What is Cyber Resilience’?
As businesses around the world find new and innovative ways to store data, connect with their customers and move towards hybrid methods of working, the threat of malware intrusion increases.
In recent years, amidst a rising global trend of ransomware and phishing attacks, MSPs and cybersecurity consultants have begun to focus on cyber resilience as the most important aspect of a company’s IT operation.
Cyber resilience can broadly be defined as an ability to predict, withstand and successfully recover from attempts to compromise a company’s data, systems and IT resources. Cyber Resilience is not a standalone business function that can be designed and planned in isolation. Instead, it forms part of a company’s wider security strategy that draws upon data analysis, systems administration, endpoint security and a robust set of backup procedures in order to maintain business continuity in the event of an attack.
How is Cyber Resilience Different to Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity represents an effort to prevent unauthorised access onto a company’s network, and to secure the data held within it. This is achieved through a variety of means, such as login controls, conditional access, network device security, email security and anti-malware platforms.
Whilst all of these functions play a critical role in maintaining business continuity by attempting to stop attacks at source, intrusions occur within even the most secure of corporate IT networks. Cyber resilience provides a framework that allows a company to mitigate any potential damage, and ensures that normal business can be resumed as quickly as possible following any remedial action.
How ‘cyber resilient’ a company is depends very much on how well equipped they are to carry on operating in the event of a successful attack, after their cybersecurity measures have failed. Cyber resilience is often the deciding factor in a company either being forced to ceased trading following an intrusion, or having the resources and procedures in place to carry on with business as usual, as far as is possible.
Why is Cyber Resilience important for your business?
Regardless of how large a company’s IT budget is – from SMEs to global multinationals – traditional cybersecurity measures are simply not enough to prevent an intrusion 100% of the time. In recent years, several high-profile tech brands have been on the receiving end of a successful attack that has cost them dearly both financially and in terms of their reputation.
Given that no IT security plan is completely flawless, companies need to move away from a singular focus on cybersecurity and move towards a more holistic approach to business continuity and be continually mindful of how resilient their systems and data are, should the worst happen at any time.
The 6 Key Components of Cyber Resilience
Before planning a cyber resilience strategy, company’s need to identify their critical business functions and discuss how they could be adversely affected by a security breach.
This is where cybersecurity comes in. Systems, emails, applications and data require 24/7 protection from all manner of attack vectors. It’s not all about standalone protectin, however. Staff need to be kept constantly aware of any risks, IT policies need to reflect regulatory frameworks and cybersecurity platforms require regular maintenance to ensure they’re operating as they should be.
Detection involves the deployment of data monitoring tools on network devices and actively scanning systems and data for any suspicious activity via a centrally managed security console that’s trained to look for a variety of attack vectors.
Arguably the most important factor when it comes to maintaining business continuity is how a business responds to an attack. IT staff need to have a categorical set of tasks to carry out, depending on the severity of the attack, that includes re-securing access to data and maintaining network integrity.
Once IT staff have responded to an attack, it is then vitally important to restore systems and data to a useable state, through a variety of methods. Backup and disaster recovery (BUDR) plans that incorporate both local and offsite backup jobs, with multiple copies of the same dataset, are absolutely vital in maintaining business continuity.
A successful cyber resilience strategy should be in a state of near-constant development. With every new attack experienced, or every additional asset or software platform that’s added to the network, companies should pause and consider what that means their level of cyber resilience.
Cyber Resilience and Hybrid Working
Hybrid working is here to stay. The global shift from centralised office spaces to remote working environments has revolutionised the ways in which companies use IT. Whilst remote working has many advantages, there are also a number of security considerations to keep in mind, especially when it comes to remaining cyber resilient.
Adapt to a hybrid future. With hybrid working as the new norm, users are now permitted to access sensitive company information on a broad range of devices – from personal laptops to mobile phones and tablets – to carry out their duties. Where cyber resilience is concerned it can be quite difficult to manage endpoint security on such a vast array of assets, so it’s important to enact a series of stringent login protocols that covers any attempt to access a company’s network.
Multi-factor authentication – a login control that requires a user to confirm their identity through a variety of multiple unique identifiers – is one such method of ensuring that, as far as is possible, access to a network is only obtained by those who are permitted to use it.
VPN and remote desktop access
Operating with secure, reliable VPN software should be the number one priority for firms who operate with a hybrid working setup. Being secure and resilient in a permanently hybrid world is something that will perpetually change. In order to remain cyber resilient, VPN activity should be managed via a central console that is easily accessible in the event of an attack, and provides a concise view of user activity across the network.
Whatever VPN software a company uses should be specifically designed to work with the network hardware that provides their Internet connection.
If a company operates 100% remotely with cloud-based infrastructure, without a central office, access to virtual desktop environments should benefit from the same robust access controls as would occur with a physical desktop environment. As with VPN access, access to virtual PCs should be centrally managed and administrative access to data and virtual storage resources should be reserved for a select few individuals, in order to prevent an intrusion from getting out of hand quickly.