Is your business prepared to survive a cyberattack? Most businesses aren’t. An estimated 60% of businesses that fall victim to a successful cyberattack go out of business within 6 months. They’re not all going out of business because of the upfront cost of a cyberattack either. A combination of factors drives that end including long-term financial complications, loss of business and reputation damage. But that doesn’t have to be the outcome of a cyberattack. Companies with high cyber resilience are less likely to join those ranks and more likely to come out of a cybersecurity incident in a position to put the business back on track quickly.
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Trouble is Around Every Corner
In today’s hazardous cybercrime landscape, getting hit by a devastating cyberattack is a real possibility for businesses of every size, and no business or industry can count itself safe from cybercrime. 74% of organizations in the United States have fallen victim to a successful phishing attack that resulted in a data breach in the last 12 months. That’s not just big businesses either. Look at the current villain of most cybersecurity news, ransomware. More than 50% of ransomware attacks last year hit SMBs with under 100 employees. It’s a great illustration of the fact that every business is at risk of trouble. That’s why it’s essential that companies make sensible choices that strengthen their organization’s ability to defend against cyberattacks or even just survive a damaging cybersecurity incident by increasing that company’s cyber resilience.
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What is Cyber Resilience?
In a nutshell, it’s a company’s ability to weather a damaging security incident like a ransomware attack without a major interruption in operations. It’s a combination of agility, flexibility and strength. IBM defines cyber resilience (called cyber resiliency in the UK) as a crucial component of IT for every modern business. Cybersecurity is constantly evolving. A cyber resilient organization is able to stand in the face of unexpected threats as well as more conventional threats from sources like malware, phishing, nation-state threat actors and business email compromise (BEC). It is poised to weather the storms it encounters and continue operating in adverse conditions, responding to emergencies efficiently and quickly mitigating damage expertly and carrying on.
The definition of a cyber-resilient organization will always be a moving target. A report released in March 2021 in MIT’s Sloan Management Review, showed how the factors that can impact cyber resilience have evolved with cybersecurity, making keeping a company safe from cybercrime significantly more complex than in the past. Managing risk and taking steps to keep data and systems safe is no longer exclusively the responsibility of IT and security teams. Instead, as risk becomes more pervasive across company operations and functions, following procedures and taking actions that maintain or improve security (and therefore cyber resilience) has become part of every employee’s job regardless of the job description. That means that organizations need a comprehensive approach to building cyber resilience – including a clear plan for how to manage risk across all aspects of the business.
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What Damages Cyber Resilience
Lack of Executive Buy-In
It is critical for cyber resilience that everyone knows cybersecurity priorities aren’t just the province of the IT team. In order to enforce that mindset, companies need to focus on building a strong cybersecurity culture in which everyone from the CEO to the interns knows that the company takes cybersecurity seriously. That can be a problem, especially when it comes to company execs, creating a blocker that can be hard for IT professionals to overcome. In the SANS report Managing Human Cyber Risk 2021, strategic alignment is cited as one of the three biggest blockers to managing risk, with less than half of the security professionals surveyed saying that they felt that they had the support that they needed to ensure strong security and about 10% saying that they had no support at all.
You have to know there’s a problem before you can fix it, right? Unfortunately, too many SMB owners and executives have their heads in the sand when it comes to cybersecurity. In a CNBC /Momentive Small Business Survey, a stunning 56% of the SMB owners surveyed said they are “not very concerned” about being the victim of a cyberattack in the next 12 months, and among those, 24% said they were “not concerned at all.” Many also dismissed the seriousness of today’s biggest risks. The same survey discovered some even more disturbing findings. The SMB owners were generally quite confident (59%) that even if they were hit with a cyberattack, they’d quickly resolve it. Only 37% were “not very confident” and only 11% were “not confident at all.”
Too Many Tools
If your company has too many security tools to maintain, it’s easy for security personnel to become both overwhelmed and disconnected. In this study of more than 1,000 business executives, 85% of security decision-makers said they believe they are adding technologies faster than they can productively use them, with 71% admitting most existing tools are underutilized. That’s an important vulnerability because the number of security tools that an organization was using has a negative impact on cyber resilience. In an IBM survey, Organizations using 50+ security tools ranked themselves 8% lower in their ability to detect an attack and 7% lower in their ability to respond to an attack than companies with fewer tools.
Incident Response Planning Failure
Incident response planning is a critical component of cyber resilience. It’s also frequently overlooked as a powerful security tool. One reason that it impacts cyber resilience is that incident response planning is a great way to discover vulnerabilities and address them before you have a problem. having an incident response plan also saves you money if the worst does happen. In fact, just having a plan prevents cybersecurity incidents even if you never use it. IBM researchers announced that 39% of organizations with a formal, tested incident response plan experienced an incident, compared to 62% of those who didn’t have a plan.
Over 65% of respondents to the sixth annual Cyber Resilient Organization Study from IBM say that the volume and severity of cybersecurity incidents have significantly increased in the past 12 months. In a hot threat landscape, cyber resilience must be a key priority for every business that wants to safely navigate its way forward. But where should you start? This list of steps to take can give businesses a solid starting point for building their cyber resilience.
Build Your Company’s Cyber Resilience
These tips can help companies improve their cyber resilience and improve their cyberattack survivability chance.
- Stop phishing email from reaching inboxes
- Protect everyone’s credentials with multifactor authentication
- Implement a security-focused procedure for data handling
- Adopt a zero-trust security model
- Determine and define cross-functional responsibilities for keeping data safe
- Set and enforce BYOD policies that prioritize information and system security
- Make a formal incident response plan with playbooks for every scenario
- Drill your incident response plan regularly and adjust it as needed to keep it current
- Automate security processes whenever possible
- Engage in regular security awareness training for every employee
- Utilize cutting-edge technology to strengthen your defenses
- Do not neglect basic maintenance like patching, auditing or configuration
- Stay current on the risks that your organization faces
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Forewarned is Forearmed
Preparation is the magic bullet that can help an organization defeat the horrors that they’re facing from cyberattacks and survive an encounter with danger by increasing its cyber resilience. Remind everyone that cybersecurity is a team sport and make sure that every employee knows that they’re an important part of the security team. By implementing common-sense strategies to increase your company’s cyber resilience, everyone can rest easier at night knowing that you’ve built the strongest possible defenses against cybercrime.
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