Why is cyber incident reporting important?

Brendon Baxter

Sep 13, 2023

6 min read

Over the past few years, especially with the rise of remote work and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for work, cybersecurity has gained more popularity than ever. And the importance of having a proper cybersecurity infrastructure for your organization can’t be stressed enough. With cyber attackers finding newer ways to penetrate into systems, all you can do is assess your cybersecurity flaws and take measures to fortify those vulnerabilities.

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Even with solid cybersecurity strategies in place, companies are reporting cyber-attacks. As painful as it may be, the effects of a cyber-attack can be minimized if you have a proper incident response strategy in place. And what is the first step in any cyber incident response strategy? Cyber Incident Reporting! Assessing and making a report of what happened is always the first thing to do if you encounter a cyber-attack.

In this blog, we will see what cyber incident reporting is, why is it necessary, what should you include in a cyber incident report, and much more. So, why wait? Let’s go through the questions one at a time.

What is cyber incident reporting?

As I mentioned earlier, cyber incident reporting is the first thing an organization has to do when it has encountered a cyber-attack or a cyber incident. Cyber incident reporting refers to the process where organizations hit with a cyber-attack, report all involved parties about the incident, and give them a detailed report on what the implications of the incident are.

Hacker trying to break into unsecure networks and devices
Hacker trying to break into unsecured networks and devices

The parties involved usually include customers, employees, business partners, stakeholders, and government or regulatory bodies in charge. The report normally includes details of the incident like the time when the incident happened, the nature of the incident, affected parties, and much more. We shall see more of these in a section to come.

The importance of cyber incident reporting

Cyber incident reporting serves a more profound purpose than merely alerting stakeholders of cyber-attacks. It plays a vital role in enabling organizations to measure the extent of a cyber-attack’s impact and in implementing necessary measures for a swift return to normal operations. These reasons make cyber incident reporting a cornerstone in any effective cyber incident response strategy.

A commonly asked question when it comes to reporting cyber incidents in the event of an attack revolves around when to report. It is recommended to report promptly, preferably within 72 hours of the incident. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the 72-hour timeframe is not obligatory, as various industries and countries may have varying reporting deadlines.

Cyber incident reporting aids organizations in maintaining compliance with regulatory frameworks such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. By adhering to these standards and policies, organizations can uphold their reputation and credibility, even in the aftermath of a cyber-attack.

Furthermore, cyber incident reports equip organizations with the foresight needed to prepare for potential future cyber threats. Through proper analysis and documentation of an incident, organizations can implement measures to fortify their digital defenses, ensuring a more robust and secure environment.

One of the primary challenges arising from cyber-attacks is the loss of trust among clients and customers. However, by employing comprehensive cyber incident reporting, organizations can transparently communicate the details of what transpired and provide assurance that similar incidents will be prevented in the future.

A well-structured cyber incident report not only expedites an organization’s incident response strategy but also mitigates the adverse impacts of an attack, reaffirming trust and resilience in the face of cyber threats.

What should you include in a cyber incident report?

Now that we’ve discussed what cyber incident reporting entails and why it’s crucial, let’s explore the specific details that should be incorporated into an incident report. Any information that can help officials and parties involved in taking necessary actions in the case of a cyber-attack can be added to a cyber incident report. Some of the mandatory information to be added to a cyber incident report include:

  • Details of the organization reporting the event (like name, employee count, geographical details, and so on).
  • Name and contact information of the point of contact from the organization.
  • Details about the type of cyber-attack that took place.
  • The date and time of the incident (both starting and ending).
  • Details about the point of attack or the vulnerability that was exploited.
  • Information on how the attack was discovered and all assets impacted by the attack.
  • Details on operations disrupted because of the attack.
  • Response actions taken to date, if any.
  • Information about those who were notified about the incident before the report was created.
  • Demands made by the attackers, if any.

Apart from the details mentioned above, here are a few non-mandatory details that can help organizations as well as parties involved in data recovery and protection:

  • Log files for all systems (including all kinds of work devices).
  • Specifics of the systems and devices affected by the attack.
  • Access logs, both physical and online.
  • If the attack was a DDoS and it extended more than 12 hours, details about the same.
  • Presence and details of any malicious codes in the system.
  • Audit report after scanning of systems and devices.

A UEM’s role in cyber incident reporting

What is a UEM doing here? How can a UEM help with cyber incident reporting? These might be the questions popping up in your head. Well, this is because most people see UEMs as just a management tool. But UEMs are capable of so much more than just management.

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Most modern UEMs out there let IT admins monitor and assess the performance of endpoints in real-time. This helps IT teams identify and report cyber incidents as soon as they appear and also helps initiate the response strategy as soon as possible.

Apart from real-time monitoring, leading UEMs like Hexnode let organizations schedule or create elaborate reports based on details like user information and status, device usage, network usage, application details and so much more. These reports generated by Hexnode can be a huge relief as IT admins don’t have to do these reports manually.


Phew, that was quite a lot to take in, right? Well, it is true that we have to be extremely careful against cyber-attacks, but they are not the end of the world. With proper cyber incident reporting and response strategies in place, you can reduce the effects of cyber-attacks to a minimum. That’s all for today folks. See you on the next blog.


Brendon Baxter

Product Evangelist@Hexnode. Read. Write. Sleep. Repeat.

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