It’s hard to imagine life without information technology in this digital age. From business experiences such as selling and buying shares to personal encounters like posting details and photos on social media, information is disseminated incessantly around the cyberspace. It has given the society the chance to become more connected and economies more prosperous. However, just as every system comes with risks, the security of cyberspace information is crucial to every enterprise or organization.
Risks like cybersecurity breach or cyberattacks can cause companies severe damages. These attacks may attempt to destroy, expose, or obtain unauthorized access to computer networks, personal computer devices, infrastructures, or computer information systems.
According to a study conducted by the University of Portsmouth, 43% of businesses and 19% of charities represented in the study experienced cyberattacks in 2018. In the UK, more than 2 million businesses or local firms became victims of different forms of cybercrimes and caused damage to £29.1 billion.
This alarming rate of cyberattacks is the reason why companies should be equipped to manage such risks. Moreover, these attacks could have been dealt with if those businesses have better cyber resilience.
What is Cyber Resilience?
Cyber resilience is the ability of an organization to prepare, respond, and recover when cyberattacks happen. An organization has cyber resilience if it can defend itself against these attacks, limit the effects of a security incident, and guarantee the continuity of its operation during and after the attacks.
Organizations today are beginning to complement their cybersecurity strategies with cyber resilience. While cybersecurity’s main aim is to protect information technology and systems, cyber resilience focuses more on making sure the business is delivered. Its intended outcome is business delivery, keeping business goals intact rather than the IT systems.
According to the Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-210): Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience, a US directive signed by former President Barack Obama in 2013, the word resilience means “the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.”
The word ‘recovery’ is not synonymous with resilience because to recover is to return to a healthy state. Instead, resilience is limiting the severity of the security breach, keeping the operation continuous despite the threat, and continuously plan out strategies to protect the security system once cyber-criminals attack.
These are the common cyber resilience threats:
- Cybercrime. An organized crime that involves stealing money or acquiring the means to steal money.
- Cyber ‘hacktivism.‘ These are done by activists and hackers generally motivated by a belief or cause to achieve an outcome — for example, revenge.
- Cyber espionage. This is motivated to gain an economic advantage in diplomacy, trade, or warfare.
- Business continuity management. Human error, accidental consequences such as operator’s fault.
Components of Cyber Resilience
Cyber resilience aims to secure the whole organization dynamically. It should be a preventive measure to defend against all insecure parts in the infrastructure. Cyber resilience has four components. These components are as follows:
- Threat Protection. The more technology advances, the more evolved the cybercriminals become. Necessary security measures will not aid in protecting an organization. The organization should plan out steps to defend itself against all sorts of threats. An example of a better solution is to use endpoint detection and response (EDS), a booming technology that addresses the need to monitor and respond to advanced threats continually.
- Recoverability. After the event of a data breach, recoverability is when an organization is back to regular operation. An organization should have full data backups on a different network. This can be utilized after an incident when any or all data are wiped. It is also recommended to run a simulation, like a fire drill, of the cyberattack. If an organization already has a planned strategy for when a data breach occurs, all the members of the organization must participate in a step-by-step simulation. This will strengthen the organization’s cyber resilience.
- Adaptability. It is of utmost importance that an entire organization can evolve and adapt to new tactics of cybercriminals and attackers. They are ever-evolving, and adaptability will help an organization in the event of a threat. It is also recommended for an organization to build a security team that can quickly recognize a security threat in real-time and immediately takes action.
- Durability. An organization’s durability will be measured by its capability to effectively operate regular and routine business again after a security breach. With system improvements, regular reports, and updates, the durability of an organization’s cyber resilience will improve.
Why is Cyber Resilience Important?
Traditional security measures are not enough; that’s why, over the past years, cyber resilience has developed. It is now reasonable to assume that attackers will eventually gain access to different computer systems and that organizations should begin preparing to work on strategies to withstand these cybercrimes.
Why is cyber resilience important? It is essential because it has numerous benefits to an organization before, during, and after cyberattacks. These benefits are as follows:
- Enhancing system security. Cyber resilience does not only help an organization respond to an attack and survive it quickly. By incorporating a cyber resilience program, an organization can develop and design strategies that can be delivered around its existing IT infrastructure. It also helps boost safety and security across the system and decreases the possibility of cyberattacks.
- Reducing financial losses. Regardless of how good the IT security of an organization, the fact is that no entity is immune to cyberattacks. For small to medium enterprises, the financial damage of data breach is over a hundred thousand, according to reports. For big organizations, it is over a million. Additionally, if a security attack is successful, it will also cause damage to the organization’s reputation in the field. It may also increase the financial damage. If an organization has cyber resilience, the effect of the attack will be lessened, and so is the financial losses.
- Getting regulatory and legal requirements. Meeting legal requirements is also a valuable benefit in integrating cyber resilience in an organization. Compliance with legal regulations will aid the organization’s security system such as the Network and Information Systems (NIS) directive which requires every organization “to take appropriate security measures and to notify serious incidents to the relevant national authority.” There is also the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that promises to protect data privacy and restructure the way organizations approach data privacy.
- Enhancing work culture and internal process. The goal of every employee of any organization must be the security of data and other IT infrastructures. When people are inspired to take security seriously in their organization, sensitive information and physical assets are more likely in good hands. The organization should reinforce the right security behavior within each department and reduce human errors that expose sensitive data.
- Protecting an organization’s reputation. If an organization doesn’t have cyber resilience, the damage done by cybercriminals is challenging to control. Cyber resilience prevents an organization from public scrutiny, fines from regulators, and an abrupt reduction in sales, or worse, loss of business.
- Maintaining the trust of suppliers and customers. It is essential to have cyber resilience to maintain trust from suppliers and the public that an organization took many years to build. If an organization has an ineffective approach to cyber resilience, it can potentially experience severe damages, including restitution to suppliers and customers whose confidentiality has been breached.
- Improving the organization’s IT team. One of the benefits of cyber resilience is that it improves the operations of the IT department daily. An organization with cyber resilience develops a hands-on IT team that is visible across the whole work environment. IT professionals steadily advance and take action as cybercriminals become more evolved.
Cyber Resilience Relies on People, Process and Technology
With the right balance of people, process, and technology, your organization achieves sufficient cyber resilience. Some mistakes make these complementary factors imbalance such as being over-reliant on technology and disregarding the critical contribution of well-informed people and well-designed processes.
Most threats will involve ill-informed people at some point, which can pose vulnerability and weaknesses through their actions. To reduce this incident, an organization can provide awareness and tailored training. Vigilance on people’s end should also be encouraged to deliver further cyber resilience. These should be a consideration for any individual involved in the organization. These people may be suppliers, employees, clients, or members of the public. The people who lead the organization should require some program for educating these people and raise awareness of things associated with cyber resilience.
The processes of an organization depend on the nature of the field or workplace. Organizational culture should be taken into account when designing and implementing processes to deliver cyber resilience. A well-designed process adjusts to the balance between reducing risks and reducing convenience.
Many organizations will think that the IT team is solely responsible for the technology strategies to achieve cyber resilience, but that is not the case. This extends to clients’ and suppliers’ equipment, employees’ and the general public’s own devices where they share data. The inclusion of technology in cyber resilience is rapidly widening because of the influx of consumer devices now connected to the internet.
Improving Approach to Cyber Resilience
Some organizations have already cyber resilience strategies in hand, but some are not as effective as those of others because this term is new to them and is frequently misunderstood. There are ways to improve an organization’s cyber resilience strategy or program.
One way is identifying the risks. An organization should conduct risk assessments to detect organizational threats and attacks. This covers everything with regard to cybersecurity. The best solution to do these assessments is to set up communication in the whole organization. All members in every department of an organization should have a comprehensive and shared understanding of the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of their workplace and its security system.
Another way is managing the risks. This step is about prioritizing threats. An organization should answer these questions to decide what scenario should be prioritized: What is the probability of each risk occurring? How much impact will it have? In this case, impact means the financial loss a data breach will cause.
Managing costs is another way to improve your organization’s cyber resilience. You can invest in staff awareness training because it decreases the probability of risks that occur. Alternatively, you may realize that it is cheaper to get a cyber resilience insurance policy. It’s a helpful strategy to deal with potential risks that would gain you access to emergency systems.
Why is cyber resilience important? It is essential because it is an organization-wide strategy that actively monitors and responds to risks, threats and vulnerabilities. It is a collaborative approach, including everyone in the organization and extending to customers, suppliers, and partners that have a clear understanding of the critical assets associated with information. To achieve a sufficient level of cyber resilience for an organization, the first and last step is to understand the information it holds and prioritize what needs to be protected.
Cyber risks and threats should be viewed as the same as any other setbacks in the organization. All these risks are inevitable and can come sooner or later. However, put in mind that they are preventable and manageable with the right cyber resilience strategy. Organizations encounter fire or natural disasters, and they have safety measures against these traditional threats. Because of the proliferation of cyber hazards, it is crucial for organizations to build a similar strategy to defend itself against cyber attackers. Contact RSI Security to get started.