Cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses across all sectors today. There is a consistent rise in the type and number of attacks perpetrated against companies and organizations. State and local governments have also not been spared in the widespread attacks. Cyber threats may cause unprecedented challenges for businesses and organizations and may include ransomware, phishing, hacking, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Cyber-attacks have caused personal data loss, long-standing service disruptions, and reputational damage for companies occasioning huge losses and significant fines from regulators.
Cyber-attacks are happening more frequently, and their severity has increased considerably. While the large companies can withstand the devastation of an attack, smaller businesses can suffer destruction – never to recover. What must companies do to prevent the attacks and get ready to deal with an attack when it happens? All companies – large and small – must invest in cybersecurity and cyber resilience in the face of sophisticated cyber threats.
Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience
Cybersecurity refers to the ability of a company to safeguard its systems and prevent increasing cyber threats. Cyber resilience is about a company’s ability to mitigate damage to its processes, procedures, and reputation and resume operations after its data or systems have been breached. Building cyber resilience will call for adversarial threats (by hackers and other malicious actors) and non-adversarial threats caused by human error.
The difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience is not highly pronounced. However, resilience is about accepting that all cybersecurity solutions may not be perfect and protect against all possible cyber threats. It explains why a company requires both cybersecurity and cyber resilience.
Businesses design a cybersecurity strategy to minimize the risk of attacks getting through to their networks. On the other hand, a cyber-resilience approach will help to reduce the impact of a cyber-attack.
Cybersecurity strategies will include steps such as:
- Ensuring all devices are running on the latest firmware.
- Running up-to-date antivirus/malware software, VPNs, and firewalls.
- Providing all software and tools are fixed with the latest patches
- All business employees are educated on potential cyber threats and how their actions may help defend their organization.
Cyber resilience strategies are not as clear cut and will vary from organization to organization. The rule of thumb is to identify where cyber events and incidents may have a damaging impact on the business, especially where the most sensitive and valuable data is stored and used. It will helpfully understand how core functions may be affected by an attack and the continuity of service disrupted. Your resilience strategy should focus on creating measures to mitigate damage in the event an attack occurs. Create backups for all your data and preferably have an offline backup and create offline emergency processes to help keep essential functions running as an attack is resolved.
Cyber resilience is significantly helped by having an excellent cyber incident response plan. The plan will clarify the following:
- What must be done once a breach or attack occurs
- Who is the responsible person to take the outlined steps
- How to communicate to stakeholders
- How to report attacks to regulators (may be a legal requirement)
- How to assess and report the success or otherwise of resilience measures
- How core functions are to be restored quickly.
- How to recover lost data
A reliable cyber incident response plan will help a business create a response team with representatives from every department. The response team will be responsible for notifying an attack or breach and subsequently coordinating a fast response to stop the attack.
Finally, both cybersecurity and resilience require investments in education, time, and resources from an organization. These investments in protecting an organization against cyber threats are repaid in due course when the organization repels or recovers from a cyber-attack.