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11 Major Steps Your Organization Can Take to Be More Cyber Resilient
In the age of digital transformation and the rise of smart systems that are cyber resilient, security risks are at an all-time high. Organizations are adapting their cybersecurity approaches, but the challenge lies in balancing security and business operations. Large and small companies are under constant siege from cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in their systems. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) play a crucial role in developing processes that enable risk-based decision-making, safeguard against threats, and prevent data breaches.
To combat this, businesses must proactively enhance their cybersecurity measures and cultivate cyber resilience.
What Cyber Resilience Is and Why It Matters?
Cyber resilience is an organization’s ability to maintain business operations and recover quickly from cyberattacks. Resilience isn’t just about preventing attacks, but also about detecting them early, responding effectively, and minimizing the impact on the business.
Statistics Reveal the Harsh Reality of Cyber Threats:
- Cybersecurity statistics indicate that every 39 seconds, there is a hacker attack.
- In IBM’s data security report, it was reported that businesses took an average of 277 days – roughly 9 months – to identify and report a data breach.
- The IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report indicates that the global average data breach cost in 2023 was USD 4.45 million, a 15% increase over 3 years.
- According to IBM, 82% of breaches involved data stored in the cloud.
- 83% of organizations believe they are not fully prepared to defend against a cyber-attack.
Now that we understand the gravity of the situation, let’s dive into the steps to strengthening your cyber resilience.
1. Assess Your Current State
Before you can fortify your defenses, you must understand your current vulnerabilities. Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential threats specific to your business. This involves analyzing your systems, networks, and processes for weaknesses.
2. Compliance and Regulatory Assessment
Ensuring legal and regulatory compliance is paramount, as failing to meet these standards can lead to fines and reputational damage. Work closely with legal experts to understand and meet the requirements relevant to your industry and location. Identify gaps in your current compliance framework to prevent costly oversights. Few major standard certifications for information security can include:
- ISMS Lead Auditor (ISO 27001 Lead Auditor)
- ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management)
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework
- ISO/IEC 27001 (Information Security Management System – ISMS)
- ISO/IEC 27701 (Privacy Information Management System – PIMS)
- SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2)
- ISAE 3402 (International Standard on Assurance Engagements)
3. Risk Assessment
Your business’s lifeblood often resides in your data. Risk assessment helps pinpoint the specific nature of data susceptible to cyber threats. Risk assessments come in two primary forms: Qualitative and Quantitative. They analyze the severity of threats and vulnerabilities associated with organizational digital assets. The objective is to safeguard the security of both client and internal organizational data by meticulously analyzing and understanding the potential risks associated with them.
4. Develop a Cyber Resilience Strategy
Building an effective cyber resilience strategy is the foundation of future-proofing your business. To build it, you need clear objectives. Define precisely what you want to achieve with your cybersecurity efforts. What are your organization’s unique needs and goals in this regard? Additionally, set measurable cyber resilience goals to track your progress and determine the success of your strategy.
5. Allocate Resources
A resilient cybersecurity strategy requires not only planning but also adequate resources. Budgeting for cybersecurity is imperative to ensure you can implement the necessary tools, technologies, and personnel. Be sure to define roles and responsibilities within your organization so that everyone knows their part in executing your cybersecurity strategy.
6. Enhance Employee Awareness and Training
Your employees are your first line of defense. Offering cybersecurity awareness programs is essential to educate your staff about the latest threats and best practices. Moreover, phishing awareness training is critical, as phishing attacks are a common vector for cybercriminals looking to breach your organization.
7. Security Best Practices
Emphasize password management, encouraging strong and unique passwords, a foundational aspect of cybersecurity. Implement a robust business continuity plan (BCP) and disaster recovery (DR) strategy as it serves as exemplary security practices to ensure resilience and minimize disruptions in the face of unforeseen events or crises. Secure remote and hybrid work environments with encrypted connections, multi-factor authentication, and communication tools that protect remote employees. These proactive measures safeguard organizational operations and data integrity.
8. Incident Response Plan (IRP)
Forge a resilient incident response plan by intricately outlining roles and responsibilities, ensuring that each team member comprehensively understands their duties during cyber incidents. Regularly refine and validate the plan to detect, respond to, and limit the consequences of any malicious cyber threats. This meticulous preparation enhances the organization’s ability to respond to and mitigate potential cyber incidents effectively.
9. Implement Security Technologies
Cybersecurity technologies are essential for protecting your organization’s sensitive data and systems from cyberattacks. By implementing AI technology and a layered security approach, you can create a strong defense against a wide range of threats. Organizations with extensive use of security AI and automation identified and contained a data breach 108 days faster than organizations with no use.
Some key technologies to consider for your cyber resilience are:
- Antivirus Software
- Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
- Firewall Solutions
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)
- Data Encryption Solutions
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
- Monitoring and Analyzing Security Events
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
10. Regularly Update and Test Systems
Cyber threats are ever evolving, and so must your security measures. Prioritize patch management to keep your software and systems up to date, as outdated systems are vulnerable. Conduct penetration testing frequently to identify and address vulnerabilities before malicious actors can exploit them.
11. Establish Strong Partnerships
Building strong partnerships with cybersecurity experts is vital. Collaborating with professionals who understand the intricacies of the digital threat landscape can provide invaluable insights and guidance. Additionally, third-party support can give you access to cutting-edge tools and expertise to bolster your defenses. They can be scaled to meet your organization’s needs, regardless of size or industry. Outsourcing your cybersecurity needs to a third-party provider saves you money on salaries, benefits, and training. This can be an asset for businesses that may not have the resources to invest in their own in-house cybersecurity team.
Cyber resilience empowers businesses to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and successfully recover from cyber threats, ensuring a swift return to normal operations. It demands a shift in thinking and agility to proactively anticipate and mitigate attacks.
Today’s global business leaders recognize that a single cybersecurity solution can’t fully address the ever-evolving threat landscape. Even with all the above-mentioned defenses, cybercriminals can still exploit vulnerabilities. This is where our experts, armed with proactive tools, automation, and AI knowledge, step in to fortify your cyber defense.
Talk to our experts today to become a more cyber-resilient organization.