberattacks.
In the event your organization has been breached, you need an incident response provider with the right tools and resources to get you back on your feet, fast. To qualify potential incident response vendors, here are some questions you can ask:
We have a complete guide you can download for a full list of all 10 questions to ask when you’re evaluating an Incident Response provider.
With the average breach costing $3.86 million in 2020, having immediate access to digital forensic techniques and incident response expertise brings rapid control and stability to your organization when a breach occurs. A sound DFIR strategy can be the difference between a disaster and just another day at the office.
DFIR plays a significant role in an organization’s ability to proactively reduce the impact of a cyberattack. Incident Response helps organizations recover from potentially business-altering incidents and determine how prevention, policies, plans and procedures can be improved.
Digital Forensics can be essential for root cause analysis and for pursuing judicial actions.
When a data breach occurs, you want us in your corner.
eSentire delivers an industry-leading 4-hour threat suppression SLA remotely by our Cyber Security Investigations (CSI) team who are armed with best-in-class tools to identify the root cause of an existing security incident and determine the extent to which data and assets were compromised. This helps ensure you can get back to normal business operations, reduce costs, and save your organization from further reputational damage. We also support you through recovery and provide assistance to satisfy your stakeholder and compliance obligations. The results of our digital forensics investigations can bear scrutiny in a court of law.
Our On-Demand 24/7 Incident Response features:
Stop attackers in their tracks with our breakthrough 4-hour remote threat suppression commitment. eSentire Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) services are available for On-Demand 24/7 Incident Response as a retainer offering, or for Emergency Incident Response support.
Be ready for the worst-case scenario with the world’s fastest threat suppression. When you’ve been breached, every second counts so we provide 4-hour threat suppression, remotely, anywhere in the world with our On-Demand 24/7 Incident Response Retainer. Our DFIR services are also available as Emergency Incident Response support.
When you’ve been breached, every second counts, check out these DFIR resources to learn how to ensure your business is prepared for the worst-case scenario.