Cyber Resilience: How it strengthens IT security and protects your business from cyber attacks

A solid cyber resilience strategy can help companies not only when they are hacked, but also against other security incidents that cannot be predicted. By preparing well for these incidents, companies can better  protect  themselves and their customers.

Last year, many IT security experts expected a rapid increase in cyber attacks on Western companies in the course of the Ukraine war. Although it hasn’t turned out as bad as expected, according to Forrester’s Security Survey, 2022, 74% of security decision-makers experienced at least one data breach at their firm in the previous 12 months. In this blog post, we will explore what cyber resilience means and how it can help companies protect themselves against ongoing cyber attacks.

 Cyber Resilience for Business: What it means and how it can help protect your company from cyber attacks.

Cyber resilience refers to a company’s ability to successfully detect, respond to, and recover quickly from cyber attacks. The aim of cyber resilience is to minimize the impact of such incidents on t a company’s business activities and ensures that business processes continue with as little disruption as possible. By doing so, financial, operational, and reputational damage can be kept to a minimum.

Unlike traditional security measures that are best used to prevent attacks altogether, cyber resilience has a more flexible approach and is based on proven concepts from nature. According to Accenture’s report (PDF), cyber resilience is like a tree that bends in stormy weather, but it doesn’t break. The protective systems of the human body works in a similar way, responding to virus attacks, adapting and ultimately successfully repelling them.

Just as in nature, things can and will go inevitably wrong. Security incidents are inescapable and can cause significant damage and losses. To minimize these risks, IT systems should be designed to be difficult to attack and continue to perform their tasks even in the event of security incidents. An effective security policy that outlines the rules and requirements for maintaining a secure environment can help achieve this.

Understanding your adversaries in IT security

According to Accenture, being prepared for anything is at the core of a successful cyber resilience strategy, In other words, stop responding and start anticipating. However, there are a few points to consider:

First, it’s important to know what your adversaries want from you. Most of the time, their goals is to gain control of your systems and steal, modify, or delete data without being detected. However, it’s difficult to predict when such an attack will occur. Accenture recommends taking actions that make your resources hard to find, hard to attack, and hard to damage. The focus is on maintaining system operation and limiting damage and other impacts.

Some of this might remind our readers of business continuity and disaster recovery. For example, business continuity is intended to ensure that a company can maintain its critical business processes and functions during and after a cyber attack, as well as after other unforeseen events such as natural disasters or technical failures. Disaster recovery, on the other hand, deals with the planning, preparation and implementation of measures to restore IT systems, applications and data after a serious incident.

How companies can achieve the goal of cyber resilience

Security experts have formulated a number of successive measures for achieving cyber resilience. The first step should be an individual risk analysis. IT systems, networks and data are examined for potential vulnerabilities and threats in order to better understand the respective risks and to be able to react appropriately later on. To do this, you should also consult experts from the company’s functional departments and ask what cyber resilience means to them and what measures they consider to be most important.

Use this data to identify the essential resources, applications and processes in the company. In addition, carry out an analysis of the impact on business activities if this has not already been done. A business impact analysis (BIA) consists of several phases – from gathering information to evaluating the collected data and its analysis to summarizing findings and presenting them to management.

Accenture has put together a number of further measures for achieving cyber resilience. They range from the basics, routine tasks such as installing security updates and defining access permissions, to the integration of cloud-based security processes, data-centric security measures such as encryption, and modern identity and access management. They also recommend using software-defined networking solutions that can dynamically change and adjust routes, for example, true to the saying “If the enemy can't find you, they can't attack you either.” IT infrastructure should be continuously monitored for security risks so that vulnerabilities can be found before attackers succeed.

What makes a solid cyber resilience strategy

A robust cyber resilience strategy encompasses far more than what we have discussed so far. For example, preventive measures such as firewalls, antivirus software and the use of secure passwords should not be overlooked. Equally important are regular employee training courses to raise awareness of potential threats and to show employees how to recognize and avoid risks (security awareness).

Create an incident response plan that describes how to handle security incidents. It should define, among other things, the roles and responsibilities of the various team members, the communication protocols to be followed and the escalation procedures. If possible, you should also work with other companies, industry associations, and government agencies to share information about threats, best practices, and resources.

Don't forget about compliance either. Ensure that your business meets all legal and regulatory requirements regarding cybersecurity and data protection. Last but not least, data backup must not be neglected. Ensure that all relevant data is backed up regularly and can be restored in the event of a security breach or system failure.

By implementing these measures and strategies, you will be fully prepared for potential security threats and breaches. Modern VPN solutions as well as technologies and standards such as SASE, SD-WAN or Zero Trust help you to further strengthen your cyber resilience while ensuring secure remote work.

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