Cyber resilience is the ability of an organization to keep its network, systems, applications, and data online regardless of cyberattacks and threats.
Despite the availability of good security tools, hackers and cybercriminals are finding ways to exploit some vulnerabilities. Consequently, they can still conduct successful cyber-attacks on protected systems. Organizations should, therefore, be prepared to recover from such attacks while ensuring minimal damage.
While a cyber security solution protects digital assets from attacks, cyber resilience limits the damage, downtimes, service disruptions, and financial losses cyberattack would cause.
Additionally, it provides an opportunity to perform a post-attack analysis which enables the organization to optimize its security and disaster recovery strategies.
What Is Cyber Resilience?
Cyber resilience is the ability of an organization to plan, prepare, detect, withstand, and recover from a cyber-attack, compromises, and other security incidents. It limits the impact of a cyber-attack, thus minimizing the damage and associated losses.
The objective of a cyber resilience program is to ensure business continuity despite the security challenges that keep evolving every day. A good strategy helps reduce an attack’s impact, ensuring continued business operations.
With ever-evolving cyber threats, there is always a risk of an attack, even when you have deployed the strongest security solutions. This increases the risk of unexpected events that can disrupt normal business operations. For this reason, organizations should put in place measures that protect digital assets while ensuring quick recovery in case of an attack.
A typical cyber resilience program involves preparing, detecting, and responding to attacks and eventually recovering from them as quickly as possible. An organization that is cyber-resilient is better at ensuring business continuity during and after a cyberattack.
Building a Cyber Resilience Strategy
Some practices that help to build cyber resilience include:
Deploying an effective security system to protect all the network, systems, users, and data.
Establishing and implementing effective and reliable business continuity and disaster recovery plan (BCDR).
Perform regular backups to ensure that the company has the latest data and can restore it in case of a breach or compromise. However, it is important to have the backup system on a different and secure network of its own.
Reviewing preparedness by performing regular tests, simulations, and analyses. Conducting simulation tests allows the organization to evaluate its preparedness and ability to handle a cyber-attack. It allows teams to identify and address any gaps.
Establish a public relations strategy to provide prompt communication to customers and other stakeholders in case of an attack and recovery. This should assure them of continued services and hence maintain the trust and reputation.
A post-attack analysis provides an opportunity to identify and address weaknesses in the security systems and preparedness hence protecting the systems against existing and future threats.
Next, we will discuss how cyber resilience works.
How Cyber Resilience Works
Cyber resilience combines several technologies, measures, and practices that provide multiple layers of defense and disaster recovery. It includes security, detection, data backup, and disaster recovery solutions.
Consequently, this helps to block cyber threats, protect the devices and data, backup data and quickly restore services and data in case of an attack.
Unlike cybersecurity which is mainly the responsibility of the IT teams, cyber resilience involves everyone in the organization. The IT teams must work with the executive and everyone else across the organization.
Organizations can take the following steps to improve their cyber resilience.
#1. Enhance Overall Security
Improve the security practices and measures to prevent attackers from gaining access or penetrating their network and systems.
Some of the measures include using reliable security software and tools such as firewalls, a strong password policy, creating security awareness across the organization, using multifactor authentication, and more.
#2. Detect Attacks and Breaches
Organizations should implement a reliable solution to quickly detect and stop attacks to minimize the impact and damage. A typical solution should be able to continuously monitor the network and computer systems for suspicious activities.
Also, the organization should empower their employees to observe secure usage of the systems and also be able to identify signs of compromises, breaches, and other attacks.
#3. Respond to Incidents
The IT teams must have a plan and tools to respond to any detected attack. The plan should specify the teams and people responsible for resolving such issues and the steps they should take to respond to the attack. Doing so reduces the impact of the attack.
#4. Recover From the Security Incidence
Businesses should quickly recover or restore their systems back to operations after addressing an attack. One strategy is to have regular backups and a reliable disaster recovery plan.
Even when the systems are affected, you should be in a position to restore the systems and data from the backup quickly.
Why Is Cyber Resilience Important for Your Business?
Even with very strong security, there are still emerging external and internal risks that could result in successful attacks.
In practice, it is impossible to stop all attacks completely. That said, you need to develop a strategy, prepare, respond, and recover from a cyber-attack in case it happens.
Towards this, organizations combine cyber security and cyber resilience to remain competitive and ensure business continuity in the event of a cyber-attack.
Cyber resilience ensures business continuity even in the event of a security incident. A business that is well prepared can quickly recover and continue with its operations with little or no downtime and interruption.
Besides improving the security posture, resilience provides a wide range of benefits to the organization, customers, or users. Below are the other reasons why cyber resilience is important for your business.
Preventing financial losses due to downtimes and lack of confidence by investors, customers, and shareholders.
Ensures business continuity and minimal disruptions to operations in the event of a security incident.
Good reputation and trust by customers and other stakeholders
Gains competitive advantage over other businesses that are not resilient.
Next, we will explore the difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience.
Cybersecurity Vs. Cyber Resilience
Cybersecurity focuses on protecting digital assets against cyberattacks such as malware, ransomware, data breaches, malicious software, data theft, and more.
On the other hand, cyber resilience is the ability of an organization to prevent damages and losses while ensuring the quick and efficient resumption of services in the event of a cyberattack.
While cybersecurity limits the threats, cyber resilience limits the damage and associated losses following an attack.
Applying both solutions means that, besides preventing and defending digital assets against attacks, organizations can quickly and reliably respond and recover from them.
Components of a Cyber Resilience Program
The following are the major components of a cyber resilience program.
Protection is the first stage of a cyber resilience strategy. The process involves deploying reliable security tools and practices that prevent cyber-attacks, unauthorized access, and system failures. The process helps to protect the users, networks, systems, devices, and processes.
Protection relies on relevant technologies, people, processes, and practices. These focus on asset management, security policies, access control, encryption, and protection.
Other areas include updates and patch management systems, environmental and physical security, training and staff awareness programs, and more.
The second step is to continuously monitor the entire infrastructure to detect and act on suspicious activities, attacks, unauthorized access, and other threats that could compromise the systems.
In practice, the level and scope of monitoring depend on the size and type of the infrastructure as well as compliance requirements.
While automated monitoring provides useful insights, it is advisable to also do some manual audits of the logs. This allows teams to identify unusual activities the automated tools could have missed.
The organization must be prepared to quickly resume normal services in the event of an attack. This requires an efficient incident response strategy in conjunction with business continuity practices that ensure minimum damage and disruption of services.
Ideally, the business should be able to quickly stop the attack and restore affected systems, applications, and data.
The purpose of the recovery stage is to quickly restore clean versions of the systems, applications, and data affected or compromised by the breach.
The last stage for the senior management to oversee that the cyber resilience is properly deployed. They should support the program while ensuring that it aligns with the organization’s business objectives.
The assurance involves the commitment and involvement of the senior management up to the board level, establishing a governance structure, and obtaining external validation.
Additionally, it is important to perform internal audits and continue improving the processes to address existing and emerging threats.
Benefits of Cyber Resilience
Cyber resilience enables an organization to recover from cyber incidents and continue operations with little interruption. Benefits include:
Quick recovery time hence increased productivity and efficiency since there are fewer downtimes and service disruptions.
Improved protection against cyber threats and attacks. As the company builds its cyber resilience strategy, it also strengthens its cyber security tools and practices – making it difficult to attack in the future.
Complying with legal and industry regulatory requirements.
Reducing financial losses.
Protect the organization’s reputation and improve customer confidence.
Improve overall security posture and disaster recovery practices.
Now, let’s explore some of the best learning resources for cyber resilience.
A cyber resilience program may differ from one organization to the other. And there are great resources that can help you on the journey. If you are in the process of developing or improving your cyber resilience strategy, here are some resources.
#1. Digital Resilience: Is Your Company Ready for the Next Cyber Threat?
Today, the question is not if your organization will be attacked but when. As a manager, is your organization prepared for the inevitable? Do you monitor your networks to detect and contain cyber-attacks and continue service delivery during and after attacks? Do you have a recovery plan?
Unfortunately, only a few organizations are prepared to handle cyber-attacks while ensuring minimum damage and service disruption. The Digital Resilience book guides you on how to build an effective cyber resilience strategy.
The Cyber Resilience book talks about developing the cyber resilience management concept of industry 4.0 cyber systems, corporate cyber risk management methods, and technical implementation of the business sustainability programs
#3. Cyber Resilience A Complete Guide – 2020 Edition
The guide helps you to perform a cyber resilience self-assessment to determine if your strategy aligns well with your business goals. It empowers you to improve and optimize the process of addressing problems, reduce costs, and customize the cyber resilience strategy.