How to Build the Ultimate Enterprise-Ready Incident Response Playbook

Adam Goss
13 min readAug 14, 2023

Your organization’s incident response playbook can be the difference between defending against a cyber attack and becoming a victim.

An incident response playbook is a step-by-step guide on how your organization should

respond to and manage cybersecurity incidents. It provides your security team with instructions to follow when they encounter a potential cyber attack and are a proactive approach to minimizing the impact of an attack.

All organizations with a mature cybersecurity program extensively use incident response playbooks to ready their team, quickly resolve incidents, and effectively defend against attacks.

This article will detail the key components of these playbooks, teach you how to create your own, and advise you on the best implementation practices. Let’s get started on your journey to building enterprise-ready incident response playbooks!

Key Components of an Incident Response Playbook

Incident response playbooks contain several key components you must address if yours will be effective. You can ensure you cover them all by following the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Incident Response Lifecycle. This model maps the lifecycle of a cyber incident and provides guidance on how to respond at each phase.


Phase 1 — Preparation

This first phase of the lifecycle lays the foundation for an effective incident response capability within an organization. It involves setting up vital resources and tools, creating policies, defining key roles and responsibilities, and establishing communication channels. There are several key playbook components you must create to cover this phase of an incident.

Incident Categorization and Severity Levels

You need to define clear criteria for how an incident should be categorized and prioritized by your cyber security team. Common categorizations include Ransomware, Potential Unwanted Program (PUP), Malware…



Adam Goss

Helping demystify cyber threat intelligence for businesses and individuals | CTI | Threat Hunting | Custom Tooling