What is Cyber Resilience?
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the internet, and cloud computing, the level of cyber crime occurring around the globe is also on the rise. Consequently, “cyber security,” a term used to describe defending data, networks and IT systems, from cyber attacks, has become a hot topic in the business world.
While cyber security is incredibly important, organizations are beginning to realize that they need to take their data protection strategies a step further. The term “cyber resilience”
is becoming more prevalent, as a means of describing an organization’s ability to continue operating and to uphold the integrity of their data, even in the event of a breach. If “cyber security” is an organization’s ability to defend against a cyber attack or breach, “cyber resilience” is an organization’s ability to protect their data if a breach occurs, and to recover from the breach.
How Does Cyber Resilience Work?
Cyber resilience is all about having the right tools and processes in place, to adapt to and bounce back from a cyber attack. If your cyber security mechanisms fail, what’s your next line of defense?
For example, if an employee falls victim to a phishing scam and accidentally reveals their company credentials to a cyber criminal, will they be able to access your data and disrupt your daily business operations? If a hacker circumvents your cyber security barrier and infects your database with ransomware, will your employees be able to keep working? Will your business be able to recover its files if they’re stolen?
These situations are where cyber resilience comes into play. There are several different tools and strategies that can be utilized to ensure your organization can survive a cyber attack. For example:
- Encryption: An encryption solution is an example of a tool that an organization could use to stay protected in the event of a breach or cyber attack. Encryption translates data into an unreadable format, to prevent unauthorized parties from reading it. If a hacker was able to bypass the organization’s outer defense, and access their data, they wouldn’t be able to read it because it’s encrypted. Only the members of the organization that hold the encryption keys are able to decrypt and read the data.
- Data Backups: Even if an organization has a cyber security strategy in place, there’s still always a possibility that a hacker will be able to get through. If they do, it’s important to also have a plan for recovering data, should it be corrupted or stolen. This is where backup and disaster recovery solutions come in handy. Backups play a crucial role in allowing businesses to recover from a cyber attack, and enabling them to restore their original data. By saving a copy of your data up in the cloud, at another physical location, or on another server, you are more likely to be able to recover that data if the original version is compromised.
In addition to implementing these specific tools (i.e. encryption, backups), organizations must also develop a “cyber resilience framework,” or a set of security standards for the entire business to abide by. They need to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses within their current data protection strategy, and figure out what additional steps they need to be taken to help them adequately withstand or recover from a cyber attack. A company that is truly “resilient” will have both of these components in play.
What Are the Benefits of Cyber Resilience?
Here are some of the benefits provided by adding cyber resilience to your data protection and security strategy:
One of the most valuable benefits that implementing a cyber resilience strategy provides is added data security and protection. Breaches and cyber attacks are on the rise, and while cyber security solutions are helpful in keeping data guarded, they are by no means impenetrable. With cyber resilience, if a cyber criminal manages to get past your cyber security layer, they will be blocked by additional forms of protection. If they manage to get past those as well, you’ll be able to recover your corrupted or stolen data. Having extra precautions in place will give your organization added confidence and peace of mind.
A serious data breach can negatively impact a business in several different ways. Most important are the financial ramifications; according to a report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 is $3.86 million. In addition to being incredibly expensive, breaches can also destroy an organization’s reputation and significantly impact employee productivity, making it difficult for companies to get back on their feet. By implementing a cyber resilience strategy, your organization will improve its overall security and be more likely to prevent a breach from occurring, or recover if one does.
Regulatory and Legal Compliance
Nowadays, there are major regulations that exist across multiple industries and geographies, with the purpose of maintaining the security of clients’ personal, and often sensitive, data. Examples include: healthcare (HIPAA), financial services (PCI-DSS and GLBA), and IoT (NERC and FERC). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a number of penalties, including fines, increased fees, and revocation of rights to interact with clients in given industries. Oftentimes, cyber resilience measures are necessary amongst these specific sectors, to meet compliance requirements and ensure the protection of confidential customer data.