Triage is something companies use in cybersecurity to help protect computers and networks. Employers use triage to find out what attacks, threats, and damages have happened. They also use triage to decide which ones they will fix first. It helps by allowing them to establish the order of what needs to be fixed first so they can do it quickly.

What is triage?

Triage is an important element of cybersecurity, as it assists in prioritising threats and allocating resources to respond to them in the most effective way possible. Triage is used when there are multiple security incidents or events that need to be addressed simultaneously. It involves analysing each incident or event, determining its severity and urgency, and then developing a plan of action for managing it. By using triage techniques in cybersecurity, organisations can quickly identify and address potential risks so they do not affect the company’s operational activities.

Types of cybersecurity incidents

Cybersecurity threats come in many forms, from malicious software such as viruses and ransomware, to cyber-attacks on networks, systems, or user accounts.

  • Malware is designed to steal data or disrupt operations by exploiting weaknesses in applications or operating systems.
  • Phishing attacks are attempts to acquire sensitive information such as usernames and passwords through deceptive emails or links that lead to malicious websites.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks involve the use of multiple computers to overwhelm a system with traffic so it becomes unavailable for legitimate users.
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks involve intercepting communications between two parties in order to gain access to confidential data or manipulate the communication process.
  • SQL injection is a type of attack where malicious code is injected into web applications in order to gain access to sensitive data stored in databases.
  • Cross Site Scripting (XSS) involves adding malicious scripts into webpages (usually trustworthy ones) which can be used to execute unauthorised commands and steal user data.
  • Due to many of the attacks going after clients and sensitive information, businesses have many reasons to act fast and learn how to categorise the attacks for better results.

How to carry out a triage in cybersecurity

When triaging a cybersecurity incident, the goal is to quickly identify and prioritise threats so that the most appropriate resources can be allocated to respond to each incident in an effective and timely manner. To effectively triage an incident, it is important to first understand the context of the event – what caused it, who was impacted, and what systems were involved. This information will help you evaluate the severity and urgency of the incident and determine the best course of action.

 For example, if you are triaging a cyber-attack that has been identified as a potential data breach, such as the Optus data breach, companies will want to assess whether there has been any actual data theft or unauthorised access to sensitive information. Organisations may also need to consider how quickly new measures must be put into place in order to prevent further damage from occurring. Once these initial steps are taken, triage should involve evaluating all immediately available evidence related to the incident such as logs and other sources of data. Analysts can help businesses gain a better understanding of the threat and develop an appropriate response strategy.

 In addition to gathering evidence and analysing it, communication with key stakeholders is essential for carrying out triage effectively. Stakeholders should be informed about incidents as soon as possible so that they can understand the risks posed by each event and make decisions about security, though which stakeholders are contacted may depend on the triage outcome – e.g you’re unlikely to have to report a minor service interruption to a regulator. 

 Additionally, communication between technical teams can help ensure that triage processes are properly implemented throughout the organisation. Continual monitoring post-triage is critical for detecting any newly emerged threats or vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked during triage operations so that proactive measures can be taken against them before they cause major harm.


Benefits of Using Triage in Cybersecurity

There are many benefits to using triage for cybersecurity incidents. A triage system provides organisations with a structured approach to identifying and responding to security threats. This helps minimise the potential damage caused by incidents, enabling organisations to reduce the costs associated with managing and recovering from cyber-attacks.

 Triage also enables quick action when dealing with cyber-security incidents, as triage processes help identify the right resources needed for the right tasks at the right time. By providing timely feedback on the severity and urgency of each incident, triage prevents organisations from wasting valuable time and resources on less critical events. Triaging can also inform decisions on how best to respond to an incident, helping organisations develop better plans and know how to prepare better.

 Carrying out triage operations is also beneficial for building trust between stakeholders within an organisation as well as customers and other external parties who rely on its services for their business operations. By demonstrating a commitment to controlling security threats quickly and successfully, businesses can instil confidence among stakeholders that their data is safe and secure. Employing triage processes can also help businesses maintain compliance with industry regulations regarding data protection and privacy standards, ensuring they remain compliant while protecting user data from malicious actors.

Tips on implementing triage

When implementing triage operations in your organisation, it is important to establish clear policies and procedures that outline who is responsible for triaging incidents as well as how they should be handled. This will help ensure everyone involved knows what their roles are and how best to respond when faced with a security incident or threat. Additionally, it is important to develop clear communication channels between all relevant stakeholders so that information on new threats can be shared quickly, without issues, throughout the organisation.

It is also critical to have the right tools in place for triaging incidents effectively. Automated triage solutions such as malware analysis platforms or threat intelligence feeds can provide valuable insights into emerging threats which may not have been identified through manual processes. Moreover, having the right triage processes in place can help organisations identify and handle incidents faster, enabling them to minimise the potential damage caused by cyber-attacks.

To ensure triage operations are successful, it is essential to have regular reviews of triage processes in order to make sure they remain effective and up-to-date with changing trends in the security landscape. This will also enable organisations to identify any issues or gaps in their triage processes that need addressing. Conducting training sessions for triaging team members on a regular basis is necessary for ensuring everyone involved knows how to use the tools available and how best to respond when faced with a security incident.

Challenges of triage in cybersecurity

When applying triage in cybersecurity, businesses should be aware of the various challenges they may face. The first major challenge that businesses must consider is the complexity of cyber threats. As cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated and adaptive, companies need to have a deep understanding of the various types of attacks and what is the best way to act. Without having a thorough understanding of the different types of attacks, an organisation may not be able to properly prioritise security issues and allocate resources accordingly. Additionally, without proper training and education on cyber security measures, organisations can struggle to understand how best to apply triage protocols when responding to an attack.

Another challenge that businesses can expect when applying triage in cybersecurity is ensuring their IT staff has the necessary skills and knowledge required to appropriately respond to potential cyberattacks. They need to fully understand security protocols so they can properly assess each threat’s severity level and determine which systems require immediate attention. IT staff should also have experience in performing incident response activities such as analysing alerts or logs, identifying malicious activity, mitigating any damage done by attackers, as well as restoring compromised systems back into service quickly.

Wrapping up

To effectively apply triage in cybersecurity, businesses must be familiar with their existing security systems, logic flows, and processes. This requires them to evaluate multiple areas including network architecture, employee habits, corporate policies and procedures, third-party vendors, hardware components and software dependencies. Cybersecurity experts must also review logs from various sources such as firewalls, web servers and other application logs to detect any suspicious activity or malicious attempts to access sensitive data. Once these steps are taken then an appropriate action plan can be implemented which includes categorising the threat level of each incident according to its severity as well as its expected cost or impact on the business operations if not addressed properly.

Polonious helps its clients with prioritising incidents and setting up response plans by making the process more efficient and easier to handle. We allow our customers to upload different types of files online and we give them automated updated for their assigned cases. We also provide them with colour-coded matrixes that help visually see which threats need the most attention. We do everything to ensure that our clients’ productivity is not disrupted and their costs are minimised. Request a demo and see how we can help your company with triage.