What is a Security Incident & How to Manage/Handle it? [Explained]

Written By Sambita Panigrahy  
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On September 7th, 2023
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Security Incident Definition: Any physical or digital breach that compromises the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of an organization’s information systems or sensitive data is referred to as a security incident or security event. Security incidents can range from unintentional security policy violations by authorized users with valid credentials to planned cyberattacks by hackers or other unauthorized users.

An event will be considered a security incident when a normal business operation gets badly disrupted. It could be anything from a potential threat to a successful attack. In the meantime, just because the security incident didn’t compromise your information, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the same. If not controlled in time, it can become a more serious problem for any organization/business both personally and financially. For example, 2021 data reveal that the average cost of a security incident was nearly 4 million dollars. And, the figure only grew with time.

As you know what is a security incident, let’s move on and discuss its causes, types, and examples one by one, and most importantly how to handle & prevent it.

What are the Most Common Causes of a Security Incident?

Organizations can better identify and mitigate a security incident when they understand the most likely ways that it occurs.

Here are the 5 most common causes of a security event for your reference.

Cause No 1. Weak & Stolen Credentials

Most people use easy-to-remember passwords that’s why weak credentials have become one of the simplest causes of a security incident. Also, with the help of advanced technology, hackers these days are able to crack moderate to difficult passwords and steal them. 

Cause No 2. Vulnerabilities Present in the Application

Security gaps present in an application become a smooth road for hackers to successfully exploit and execute a security incident. 

Cause No 3. Potential Malware

Malicious software is another common cause of security incidents. Hackers stealthy plant malware on systems having vulnerabilities and compromise sensitive information.

Cause No 4. Insider Threats

An organization has various sensitive information in the form of source code, financial details, employee details, etc. And, the person who has access to all this information, and if a security event occurs then that person will be considered the direct cause of data breach.

Cause No 5. Human Error

Usually, employees of an organization are considered culprits here. Whether knowingly or unknowingly one small mistake such as the wrong person on CC of an email committed by an employee could become the cause of a security incident.

Different Types of Security Incidents 

The following are some examples of the most frequent security incidents:

  1. Ransomware: A form of malicious software known as ransomware encrypts data on a victim’s computer or other digital asset and threatens to keep it encrypted or worsen it unless the victim pays the attacker a ransom. Ransomware attacks grew by 41% between 2021 and 2022.
  2. Social Engineering Attacks: Electronic or spoken messages used in phishing attacks are intended to fool their recipients into providing personal information, downloading dangerous software, moving money or assets to the wrong people, or taking other damaging actions. Phishing messages are created by con artists to appear or sound as though they are from a reliable or trustworthy company or person, sometimes even someone the recipient knows personally.
  3. DDoS attacks: Hackers take remote control of a sizable number of computers and use them to flood a target organization’s network or servers with traffic in a distributed denial-of-service attack, rendering such services unavailable to authorized users.
  4. Attacks on the supply chain: Cyberattacks known as supply chain attacks target a target organization’s vendors, for example, by stealing confidential information from a supplier’s systems or leveraging a vendor’s services to spread malware.
  5. Internal dangers: These come in two different varieties. Employees, business partners, or other authorized users who maliciously undermine an organization’s information security are referred to as insiders. Negligent insiders are legitimate users who accidentally breach security by not adhering to security best practices, such as by employing weak passwords or keeping critical information in unsecured locations.

How to Manage/Handle Security Incidents? Learn the Best Practices

Organizations need to understand what incident response capabilities are necessary to quickly detect IT incidents and minimize the loss. Security incident prevention is only possible by understanding threats and identifying modern attacks.

If you want to handle security incidents, then you need to review each event afterward. It’ll stand as a shield to protect your organization and prepare you for future attacks.

Here are some best practices that experts recommend to handle security incidents.

  • Effectively secure networks, systems, and applications.
  • Always be prepared to handle any incident, and most importantly focus on handling the most common attack vectors.
  • Stress on improvising the incident detection and analysis thoroughly.
  • Create security guidelines for prioritizing incidents based on the functional and informational impact of the incident.
  • Learn from past mistakes and review the effectiveness of the incident-handling process.


Q- What is the importance of communication during a security incident?

To notify workers, customers, and partners about the incident, its effects, and the corrective actions being implemented, effective Communication is essential. Having transparency can increase confidence.

Q- What should individuals do if they suspect they have been a victim of a security incident?

Individuals should alert the IT or security department of their company right away if they suspect any atypical behavior. Additionally, they should follow any directions given by the organization and reset their passwords.

Q- How can organizations prevent security incidents?

Strong access restrictions, employee education, routine software patching, network monitoring, and threat intelligence are just a few of the steps that go into prevention. It’s critical to have a proactive cybersecurity plan.

Note: If you need any cybersecurity services to handle security incidents, contact our experts.