It is not a matter if your organization will encounter a cyber-related incident but when — whether it’s an attack, system failure, natural disaster or plain old human error. In this environment, cyber resilience is the ultimate weapon in your cybersecurity arsenal.
Cyber resilience is all about being prepared for these issues because, let’s face it, they’re not going away anytime soon. In fact, organizations report unplanned downtime of 240 hours per year, on average. Imagine what that loss would cost your team.
But what exactly is cyber resilience? It’s a combination of strategies, processes and technologies that will help you prepare for and respond to any cyber-related incident. By implementing the proper cybersecurity measures and incident response plans, your organization will be more resilient and better equipped to handle any incident that comes your way.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cyber resilience, from risk assessment and management to incident response planning. So, buckle in, and let’s get started!
What is Cyber Resilience?
According to NIST, cyber resilience is the ability to prepare for, respond to, recover from and adapt to “adverse conditions”, like cyberattacks and incidents that compromise a company’s security, availability or integrity of its digital assets. A solid cyber resilience strategy enables organizations to continue operations even in the face of cyber threats.
A cyber-resilient organization does more than try to prevent cyberattacks. Because a cyber resilient understands that attacks are inevitable, it instead takes a comprehensive approach to managing cyber risks. In addition to a robust cybersecurity approach, it develops response plans and backups to aid rapid recovery and business continuity, even in the face of an incident or attack.
Cyber resilience is a key component of enterprise and business resilience. (Just don't confuse that with business continuity planning.) The cyber-resilient approach requires more than just the right technology. It addresses…
- Supply chain security
- Risk management practices
By taking a proactive, holistic approach to cybersecurity, cyber resilience minimizes cyber-attacks' impact on operations and reputation, enabling companies to continue operating effectively and securely.
(See what’s trending in security today.)
Benefits for businesses with cyber resilience strategies
Developing a cyber-resilient organization takes more upfront planning and a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. However, the added investment more than pays off with the benefits it offers:
In our digital world, any time offline could spell trouble for your business. The costs of downtime continue to rise. Uptime Institute’s 2022 Outage Analysis Report found that more than 60% of outages ended up costing businesses more than $100,000. Even worse: 15% cost over $1 million. (Could your organization survive that cost?)
Cyber resilience protects your business from these staggering losses by getting your business up and running again with minimal interruption.
(Learn more about availability management.)
Cyber resilience will have a significant impact on your organization’s reputation. It demonstrates that you take the security of your digital assets seriously. It will help you build trust and credibility with customers and stakeholders as a reliable company willing to take the necessary steps to protect their information.
In the event of a cyber incident, a cyber resilience strategy allows you to minimize the damage and provide services as quickly as possible. A swift and practical approach to incidents will help your company emerge with minimal impact on your reputation.
Cyber resilience takes cybersecurity to the next level and provides a holistic approach to responding to threats. A comprehensive cyber resilience plan includes:
- Risk management
- Robust cybersecurity measures
- Incident response planning
- Continuous monitoring and improvement
- Employee training and awareness
It helps your organization better protect itself and its customers against cyber threats and minimize the impact of cyber incidents.
Companies face evolving data security and compliance regulations that require stricter adherence and levy heavy fines against those who don’t comply. From GDPR and CCPA to HIPAA and GLBA, companies from all industries must increasingly consider regulations when developing their cybersecurity strategies and response.
Cyber resilience is a critical component of compliance with regulations and standards related to cybersecurity and protection. By implementing effective cyber resilience measures, organizations meet requirements and demonstrate a commitment to protecting sensitive information and personal data.
(See how compliance as a service can help.)
Cyber incidents, especially attacks, cost companies dearly. The average data breach cost in 2022 was $9.44 million dollars in the United States. From downtime to damage and loss to resource allocation, companies face a staggering number of expenses. Cyber resilience reduces these costs to help your organization reduce damage and downtime — empowering you to focus on higher-priority cybersecurity risks.
Investing in cyber resilience measures will minimize the financial impact of cyber incidents and allow you to operate more efficiently and securely.
Key components of a cyber resilience strategy
OK so you need cyber resilience. How do you get there? Building a cyber resilience strategy means taking a holistic and proactive response to cyber security. The critical aspects of cyber resilience include:
- Authorized access
- Incident response plan(s)
- Employee training
- Continuous improvement
Let’s take a look.
The first step in building a thorough cyber resilience strategy is knowing what to protect, which means first getting a complete understanding of your assets. Identify all crucial assets important to the organization and its stakeholders, including systems, information and services. It requires finding critical vulnerabilities and the risk of each of them.
Identification is crucial but too often overlooked. Many companies don’t detect breaches quickly because they don’t have a complete picture of the data they hold and where it is.
As bad actors become more sophisticated and find more covert ways to breach environments, incomplete understanding could be detrimental and allow breaches to steal and destroy data, as well as damage systems. In fact, companies have an average delay of 280 days between breach detection and containment.
Comprehensive risk assessments are critical for not only identifying your assets and their vulnerability but will help you prioritize your cybersecurity investments.
Don’t make it easy for bad actors to get through your network’s front door with weak and compromised credentials. For too many companies, an overuse of privileged accounts puts them at risk. From IT administrators to external vendors to select users, you likely have too many people with access to critical information systems that cybercriminals value.
In addition to ensuring your assets are protected, check users' access and limit it to authorized users, processes, and devices. Control who uses your devices and logs onto your network. It is also critical that your security team understands individual user behaviors. You can use this information to flag behaviors that stray from the usual patterns and potentially risk your company.
(Explore which access control model is right for you.)
Incident response plan
Develop and test your incident response plan to ensure your organization can respond quickly and effectively to cyber incidents. Communicate your plan so that everyone at each level understands their roles within it. Your plan should include the following:
- The roles and responsibilities of each incident response team member.
- A summary of critical tools, physical resources and technologies needed to maintain business continuity.
- A list of all the critical data recovery and network processes.
- Internal and external communication plan.
- How to use previous incidents to learn ways to improve your organization’s security posture.
- A thorough plan will enable you to maintain business continuity and minimize any potential damage.
Cyber resilience is not just about technology. Employees play a crucial role in the integrity of your systems and organization. When there is a breach, your employees will be the ones ensuring your organization has an adequate incident response. A vital component of your cyber resilience strategy is empowering them to protect sensitive data and physical assets with enhanced internal processes and a work culture that takes security seriously.
Train employees on cybersecurity best practices and promote a culture of cyber awareness to reduce the risk of cyber incidents caused by human error. Critical training includes:
- Phishing awareness
- Password management
- Mobile device security
- Social engineering
- Incident reporting
- Remote work security
Comprehensive training will give employees a better understanding of the risks and appropriate actions to protect your organization’s digital assets. It promotes a culture of cyber awareness and will help you strengthen your cyber resilience posture.
Bad actors and hackers always find new and unique ways to exploit vulnerabilities. You need to be just as vigilant to adapt and improve your security to avoid threats. Cyber resilience requires you to anticipate new attacks through methods such as threat modeling and strengthen your defenses before they are vulnerable.
A proactive stance means that you need to deploy and integrate your existing and new services quickly. You need to be able to access industry intellectual property and best practices, preferably built into the security products and tools. An adaptive cyber resilience stance also requires machine learning and correlating data with mathematical models so you can anticipate and make data-driven decisions.
(Read about offensive & defensive cybersecurity tactics.)
Cyber resilience: next level cybersecurity
With attackers vigilantly looking for ways to exploit systems, companies need to move their security stance from response to anticipation. Cyber resilience anticipates cyber incidents and takes a proactive stance in planning and training to ensure business continuity.
Remember, cyber resilience is not a one-time project but a continuous effort that requires ongoing attention and investment. However, the investment will allow you to protect your digital assets better and maintain your reputation, trust and credibility with stakeholders.
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