Why You Need Cyber Resilience & Cybersecurity Strategy In Your Business
You will and most probably have heard the terms cyber resilience and cybersecurity used interchangeably.
However, they are not the same thing, although they are related.
Cybercrime has gone a notch higher than it was a decade ago, and cybercriminals can now use more advanced technology to steal your company data.
Difference between cyber resilience and cybersecurity
Cyber resilience refers to your company’s ability to prepare, respond and recover from a cyber-attack or data breach if and when it occurs. At the same time, the company’s operations need to keep running smoothly after the fact.
When your business is cyber resilient, you can defend yourself against cyber risks, have proper cybersecurity risk management in place, and still guarantee business continuity during and after the cyber incidents.
Cyber resilience allows you to mitigate any damage to your data, systems, or networks once compromised. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, includes technologies, measures and processes that protect networks, data and systems from malicious actors.
Cybersecurity reduces cyber-attack risks and works towards protecting individuals, organizations and entities from unauthorized access to their networks, technologies and systems.
A cybersecurity solution must be practical and not compromise the running of the systems. This should entail a cybersecurity strategy that must have a dynamic continuity business plan for the resumption of business operations if a successful cyberattack occurs.
Cyber Risks faced by companies
Some of the most prevalent cyber risks companies face include:
Phishing is a social engineering attack that attempts to trick you into divulging sensitive details. Phishing mostly comes in the form of an email link or attachment.
The email primarily targets the recipient’s emotions by making the email sound urgent. The email might purportedly come from a company’s top management, like the CEO to the CFO, asking the CFO to release some money. The CFO is requested to click on a link or download an attachment.
The link leads to a false website that looks like the authentic one and prompts the victim to enter sensitive details. Hackers steal these details and use them to steal data and finances from the company account. This form of attack targets people and is very difficult to contain.
This is a threat that faces all businesses and is a blanket term for malicious software such as trojans and viruses.
Malware is a unique code that hackers create to steal and destroy data or gain access to business systems and networks. It infects your networks when employees download malicious files from spam emails, websites or connect their PCs to infected devices or networks.
Malware is another threat facing most business organizations and includes various cyber threats such as viruses and trojans. It is a general term for malicious code hackers create to destroy and steal data or gain unauthorized access to networks.
Ransomware is among the most prevalent forms of cyber-risks faced by businesses each year. Ransomware attacks make your data inaccessible by encryption. The hackers ask for a ransom for them to release a decryption code.
Ransomware attacks put you in a dilemma. If you pay the ransom, you have no guarantee the hackers will release the key. If you do not pay, they might destroy your data or leak it to the public.
Essential elements in a robust cyber resilience program
A strong cyber-resilience program should encompass the following elements:
An excellent cyber resilience strategy should protect your data, systems and applications. How?
- Put in place measures that ensure only authorized personnel can access the system.
- Ensure the strategy can track the personnel once in the system by robust identity access management.
- You also need to ensure you can detect any vulnerabilities in your applications that cybercriminals can exploit.
- Your data’s privacy, such as customer and employee information or your company’s IP (intellectual property) must be protected using the highest security levels. This stage covers cyber protection using protection tools.
Such tools involve using basic security software like firewalls, and more advanced protection like endpoint detection and response (EDR) and other solutions like tools like a VPN service. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your data via AES-256-bit, a military-grade encryption standard that protects your data and system from breaches.
An effective cyber resiliency program detects when someone attempts to attack your system. This is a challenging task because malicious actors have become more sophisticated and covertly attack your systems.
These advanced cyber-threats are not always from outside but may stem from inside your organization. The average breach detection and containment delay are 280 days, within which a malicious actor can steal, destroy data or your systems without detection.
To detect these security risks, organizations need to understand the data they hold and where it is stored. Mapping the data allows the organization to understand the hierarchy in importance and to deal with it accordingly.
It’s essential for security teams to know each individual’s user behaviour. When they understand each person in their organization and everyday actions and routines on the system, they can quickly identify any abnormal patterns.
An essential cyber resilience component is adaptability and evolution of your security to stay a step ahead of any threats. Hackers keep finding new ways to exploit a vulnerability. They know that what was broken yesterday will be fixed today, and they are always looking for loopholes.
A cyber resilient company anticipates these new attack angles via threat modelling and strives to defend the threats before they turn into a vulnerability. To evolve requires your organization to have the ability to deploy and integrate new and existing services on the cloud and the premises.
This stage requires security and network solutions that can automatically adapt to any new or evolved threats. The intelligence from these tools integrated into a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) within your organization’s Security Operations Center helps you understand the threats your company faces. It also enables you to make an accurate prediction of any future attacks.
4. Response and recovery
When you implement an incident response management program or measures that ensure business continuity, there’s an assurance of operational continuity after an attack.
You will make your employees more productive and also go back to your usual business routines as fast and as efficiently as possible.
This stage involves data backup and recovery via tools that allow you to make a granular and automated data recovery to a separate network, drive or cloud to enable you to restore data that has been seized, stolen or wiped.
5. Governance and assurance
Governance and assurance ensure the top of the organization oversees the program and integrates it into the business.
Over time, the program should become aligned with your long-term business goals.
The tool to use at this stage is a risk management strategy. This is done by identifying, assessing and controlling the organization’s threats to the stored data.
The risks could be anything from accidents, natural disasters, financial mismanagement or uncertainty, etc.
Risk management comprises five steps:
- Risk identification, risk analysis, risk evaluation or ranking, risk resolution, risk monitoring and review.
International standards certification or firm cybersecurity frameworks provide external validation to your cyber resilience and security.
It also assures your stakeholders, and in some instances, third parties might need verification or audits on compliance.
How to build an effective Cyber resilience program
Your organization can build an effective cyber resilience program by:
● Identifying all sensitive data
Identify all sensitive data such as customer and employee data, intellectual property and financial records. You must protect any data in your possession, and the first step is to identify the data.
● Defining the data storage
Determine the data’s storage location. You might need to protect all the devices within the company premises. Identify where to store information and set up controls that surround its storage and transmission. This ensures only authorized people can access it.
● Training your staff
Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. If the staff do not understand their role in data protection, they can quickly put the whole organization at risk. The team needs to be trained to identify and report any phishing attempts and familiarize themselves with password management.
● Using web filters and web monitoring programs
To avoid staff from visiting potentially malware-infected sites, use web filters and web monitoring programs to block such sites.
● Engaging a Trusted Third Party
Due to the limitations in finding skilled staff, cybersecurity is a challenge for most companies. You can engage a third party who has the resources for performing risk assessments and penetration tests for your organization. These tests are essential for getting a raw review of your company’s cybersecurity program and its effectiveness. You can use a third party to also install the web filters and monitoring programs.
As cybercriminals are becoming more proactive, it pays to prepare before disaster strikes. Some companies make the mistake of waiting until it’s too late.
When an attack happens, and you are not ready, it becomes more expensive to run disaster management. So, prepare for the worst, even if it never happens.