Developing your company’s cyber resilience strategy

Posted on Oct 25, 2018 :: Partner
Posted by Patrick Riley

You’ve spent endless time, money and resources to secure your infrastructure. You have all the right malware detection, encryption and firewalls in place. But when a cyber-attack inevitably hits, will your business be able to function in the aftermath? We are all familiar with cybersecurity, but what about its important brother, cyber resilience?

The key to bouncing back quickly from a breach or attack is a well-planned cyber resilience strategy. It might surprise you to learn only 30 percent of businesses have one in place. Do not delay, and start thinking about developing a cyber resilience strategy.

A cyber resilience strategy should encompass security, data protection, business continuity and end user empowerment. Your cyber resilience plan should fulfill these three goals in the event of an attack: 

• Your business needs to stay functional

• End users need the ability to access the resources required for their jobs

• You need fast search and e-discovery capabilities to meet regulatory compliance and government requirements

Now that you understand the importance of creating a bulletproof cyber resilience strategy for your business, here are five tips to help you get started:

Get management on board

Despite published evidence that cyber risks are increasing, cyber resilience is not taken seriously enough. IT managers often have trouble communicating with business leaders about security problems facing the business. Getting sign-off from business leaders isn’t always easy.

So, how do you describe the need for further security measures to business leaders in your organization? Clearly define the risk and scope of the problem and demonstrate how costly cyber threats can be to your reputation, intellectual property and revenue. In short, scare them! The cost of breaches is real and can be in the millions, so a little fear is well placed here.

Involve your entire organization

Cyber resilience education should be part of your core business process. Not everyone has to be a security expert, but everyone should be educated, engaged and involved in incident planning and response. If all employees don’t do their part to protect data on company servers and personal devices, a cyber-attack can immobilize your entire business. You can get everyone involved by making security training a requirement for all new employees, talking to employees to learn more about what they do and their security concerns, and conducting ongoing security awareness activities for all employees throughout the year.

Back up your data regularly

Having a separate and safe copy of your data is essential. Store regular, detailed data backups on a separate network so you can restore compromised data quickly if an attack occurs. Automatic daily backups are ideal, but you should back up your data at least once a week.

Implement backup solutions

If downtime occurs, you need to be prepared to quickly and seamlessly switch to a backup service. Having a thorough backup available mitigates the effects of a breach by enabling your employees to continue working and accessing the tools they need to do their job.

Maintaining the ability to search for and access data is equally important. New regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require businesses to have anytime access to email archives, even during an outage, so they can respond to GDPR subject requests quickly.

Simulate security incidents

Simulate a company-wide security incident at least once per year. Run through the steps your business will take in the event of a breach or attack —from how you’ll contain a potential breach to notifying law enforcement, customers and investors. Iron out any kinks in your process during the practice run so you aren’t caught off guard in a real-world situation. When a breach hits, having a foolproof cyber resilience plan will help your employees stay calm and confident while you mitigate the threat.

Beyond those five tips, it’s also vital to realize that being properly trained and informed about cyber threats is no longer exclusively for IT personnel. Instead, it is now the responsibility of everyone in an organization to have at minimum a foundational understanding of security issues and vulnerabilities.

Investing in cyber resilience today will prepare your organization to withstand future attacks and preserve your business reputation and bottom line when a breach occurs. The best investment you can make in cyber resilience is training. Dedicating staff time to proper cybersecurity training underscores the importance of security across your organization and arms employees to detect and communicate suspicious activity.

Cybersecurity & Cyber Resilience: what’s the difference?

Cybersecurity refers to the methods, processes and tactics you use to protect your data and systems. It includes implementing technology and best practices to secure your infrastructure and prevent hackers from gaining access.

Cyber resilience is your organization’s ability to withstand, respond to and recover from a cyber-attack or data breach. The goal of cyber resilience is to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and business operations.

Cybersecurity and cyber resilience are intricately connected — and equally important. You can no longer wonder if a cyber-attack will happen to your business, but rather when. In fact, 50 percent of small businesses have already experienced a data breach or attack.

Patrick Riley is the president of New Horizons of Wisconsin. New Horizons delivers high-quality live training to professionals in dozens of technology families. The firm has grown to be the largest in the state, annually providing more than 14,000 live training classes in more than 700 different course titles, delivered by 1,100 certified experts, providing their clients unparalleled depth and quality of learning. He also leads the company’s efforts into personal career development and is passionate about helping individuals enter and grow in the IT industry. Visit New Horizons of Wisconsin online here.