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Building a Strong Cyber Resilience Strategy on Top of Cybersecurity

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Reports of massive data breaches are hitting the headlines with increasing frequency. The rising number of large-scale, well-publicized data breaches suggests that cyberattacks are growing in number and severity. These attacks have the potential to cause huge problems for organizations. Personal data loss attracts massive fines from regulators, not to mention the disruption of operations and subsequent reputational damage.

While large corporations may pay enormous fines and cope with the aftermath, smaller organizations may never recover from the devastation of such an attack. That's why companies need to invest in cyber resilience. But what is cyber resilience? What's the difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience? Read on find out.

Cyber Resilience vs. Cybersecurity.   Cybersecurity focuses on keeping hackers and other adversarial threats from compromising a company network and gaining access to an organization's systems and data. On the other hand, cyber resilience is all about maintaining normal operations after a devastating attack. Cybersecurity consists of tools, processes, and safeguards that are designed to provide protection against cyberthreats. Cyber resilience describes an organization's ability to mitigate damage and ensure continuity of operations after a successful breach.

Different Cyber Risks Faced by Companies. While many organizations have a cybersecurity strategy, most lack cyber resilience. Considering that incidents of cyberattacks and data breaches are on the rise, companies need to do more to protect their data. The information security industry is on high alert due to new and fast-evolving cyber threats involving AI and machine learning, cryptocurrencies, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware, phishing, and hacking. What can organizations do to improve security against these threats?

Staff Training.       Cyberattacks come in a variety of shapes, often escalating in unprecedented ways. For instance, a cyberattack can start in a telephone conversation, then an email, before progressing to a full-blown attack. Employees are often targeted by cybercriminals and may end up unwittingly helping the attackers. Comprehensive employee training can reduce human error and improve the organization's defense against cybercrime.

Risk Management.     Cybersecurity risk management is increasingly guiding information security decisions. Risk management helps organizations identify cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities and apply security patches to make sure that they are adequately protected. The first step is a risk assessment to get a snapshot of the threats and gauge their severity. It's all about taking the idea of real-world risk management and applying it to the cyber world.

Encryption Tools.       Using encryption tools such as VPN will strengthen your organization's defenses against cyberattacks. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will mask your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic to keep your information private and protect your network from a range of online privacy threats, including cybercriminals, stalkers, your ISP, and the government. Using a VPN router in an organizational setting reduces the risk of attack significantly.

Using cybersecurity tools and strategies can ward off a few attacks, but it's not a comprehensive solution to cybercrime threats. Cybersecurity threats are increasing, and hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks. No matter how good they are, cybersecurity tools and strategies won't stop all threats heading your way. Organizations need to take measures that can help them survive a successful hacking attempt. They can do that by implementing a cyber resilience strategy.

How Organizations Can Build a Strong Cyber Resilience Program.     In today's cybersecurity landscape, organizations need to accept that breaches to their defenses are inevitable, and that investing in cybersecurity alone is not enough. Organizations need to be cyber resilient, as well. Hackers and cybercriminals dedicate a lot of time and resources to evolving their attack methods. That means heads of information security should always be looking for better ways to adapt their approach to new attacks and stay on top of their organizations' unique risks.

Essentially, becoming cyber resilient means giving your organization the ability to withstand damaging cyberattacks. Every business needs a reliable cyber resilience strategy to avoid devastation in the face of a serious cyberattack or data breach. So, how do you go about building a strong cyber resilience program for your organization?

Create a Framework.      The process of building cyber resilience will vary from one organization to the next. However, creating a framework is an excellent way to start your organization's journey to becoming cyber resilient. A framework will help you come up with goals and objectives for your cyber resilience program. Use the framework to establish a prioritized, flexible, and cost-effective path to becoming cyber resilient.

Risk Assessment.        The second step to building a robust cyber resilience program is assessing the cybersecurity risks facing your organization. Start by working out where cyberattacks could have the most devastating effects on your organization. Cyber resilience is all about continuity of service. To better understand how a cyber incident will affect this part of the business, come up with a list of where your operations are reliant on technology.

Resource Evaluation.      After risk assessment, you need to evaluate your resources to find out if there are areas where your organization could use a managed service provider or further automation. Make sure that you take a tally of both human and technological resources in the organization.

Detection and Protection.     Now that you have identified the most critical processes and assets in your organization and how they could be affected by an attack, you need to come up with a strategy to protect them from cybercrime. Put in measures to detect and defend against cybersecurity threats. Keep in mind that early detection can reduce the impact of a cyberattack on company operations. 

Response and Recovery.        Any suspicious activity should be addressed as soon as it's detected. Develop an offline emergency to ensure critical business processes such as security, finance, quality assurance, and customer service are uninterrupted as the organization works to neutralize the threat. Have a clear incident response plan outlining what needs to be done in the event of a breach — and by whom.

Cybersecurity threats are increasing both in scope and severity. At this point, organizations should make peace with the fact that a breach of their network defenses is inevitable and start working on damage mitigation. That's where cybersecurity resilience comes in. Cyber resilience can help organizations mitigate damage and ensure continuity of service in the event of an attack.