Cyber Resilience: Safeguarding the Enterprise
Published on : Saturday 06-11-2021
Applying cyber resilience capabilities and state-of-the-art security across the enterprise will allow the enterprise to tackle its cyber risks with larger success, says Ravindra Benday.
Cyber Resiliency is the ability of digital systems and technology-dependent business functions to plan, anticipate, withstand, recover from and adapt to adverse conditions, attacks, stresses and compromises on systems that are enabled by cyber resources. Creating a business resilience plan requires more than just a few management techniques to eliminate known risks. It must comprise unknown risks, embracing uncertainty and complexity.
Considering today’s increasingly evolving cyber threat landscape, Cyber Resilience has become an important factor in determining the success of an enterprise. Cyber Resilience aids businesses to defend against cybercrimes, mitigates risks and severity of attacks, and facilitates business continuity. A cyber-resilient business is well-prepared to tackle cybersecurity incidents and can successfully respond to and quickly recover when such events occur.
Cybersecurity and cyber resilience
Cybersecurity deals with strengthening an enterprise’s defence to prevent cybercriminals and malicious programs from compromising its network, data and IT infrastructure. It involves strategies and actions to keep cybercriminals at bay and protect company assets from loss, theft or any damage.
Although cybersecurity is an essential part of an enterprise’s security strategy, protection from sophisticated cyberattacks, viz., ransomware, etc., are never guaranteed. This is where cyber resilience comes into picture. Cyber resilience encompasses a wider umbrella, including deploying policies and procedures, solutions, creating awareness among employees, vulnerability testing and clearly defining the steps that need to be taken when measures such as cybersecurity fail.
Cyber resilience is a broader concept covering business continuity, securing critical business processes, identifying potential threat vectors, managing risks, minimising the severity of attacks and implementing procedures to withstand Cybersecurity incidents. Cyber resilience enables an enterprise to continue normal business operations without any interruption during and after disruptive events such as cyberattacks or any technical failures. When done right, cyber resilience enables an enterprise to remain operational despite significant cyber disruptions.
Significant elements of a cyber resilience framework
Especially during the Covid-19 days, there was an unprecedented surge in cybercrimes in India and the world. Most business enterprises would agree that cyberattacks are no longer a matter of “if” but “when.” As such, your business must ensure appropriate measures are in place to not just purge cybercriminals and protect critical assets, but also overcome any hurdles when disasters strike. To improve the overall security and resiliency of your enterprise, you must implement a comprehensive Cyber Resilience Framework. The Cyber Resilience Framework must include the following six key elements:
The first element of a cyber resilience program is to identify critical business functions and assets, and assess cybersecurity risks that could potentially disrupt them. This is vital to understanding and managing the risks to your enterprise’s network, IT infrastructure and information systems.
This step involves deploying necessary tools and technologies and implementing security measures to ensure your systems, applications and data are protected. This element includes training and awareness, information security policies, identity management and access control, and regular maintenance of your IT infrastructure.
The third element is to scan for vulnerabilities and suspicious activities and analyse their potential impact on your business. This element involves continuous monitoring to identify anomalies and cybersecurity risks to protect your sensitive information and systems from cyberattacks, system failures and unauthorised access.
This is an important element of a Cyber Resilience Framework that highlights appropriate steps that need to be taken when a cybersecurity incident occurs. The objective of this element is to implement strategies and actions to mitigate the negative effects of unplanned cybersecurity events.
The purpose of this element is to formulate an action plan to quickly return to normalcy after a security incident occurs. This helps restore systems, applications or information impacted by a security breach or system failure. This step is vital in ensuring there is minimal or no impact on critical business functions or capabilities.
Cyber resilience is not a “Set it and Forget it” kind of a program. It needs continuous improvements and modifications to withstand today’s complex cybercrimes. Modern-day businesses use advanced solutions like AI-assisted (Artificial Intelligence) analytics that provide elaborate reports on cyberattacks. These reports provide insights into your overall security posture, allow you to analyse and learn from past incidents, and apply what you’ve learned to prepare for future events.
Why is cyber resilience significant?
One successful cyberattack is enough to wreak havoc, cause huge financial losses or in extreme cases, shut down your business permanently. Therefore, cyber resilience is very significant to identify, assess, manage, mitigate and recover from malicious attacks. A good cyber resiliency strategy not only helps protect critical systems, applications and data, but also enables quick recovery and business continuity in the face of disruptive cyber incidents. A comprehensive cyber resiliency program will help your business maintain sustained business operations and stay afloat even during times of crisis.
Big benefits of cyber resilience
A well-established cyber resilience strategy offers multiple benefits before, during and after disruptive cyber incidents:
a. Helps to be compliant: Businesses today collect and handle large amounts of data including sensitive customer information and mission-critical business data. As such, businesses must comply with multiple regulations such as the GDPR, CCPA or PDPB which are likely to be applicable very soon in India. Failing to comply with these complex regulations could lead to fines, penalties and lawsuits. An effective Cyber Resilience Framework allows you to assess the security status of your enterprise, identify loopholes that could lead to non-compliance, and fill in the gaps to ensure legal and regulatory requirements are met.
b. Minimised economic impact: Recently the report released by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) titled “The Hidden Costs of Cybercrime,” shows that global losses from cybercrime are approaching $1 trillion. A cyber resilient enterprise is well prepared for cyberattacks and can recover from disasters faster, which results in reduced financial losses from security breaches or events.
c. Continued business continuity: Cyber resilience helps improve the overall security of your enterprise, eliminate threats before they wreck any damage and reduce the frequency of cyber incidents. A robust Cyber Resilience Program also includes an incident response plan that helps mitigate risks and minimise the impact of cyber threats on your enterprise. This helps you run your business with minimal downtime or disruption during and after a disaster.
d. Enhanced brand reputation: A data breach incident could cost your enterprise much more than just financial losses. It can tarnish your brand’s reputation and deteriorate customer trust. Cyber resilience helps improve information security and position your enterprise as a secure entity that your customers can rely on.
How can cyber resilience be improved?
Here are the five ways that you can use to strengthen your enterprise’s cyber resilience:
1. Implement robust security protocols: When it comes to data security, no one can be trusted, not even insiders. In fact, insider threats have increased by 47% in the past two years. The enterprise must enforce rigorous security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, identity and access management, and encrypt valuable digital assets and conduct vulnerability assessment and penetration testing (VAPT) at a regular interval, to minimise the risks of data theft, hacking and unauthorised access.
2. Automation: Cyberattacks are becoming more complex and relying on manual systems to tackle cybersecurity risks are no longer enough. Advanced businesses are adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to automate critical functions that help them identify vulnerabilities faster, assess risks more accurately and respond to cyber incidents in a timely manner. Automation not only helps in reducing the frequency of errors but also helps to improve efficiency and accuracy and enables faster decision-making.
3. Back up data: When disaster strikes, the last resort is the backed up data. By securely backing up data, you can quickly restore and recover from any unforeseen disruptive events. Having a copy of the valuable assets is vital to ensure business continuity and protect business against data loss or corruption due to cyberattacks or IT failure.
4. Make cyber resilience a part of business culture: The security of an enterprise is not the sole responsibility of the IT team. The entire enterprise is responsible. Security awareness and training programs should be conducted regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in cybersecurity. Efforts should be made to encourage the workforce to adhere to the security policies and procedures set by the enterprise.
5. Security operations: Security operations solutions need to enhance the productivity of resources, especially considering the current security talent shortages. The Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system is one of the most important aspects of productive security operations. SIEM is important because it makes it easier for enterprises to manage security by filtering massive amounts of security data and prioritising the security alerts the software generates. SIEM software enables enterprises to detect incidents that may otherwise go undetected.
Digitisation offers business enterprises opportunities to grow and innovate. But it subsequently brings a new world of risks to the data which is the most valuable asset for any enterprise. This data is most crucial to the future success of an enterprise and is likely valued by a wide range of adversaries. Applying cyber resilience capabilities and state-of-the-art security across the enterprise will allow the enterprise to tackle its cyber risks with larger success. Transforming into a cyber resilient enterprise requires a detailed roadmap that specifies how the enterprise must develop and implement a cyber resilient IT infrastructure. Likewise having a knowledgeable partner with established cyber resilience practices, extensive experience, and a proven commitment is also paramount.
Ravindra Benday is the Founder and Managing Director, Chief Mentor, Chief Motivator and Chief Drill Sergeant at Benelec Infotech P Ltd, Pune, with 30+ years’ experience in building great teams and successful service business models. Under his leadership, the company has grown at a rapid and profitable clip with revenues having grown substantially over the years. Mr Benday oversees the company’s business strategy aiming to redefine how the IT Services industry delivers the solutions to the mid-market.