What is cyber resilience

Cyber resilience is the ability of an enterprise to limit the impact of security incidents by deploying and arranging appropriate security tools and processes. Cyber resilience also includes the organization’s ability to continuously deliver intended outcomes in the face of adverse cyber events. To be “cyber resilient” means:

  • Aligning information security, business continuity, and organizational adaptability together
  • Protecting the enterprise against anything that will negatively impact the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of networked IT systems and associated information and services.
  • Developing and enabling security teams that are hyper-aware, hyper-vigilant, and hyper-capable of keeping the organization safe.

Why is cyber resilience important?

Cyber resilience enables an organization to continue to function with the least amount of disruption in the face of increasingly prevalent and sophisticated cyber-attacks:

  • The number of cyber-attacks and their business impact have grown significantly in recent years.
  • Breaches can result in financial loss, business disruptions, damage to reputations, and regulatory actions.
  • Early detection and quick recovery allows organizations to mitigate risk and impacts, enabling continuous business operations.
  • With cybersecurity breaches, it’s no longer a question of “if” but “when.”

Challenges to achieving cyber resilience

Achieving cyber-resilience is doable but it presents a number of serious challenges. First, cyber-resilience needs to be an integrated approach that brings together cybersecurity, business continuity, and network resilience to ensure that the enterprise continues to function during and after cyber incidents. To be cyber-resilient to current and emerging attacks, enterprises must be able to measure the effectiveness of their security controls, identify gaps, and adopt a security posture that:

  • Proactively maps the organization’s attack surface, understanding its weak points and where it is likely to be breached
  • Continuously adjusts to a constantly changing environment
  • Rests on a strategic foundation with strong tactical underpinnings
  • Takes a comprehensive view of risk across the enterprise
  • Monitors for dangers in near real time
  • Employs automation wherever possible for visibility, protection, and mitigation

5 steps to improve cyber-resilience

Here are 5 steps you can take to improve your enterprise cyber-resilience:

1. Achieve true visibility across your entire environment

The first step to cyber-resilience is to obtain a big picture view of your enterprise in terms of all the assets – devices, users, and applications – connected into your environment, their breach risk, and the ability to drill down into details as needed.

The IT assets that you cannot see are the ones that pose the biggest risk. And just seeing them is not enough- true visibility will come from knowing exactly how many devices – managed, unmanaged, BYO, IoT, etc. – are plugged into your environment at all times, understanding which of these assets are highly critical for your business and which ones are less important, how likely each asset is to be compromised, and how attacks might propagate from risky systems to your critical assets.

2. Elevate cyber resilience to be a board-level issue

Educate your board of directors about breach risk and cyber-resilience and get their buy-in that your overall objective is to reduce breach risk by improving cyber-resilience. Inform them regularly about how the actions of the security team result in business risk reduction outcomes, and how the various security projects tie into the goals of the company.

3. Hire and retain top talent

Tackling organizational issues such as a shortage of security talent to support operational and technical activities is a key issue that can keep CISOs challenged. You can leverage existing talent by developing desired security skill-sets, enabling them with the right tools particularly those that use automation and machine learning, and partner with vendors that can serve as trusted advisors.

4. Focus on cybersecurity fundamentals

This includes first getting an accurate inventory of your existing enterprise assets and monitoring them continuously across a broad range of attack vectors. The next step is to gather all these insights and prioritize them based on business criticality. This is unique to your environment and will enable you to tackle security projects in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

5. Get proactive and predictive to avoid breaches

In the current sophisticated threat environment, traditional security tactics, which are mostly reactive blocking and remediation, are inadequate. The conventional wisdom of identifying and adding more point products to the tool mix has become less effective than ever. Organizations must evolve their security posture from a purely defensive and reactive stance focused on malware to a more proactive approach of predicting and mitigating breaches, which will improve both cyber-resilience and security team productivity.