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Focus on Cyber Resilience, Not Just Cyber Security

How to prioritise and build cyber resilience into security strategy.

finger pointing to padlock

Companies are prioritising cyber resilience in security strategy. Mike Mulligan, Practice Executive, Risk and Security Services at TEKsystems, tells us more and provides insight on how to get started.

In this article we'll break down the difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience, why your security strategy should include cyber-resilience strategy and how to start developing cyber resilience.

Cybersecurity vs. Cyber Resilience

What is the difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience? Cybersecurity includes your security organisation's efforts to avoid cyberthreats and protect the company, especially company data. Cyber resilience focuses on how to minimise damage and customer impact and keep day-to-day operations running smoothly in the event of a cyber incident.

While cybersecurity focuses on preventing cyberattacks, cyber resilience prepares companies on what to do before, during and after a cyber incident to mitigate possible disruption and damage.

Why do we Need Cyber Resilience?

With an evolving cyberthreat landscape and expanded security perimeters, it can feel impossible to guarantee your company is 100% secure. In his 2021 RSA Conference keynote address, "A Resilient Journey," CEO of RSA Rohit Ghai explained: "How can you secure chaos? You can't. You don't. You focus on resilience."

We can never eliminate cyber risk, but we can manage it effectively.

As news breaks of another cyberattack, ransomware threat or data breach, security leaders face a harsh reality. It's less a matter of if but when a cyber incident will impact their business. According to CompTIA State of Cybersecurity Report, companies have started to consider cyberattacks as inevitable and data breaches as commonplace; 42% of companies hold a cyber insurance policy. Many leaders worry that simply admitting the possibility of a cyberattack will make them less secure. This avoidance can in turn make companies less prepared to respond.

If we have learned anything over the past year, it's to expect the unexpected. Be prepared for anything. With cyber resilience, company leaders and security teams focus on business continuity and minimising impact on day-to-day operations. These companies are more prepared to contain a threat and do damage control, reducing downtime and recovery costs.

Five Ways to Boost Cyber Resilience

It's never too early to start becoming more resilient. Start with these short-term and long-term tactics.

1. Develop a Security-first Culture

Create a culture where security, privacy and compliance are aligned to business operations. When company leaders believe security hinders efficiency and progress, there will be persistent issues. Think major security gaps, silos, overspending and redundancies. The global pandemic challenged companies to rapidly shift from on-site to remote work. Since then, security and business leaders alike have had to rethink security strategy. Bring security out of the shadows and into the forefront. Make security the cornerstone that enables your business. Who supports a security culture? Your employees. Make security a community effort and empower your workforce to cultivate this security culture.

2. Make a Cyber Resilience Plan

How will your company to keep operating and delivering value to customers when a cyber incident occurs? Identify the greatest cyber risks and prioritise based on business impact. Focus on the most critical elements to inform your plan. Then you can develop a cyber resilience plan to cover cyber incident response, business continuity and recovery.

3. Schedule a Cyberthreat "Fire Drill"

Does anyone in your company—besides your cybersecurity specialists—know what to do in the event of a cyberattack? How fast is your security team's response time? Schedule a drill so teams across the company can practice what to do in the event of a cyberattack. This will help you assess your security performance management, identify weaknesses and build faster response times if the "real thing" comes around.

4. Build Specialised Security Teams

By developing specialised security teams as part of your security strategy, you are helping your company become not only more cyber resilient but also more agile. With a broader range of skills and expertise, specialised security teams are poised to respond to new and different threats with much more adaptability.

Specialised security teams bring together IT security, IT operations and business operations to reduce friction and inefficiencies. Aligning security, development and infrastructure teams improves speed to market—with security factored in from the start. This collaboration breaks down silos and fosters a security-first and security-everywhere culture. The result: your company becomes more agile, productive and resilient. Consider DevSecOps: development, security and operations. Instead of considering security as a last-minute add-on, this approach integrates security into software development and application management processes. DevSecOps requires cross-functional collaboration and effective communication to work well. The benefits? Shorter time to market, improved agility and fewer redundancies across teams.

5. Use Network Segmentation

A cyber-resilience mindset starts with the assumption that a cyber incident will occur at some point. Assess: would a single incident lead to a massive data breach and bring your operations to a screeching halt? Now work backwards to mitigate cyber risk. Ghai suggests security leaders "compartmentalise failure zones." Start with network segmentation.

Imagine a home where every room had a lock on the door. Does a single key open every door? If a someone stole your key, could they get into every room in the house? Your personal safe? With network segmentation, that bad actor with the stolen key can't make it past the front door.

Add network segmentation to your cyber-resilience strategy to reduce risk and protect your most important assets. Incorporate cyber resilience into your security strategy. Reap the benefits of a prepared-for-anything security team and elevated security posture.

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