cyber resilience

Today, more and more devices are interconnected, remote work is on the rise and the risk of data breaches is higher than ever. According to ASCS, during the COVID-19 pandemic Australia has seen a 15 percent increase in ransomware attacks. When businesses don’t consider themselves at risk of a cyberattack, that’s when they are the easiest and most vulnerable targets.

Cybercriminals don’t discriminate: whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, inadequate protection means hackers have easy access to the sensitive information you store. And a data breach event cost starts at over $2 million for small businesses, with large enterprises paying more than double. 

This is where cyber resilience comes into play. And to be cyber resilient is different from cyber security, even though the two are often used interchangeably.

What is the difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience?

Most businesses have a firewall, antivirus and malware. Some are even following security frameworks such as ACSC Essential 8 and NIST. But when it comes to cyber attacks, your organisation should lead with “when.”

Cyber security is the defence against cybercrime (the before). Cyber resilience is defined as allowing business continuity even under attack and recovering quickly (the after). 

In a nutshell, cyber resiliency achieves:

Fostering a better security culture is not enough. We need more resilience.

How does cyber resilience work and why is it important?

Cyber resilience works by protecting, detecting and recovering from a cyber attack. These are the building blocks of cyber resilience – as proposed by NIST and TCG. 

It’s essential for organisations to be cyber resilient because a great plan ensures business continuity during the attack and swift recovery from such an event. 

And no matter how safe you think you are, no sector is safe from cybersecurity breaches. All over the world, no industry has been left untouched by cybercriminals. Financial market infrastructures, electricity ecosystem, healthcare and supply chains have all been affected and need to work on integrating a cyber resilience strategy.

Cyber resilience best practice starts with reviewing the gaps in your security (attack surfaces) that can be most exploited by hackers. This is done to reduce the attack surface and therefore its damage. 

So what are the four key characteristics of any cyber risk and resilience approach?

Achieving cyber resilience takes constant planning and assessment. These are the key characteristics of an effective approach:

  1. Manage and protect. Make sure your security systems are running at top form. This is where you assess your cyber security.
  2. Identify and detect. Reduce the attack surface and conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify the most important assets of your business. 
  3. Respond and recover. Have a business continuity planning (BCP) into effect. 
  4. Govern and assure. Ensure that cyber resilience is validated from the top of the organisation with a comprehensive risk management programme that is overseen by all senior staff and board members. 

What are the 7 steps to cyber resilience?

As you’ve seen by now, cyber resilience is critical to your organisation and you need a solid foundation and response to manage it proactively. A comprehensive cyber resilience framework was developed by Cisco and incorporates effective techniques that will improve your resiliency. 

The 7 steps are: 

  1. System hygiene. Daily maintenance of your network and systems. System hygiene best practices include installing multi-factor authentication (MFA), updating software or performing daily backups. 
  2. Develop a plan. Have an incident response plan mapped out for the likelihood of an attack. Create scenarios of potential attacks and a plan to respond accordingly. 
  3. Map out a risk profile. Conduct a risk vulnerability assessment where you identify the threats, how vulnerable your systems are and how high the damage (reputational or financial) is in the event of a breach. 
  4. Assess and measure. This is where you identify the key assets of your business and the top risks that can affect them.
  5. Migrate risk. After identifying the assets most at risk, work on minimising these and decide what should be prioritised in case of an attack.
  6. Cyber insurance. Being cyber resilient is being prepared for everything, and no matter how many security and mitigating measures you have in place, attacks can still happen. This is where having cyber insurance will help you minimise the costs and damage to your organisation even further. 
  7. Get started. The strategy will be different and unique for each organisation, but the most important thing is to get started with the 7 steps of cyber resilience. 

Boosting cyber safety resilience 

To boost your cyber safety resilience your business needs to always take into account potential human errors or compromised credentials and use the zero-trust approach: “never trust, always verify.” You need to ask yourself whether you are maintaining a culture of trust and, if the answer is yes, change your approach. Measuring trust is a must. 

According to a 2021 report by IBM, companies with zero-trust strategies reduced the cost of data breaches by $1.7 million USD. Furthermore, organisations with cloud managed services contained data breaches roughly 77 days faster than those without. 

Ensuring business continuity 

Cyber resilience ultimately ensures business continuity in the direst of times, thus reducing the damage and the cost to your enterprise. 

Every organisation has its unique risks, and cybersecurity services will be different for each.  There is no one-size-fits-all, but generally large businesses have more data to store and collect, and their IT infrastructure is generally more complex. That requires extra IT security and a more thorough cyber resilience plan. 

Reaching a high maturity level takes time and a gradual process is the best way to build your cyber resilience roadmap.  

If you’re wondering what cyber security frameworks and cyber resilience tools your organisation has in place or what your maturity level is, we can help. Contact us today.