Cyber resilience: the key to combatting cyber attacks

Colleagues looking at computer cybersecurity attack

It is a well-known fact that small businesses are disadvantaged when it comes to protecting against cyber attacks. Compared to their larger counterparts, many smaller enterprises are unable to have a dedicated security provider or invest in cutting-edge security systems. So, often these limited resources and cybersecurity capabilities render such companies inoperable in the face of a breach. However, there are a few significant ways your small business can improve its cyber-attack preparation. One of these overlooked components is developing a strong cyber resilience plan.

Despite any misconception circulated, cybercriminals still view small businesses as an easy target. Therefore, hope has never been a good strategy for survival and it’s certainly not now. Remember, it’s not a matter of if your business will be victim of a hack, but when. It’s just a matter of time.

The stats speak for themselves

High profile incidents, including data breaches at British Airways and Equifax, will always grab the headlines. But the reality lies in the facts which illustrate a huge increase in cyber attacks for small-to-medium sized businesses.

For example, Beaming reported that cybercrime rates in the SME sector have soared between 2019 and 2023. Not only have the number of victims risen, but the cost per breach has dramatically surged too. In fact, the report estimated the average cost of a breach in 2023 was £5,000. Undoubtedly, these financial damages would have a much greater impact on a SME than a large corporation.

So, rather than brush off the rarity of a high-profile data breach, you must assume your small business will suffer a cyber attack.

In this blog post you’ll discover how to protect your company from cyberattacks using 5 tips for creating a strong cyber resilience strategy. This will ensure your business is confidently equipped and prepared to withstand a cyber attack when it happens. Here’s what we’ve included:

  • The problem is the cost of all this connectivity
  • The solution is to be cyber secure and cyber resilient
  • Make your business cyber resilient in five steps
  • Start now in creating your cyber resilience strategy

The problem is the cost of all this connectivity

The Internet has been a revolution and a revelation. But the price we must pay for our 24/7, interconnected, data-driven, Internet of Things world is eternal vigilance. Ultimately, hackers are unavoidable, so you need to understand how to protect your business from cyber attack.

Put simply, there’s more data in more places, available through more apps, being accessed by more people than ever. Plus, cybercriminals are constantly on the prowl, looking to sell whatever information they can steal. Lucky for them, the platforms through which they can illegally sell your data is only on the rise.

Note that a cyber attack isn’t just a temporary inconvenience to your business. It can affect your industry reputation and customer relations in the long term. Not to mention it’s also expensive. The cost of breaches for small UK businesses (11-50 employees) has increased fourfold in comparison to 2019.

The introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can also contribute to mounting damages. This legislation protects any personally identifiable information your business holds. So, in the event of a cyber attack you can be fined €20 million or up to 4% of the annual turnover for any breach of privacy.

The solution is to be cyber secure and cyber resilient

When you’re wondering how to defend your organisation against cyber attacks, the answer is not just to be cybersecure but cyber resilient too. But what do we mean by these terms?

Cybersecurity focuses on reducing the risk of an attack from happening. Cyber resilience puts the emphasis on keeping your business operational during and after such an attack. Effective business recovery and continuity is a crucial part of protecting your company throughout the course of an attack. This mindset is not only key for your core business functions, but it emits a wider message of efficient planning. Cyber resilience proves that your organisation is working proactively to serve customers and preserve your reputation.

Industry experts estimate that at least one hacking attempt will eventually impact every business. Although this may seem extreme, cyber threats are continually evolving alongside our cybersecurity technology, both in numbers and sophistication. Cybersecurity therefore works as a game of cat and mouse you must persistently work at to win.

Make your business cyber resilient in five steps

By developing a cyber resilience strategy your organisation will remain efficient and organised during a breach. This will help your business keep core operations intact and contribute to a quicker recovery afterwards.

So here are the five steps you should consider when building your cyber resilience plan:

  1. Involve everyone in the company

Even if your business can afford IT staff, it’s not solely their responsibility to ensure everyone’s online safety and security.

Every member of your team should know how to protect themselves and your business from cyber attacks. This requires all your staff to be thoroughly trained in the importance of both cybersecurity and cyber resilience. They should understand why both matter to your company and their jobs.

Cybersecurity training should focus on equipping employees with the necessary knowledge to identify and prevent malicious attempts from escalating. They must learn the key ways hackers get access to valuable company information, such as through email phishing. Your cybersecurity policy must also indicate who to raise any suspicions with – no matter how big or small those concerns are.

Meanwhile, cyber resilience training involves instructing everyone on how to act and respond should your business come under attack. It should outline what core business functions can resume and what needs to be done to recover.

  1. Protect your most important systems

Being cyber resilient is all about preparation. So, to act efficiently during a crisis you must plan to protect your most critical systems from further data loss or damage.

Our second step is to implement these useful techniques to safeguard your systems:


Minimise the connections between your critical and non-critical systems. This reduces the chances of a virus or a hack on a non-critical system spreading to a critical one.

Access control

Restrict critical systems access solely to those who need it to do their jobs.


Where possible, have backup critical systems with separate protections in place to bring online quickly, in the event of an attack.

Network segmentation

Segment your network into smaller subnetworks, as this will isolate avenues for attack. As a result, it will help prevent any breach from affecting your entire system.

  1. Develop an effective incident response plan

According to the UK government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the characteristics of a cyber resilient system can be broken down into four phases. These are:

  • Prepare – alongside preventative security, develop a plan which identifies aspects of your system that must remain functional.
  • Absorb – segregate your system and encourage an environment of early detection to reduce the risk of an incident escalating.
  • Recover – communicate with staff, stakeholders and customers when executing your incident response plan.
  • Adapt – not only after an attack, but ensure your business is adapting in tune with the ever-changing threat landscape.

As business leader, you must be able to evaluate your internal structures, operations, and processes and pinpoint any weaknesses. From there, derive a thorough plan for each of the four phases outlined above. That’s likely to involve input from all your people and their teams. Everyone’s unique perspective matters because each team is likely to be experts at what they do.

  1. Run Simulations

Simulating a company-wide security incident is like testing your fire alarms except it’s not needed as often. For cyber resilience testing, once or twice a year is probably enough. However, the frequency will inevitably depend on your business, what you do and how you do it.

Essentially, simulations allow you to run through the steps your business will take in the event of an attack. You can then observe how your organisation has responded and reacted according to your plan and measure the success of it.

‘Exercise in a Box’ is a ready-made online tool from the NCSC which can help you to test your cybersecurity processes and practice your response to an attack. It’s free and you don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to make good use of it. This tool allows you to spot and correct any weaknesses in your preparations, so when a real life event occurs you’re ready.

  1. Review, refine, refresh, and adapt

Just like your business and the technology you have; cybersecurity threats never stand still. Malicious actors are constantly evolving, and your defences must do the same.

So, it’s vital that your cybersecurity and cyber resilience governance strategies are adaptive to new and changing environments. They must be reviewed on a regular basis, refined to update what’s no longer working, and refreshed in line with the changes in your operations and risks. Compliance is equally as essential, therefore you must maintain all the necessary legal and regulatory requirements when they alter. These processes will likely include board-level commitment and internal auditing.

As mentioned, your people are often your greatest cybersecurity weakness. However, by managing their awareness and response you can turn them into your strongest first line of defence. With the right training and up-to-date knowledge about your processes and any emerging threats, it’s possible, but this is no small feat.

Start now in creating your cyber resilience strategy

By following the five tips we’ve outlined above you can build a strong cyber resilience strategy and ensure efficiency during a breach.

If you’d like any further help with this topic, please feel free to reach out to our award-winning team here at totality services. With Five Star customer service ratings from TrustPilot, Feefo and Google we’ve become the most trusted go to IT support team for London. Simply call us for a confidential, no obligation chat about your requirements.