As with all planning functions, advance planning works best because people can think logically, unhurried, and without pressure or emotion. What constitutes an incident may be vague. We cannot know the details of an incident in advance. Typical characteristics include harm or risk of harm to computer systems, data, processing, or people; initial uncertainty as to the extent of damage; and similar uncertainty as to the source or method of the incident. For example, you can see that the file is missing or the home page has been defaced, but you do not know how or by whom or what other damage there may be.
In organizations that have not done incident planning, chaos may develop at this point. Someone runs to the network manager. Someone sends email to the help desk. Someone calls the FBI, the CERT, the newspapers, or the fire department. People start to investigate on their own, without coordinating with the relevant staff in other departments, agencies, or businesses. And conversation, rumor, and misinformation ensue: often more noise than substance.
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