Cyber-attacks have become so prevalent that it’s no longer a matter of if a business will be attacked but when. According to a Clark School study at the University of Maryland, a hacker attack occurs every 39 seconds, with 43% of cyber attacks targeting small businesses. 64% of all businesses have experienced a web-based attack at some point, while 31% of businesses are experiencing data loss as a result of “a lack of cyber resilience preparedness.” No company is too big, too small, or too safe to avoid attacks altogether.
Many organizations have renewed their focus on cybersecurity to prevent malicious activity and breaches, but in the face of this near-constant state of attack, it’s clear that mitigation and recovery also need to form part of every business’s security strategy. In order to preserve business continuity, every business needs a cyber resilience strategy.
What Is Cyber Resilience?
“The five most efficient cyber defenders are: Anticipation, Education, Detection, Reaction, and Resilience. Do remember: “Cybersecurity is much more than an IT topic.”
― Stephane Nappo, VP Global CISO
Cyber resilience refers to an organization’s ability to mitigate the damage to its systems, processes, or reputation and carry on with business following a security incident or data breach, or other events that may have compromised their systems. This can cover incidents caused by hackers or other malicious actors, as well as simple human errors and non-adversarial threats. You could think of cyber resilience as a form of digital fortitude that maintains end-to-end protection and readiness against any threat or data loss.
Cyber resilience has come into focus as traditional security measures are no longer enough to guarantee that networks and data will remain secure against every security event. Many IT teams now operate on the assumption that attacks will eventually gain unauthorized access to their organization at some point and prepare accordingly.
What Is The Difference Between Cyber Resilience and Cybersecurity?
The terms cyber resilience and cybersecurity are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are entirely separate concepts. Cybersecurity refers to methods and processes used to protect digital data, including all business practices and technology designed to protect it. Cyber resilience, on the other hand, refers to the ability an organization has to withstand or even recover following a disruptive cyber event, such as a denial-of-service or ransomware attack.
No cybersecurity tool or strategy is 100% flawless or impenetrable. Cybersecurity minimizes the risk of a successful cyberattack, but if it does occur, having a cyber resilience strategy in place will minimize the actual impact.
Considering that 76% of all organizations have suffered some form of downtime and data loss due to human error, cyberattacks, and system crash in 2021 and that one single minute of downtime could cost a company as much as $5,600 depending on their industry, it’s imperative that companies have a plan in place to ensure that they remain operational even in the wake of a serious breach or attack.
Why Does Cyber Resilience Matter?
Cyber attacks like Denial of Service and Ransomware attacks are designed to cause havoc and operational shutdowns. While preventing an attack is vital, identifying, managing, and mitigating the damage caused is equally important as it enables quick recovery and sustained business operations during a crisis.
Some of the benefits of cyber resilience include:
Minimizing Financial Losses. Cybercrime will cost the world economy $10.5 trillion by 2025. Cyber resilient organizations are able to remain operational, limiting the financial impact and monetary losses in the event of a hack or breach.
Mitigation of Reputational Loss. An attacked firm will lose an average of 1.1% of its market value and a 3.2% point drop in YoY sales growth. A firm’s ability to remain operational during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness and can go a long way to containing and reducing the fallout following a data loss or security breach.
Improved Security. Cyber resilience complements a robust cybersecurity program, improving an organization’s ability to eliminate threats, identify its most vulnerable data repositories and business functions, and create an incident response plan that minimizes the impact of cyber threats.
What Does Cyber Resilience Look Like in Practice?
There’s no right or wrong way to approach cyber resilience. A cyber resilience consultant will typically work with an organization to determine where operations are dependent on technology, where the most sensitive/valuable data is stored and used, and where security incidents will have the most damaging impact on the business. This helps paint a picture of the ways continuity of service will be affected in the event of an attack.
Once the impact has been understood, a mitigation and recovery strategy can be put in place, e.g., offline processes to keep essential functions running until a breach is contained and a cyber incident response plan to clarify how to respond to a failure or breach, how to communicate the incident to stakeholders, and how to report the incident to regulators (if relevant). Cyber resilience also places special emphasis on data recovery in the event of an accidental or intentional data loss, as it is impossible to ensure that data is completely protected, even with back-ups in place – thus encouraging organizations to plan for its loss and recovery.
The consultancy will also work with the organization to create a response team responsible for the execution of the incident response plan, from declaring an emergency to coordinating the organization’s response.
Digital transformation and technology have unlocked a myriad of business advantages, but it has also created a nearly unprecedented slew of cyberthreats. True cyber resilience requires experience and an investment in both resources and time, but considering the impact that a cyber attack or data loss can have on the bottom line of any modern organization, it’s an investment that few businesses can afford not to make.