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Best Practices and Frameworks for Cloud Incident Response

Cloud incident response requires teams to react quickly and efficiently to incidents in dynamic, scalable environments. It also requires experts with an agile, critical-thinking approach.

Detecting cloud attack vectors and other potential disruptions can help organizations plan for an incident response effort. Identifying evidence artifacts can also be crucial to cloud incident response.

Defining the Incident

Many factors, such as human error or cyberattacks, can lead to an incident. Having a good plan for handling incidents in the cloud can prevent them from happening and minimize their impact.

Incident response has changed significantly over the past decade, primarily due to the rise of cloud computing. Modern business systems operate on a combination of networks, storage, management software and other components supplied by several different cloud providers.

The rapid evolution of threats, the complexity of these systems and the data volume involved in responding to incidents have created new challenges for incident responders in the cloud.

Outdated methods: Traditional detective controls and DFIR methods were designed for something other than the dynamic nature of cloud computing environments. Successful response teams must be as agile and familiar with the nuances of cloud computing environments as they are with on-prem systems.

The key to a successful cloud incident response process is establishing standards and best practices and leveraging a cloud-native investigation platform. Using these tools helps organizations standardize data collection and analysis processes, streamlines workflows and reduces time to resolve incidents.


While a standard incident response framework doesn’t include cloud specifics, many common elements and best practices can be used for incident detection and management in a cloud environment. These include identity and access management, role-based access controls, and secure logging and retention of logs and evidence.

As cloud environments are more complex than traditional data centers, it is essential to have security staff trained and incident response playbooks in place. It will ensure that security teams can respond quickly and efficiently to incidents involving cloud services, allowing them to limit damage and recover faster from attacks.

In addition to training and tools, creating most minor privilege accounts for incident response teams to perform actions when needed in the cloud is essential. It can be done by enabling identity and access management and role-based access controls for specific accounts.

Cloud security is evolving rapidly, so security teams must have specialized knowledge and methodologies to prevent, detect and respond to cyber incidents in the cloud. It includes a strong understanding of cloud infrastructure, forensics and cloud-specific threats, and industry-leading tools to help security teams respond to, contain and recover from cyber attacks in the cloud.


As businesses adopt cloud technologies to facilitate their mission to grow and innovate at an accelerated pace, they also need to safeguard their systems and infrastructures from critical service disruption. It requires an incident response strategy that can contain and quickly restore services in the cloud.

The frameworks and best practices that make up an effective cloud incident response process can help organizations respond more quickly to a security breach, preventing disruption of business operations and ensuring that sensitive data remains protected. However, incident management continues once the initial response is complete.

Incident managers must also track and analyze all data related to an incident, including logs. This data is crucial to understanding the cause of an incident, determining the severity and determining what needs to be done to resolve the issue.

Incident response is a dynamic process that must adapt to changes in the computing environment and threat landscape. To achieve this, organizations should use a cloud-native investigation platform to ensure that they can collect, process and analyze evidence from all the tools, devices and locations that are part of their tech stack. It reduces the time and cost of addressing incidents and allows security to keep up with the rapidly evolving cloud landscape.


Restore normal operations: Most cyber incidents are short-lived, and recovery should be performed in parallel with regular business activities. However, it is only sometimes possible to avoid disrupting critical systems or services.

Define recovery priorities: This is crucial to any incident response strategy. It should consider technical and business aspects, such as which systems are necessary to bring other company areas back to operation and which can wait a bit longer before being restored.

Plan for people and communication: During an incident, coordinating the work of multiple personnel is essential. It includes ensuring that staff are trained for specific recovery roles and can respond when needed.

It is also essential to ensure that recovery procedures are easy to follow and repeatable, regardless of the incident’s circumstances. Systems must also include steps for using cloud-based backup resources if required.


Organizations must invest in incident response as cloud-based infrastructures, services, and applications become increasingly prevalent in the enterprise. This process is crucial to reducing the damage from cyber-attacks and helping systems recover faster.

One of the most common challenges IT leaders face is ensuring real-time visibility of all events across all platforms and services. It may require implementing alerting use cases to catch excessive login failures, service creations and other administrative events that could be malicious.

In a security incident, cloud IT managers must establish frameworks and best practices to guide the entire team in addressing the issue. It will allow them to thwart data breach attempts and protect sensitive information effectively.

The first step is to understand the incident and its scope. It requires identifying the source, the nature and severity of the incident, what data has been exposed and what impact it will have on the business.

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