Detection & Response - Introduction

What is Detection and Response?

Detection and Response (not DR - Disaster Recovery) in cybersecurity refers to the basic processes and techniques used to detect and respond to cyber threats.


  • Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of network and device activity to identify abnormal behavior.
  • Log Management: Gathering and analyzing logs from various sources to detect security incidents.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: Scanning systems for vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers.


  • Incident Response Plan: Having a pre-determined plan of action in case of a security incident.
  • Containment: Isolating affected systems to prevent the spread of an attack.
  • Eradication: Removing the root cause of the incident, such as malware.
  • Recovery: Restoring systems to a pre-incident state.
  • Lessons Learned: Documenting the incident and identifying areas for improvement in the future.

Detection and Response is an important aspect of a comprehensive security program and helps organizations detect and respond to threats in a timely and effective manner.

Monitoring Basics

Security monitoring is not the first step in defining a comprehensive Detection and Response program, but it is certainly the hardest.

  1. Objectives: Define what is to be monitored, why, and how. Follow your risk management objectives such that you protect your crown jewels and other important assets first. Also keep in mind compliance requirements.
  2. Scope: Determine the systems and resources that will be monitored.
  3. Data Collection: Gathering data from various sources, including logs, network traffic, and endpoints. Use the Cyber Kill Chain to orient collection sources for defense in depth.
  4. Analytics: Analyzing the collected data to identify patterns and anomalies.
  5. Alerting: Setting up notifications or alarms to alert security personnel when unusual or suspicious activity is detected. See this blog post for a more in-depth explanation on log deployment and tuning.
  6. Dashboards: Visualizing the monitoring data in a way that is easy to understand and use - most importantly - for stakeholders.
  7. Documentation: Documenting the monitoring process and maintaining accurate records for future reference.

Vulnerability Scanning

Vulnerability scanning goes hand in hand with asset management, therefore it is important to raise the maturity of the general IT landscape before attempting a vulnerability management program. A CMDB (Configuration Management Database) should be used to inform the vulnerability scanner which in turn informs the CMDB so that IT management has accurate data on which systems to patch and update. Often the vulnerability managment program is closer aligned to a generic IT function than it is to Information Security. Some key benefits to vulnerability scanning include:

  1. Risk Assessment: Vulnerability scanning provides a comprehensive view of the security risks present in a system or network, allowing organizations to prioritize and manage those risks.
  2. Compliance: Vulnerability scanning can help organizations meet regulatory and industry compliance requirements by identifying and remedying security vulnerabilities.
  3. Early Detection: Vulnerability scanning allows organizations to detect and remediate security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers.
  4. Cost-Effective: Vulnerability scanning is a cost-effective way to identify and manage security risks compared to manual security testing.

Incident Response

Incident Response is key to surviving an incident when one occurs. Incident response involves a series of steps that are taken (usually in order) to manage a security incident, including:

  1. Preparation: Preparation involves planning and preparing for security incidents, such as developing incident response plans, procedures, and policies, and providing training to incident response teams.
  2. Detection and Analysis: Detection and analysis involves identifying and confirming the security incident, gathering evidence, and analyzing the incident to determine the scope and impact.
  3. Containment: Containment involves taking steps to contain the security incident and prevent further damage, such as isolating infected systems, disabling network access, or shutting down services.
  4. Eradication: Eradication involves removing the cause of the security incident, such as patching systems, removing malware, or restoring data from backups.
  5. Recovery: Recovery involves restoring normal operations, such as restarting services, restoring data, and resuming normal business activities.
  6. Lessons Learned: Lessons learned involves reviewing the incident response process and making improvements to better prepare for future incidents.


In conclusion, detection and response is a critical component of cybersecurity. It is necessary to identify and manage security incidents, minimize their impact, and restore normal operations as quickly as possible. Effective detection and response requires a combination of preparation, technology, and human expertise. One one hand organizations must invest in the development of well-defined incident response plans, procedures, and policies, as well as provide regular training to incident response teams. On the other hand organizations must implement a range of technologies, including intrusion detection systems, log management solutions, and vulnerability scanning tools, to ensure that they are equipped to detect and respond to security incidents.