After a month of discussing the importance of cyber resilience, what an insufficient cyber resilience plan will cost, and how to get executives involved, the question remains: is your organization cyber resilient?
The answer to this question is glaringly obvious following a successful breach, but we’d be willing to bet that most organizations would rather know this before they are in the eye of the storm. If you have been reading through our month focusing on cyber resilience, you will already know that millions of dollars are at stake, so proactivity is key in reducing the impact of a breach.
Start with a cyber resilience review
Frameworks already exist to perform an initial evaluation of an organization’s cyber resilience, namely the Cyber Resilience Review from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. This downloadable assessment package asks a series of questions to determine an organization’s maturity indication level across all areas of cyber resilience, including:
- Asset Management
- Controls Management
- Configuration and Change Management
- Vulnerability Management
- Incident Management
- Service Continuity Management
- Risk Management
- External Dependency Management
- Training and Awareness
- Situational Awareness
This is a helpful first step in identifying which areas need attention and what to prioritize as you create a cyber resilience plan.
Cyber Resilience isn’t a checklist
Cyber resilience frameworks are excellent tools in identifying where organizations are vulnerable, but true cyber resilience includes ongoing evaluations of current threats, risk levels, and incident response plans. It’s multilayered and ever-evolving.
The most successful cyber resilience plans always look at people, processes, and technology. All three of these elements can be a cybersecurity strong point or its weakest link. Regardless, each one plays a critical role in resilience, should an attack get through.
Key Areas of Cyber Resilience
Proper preparation and identification
Preparing for a future attack can feel a lot like chasing the wind, but those in IT security will tell you that despite the inevitability of an unknown attack getting through at some point, proper preparation and threat identification will significantly reduce these incidents. This preparation can include reducing rigid dependencies to limit the domino effect as well as testing maintenance scripts, but it should definitely include a lot of rehearsing worst case scenarios.
Second to preparing and identifying threats is protecting against these attacks. A vast majority of attacks can be protected against, especially if an organization is constantly evaluating new threats.
Detecting a breach
The faster an organization is able to detect a breach, the faster they are able to activate an incident response plan and start to mitigate the damage. A lot of this detection can be automated, but testing this automation regularly is essential to success in this area.
Responding quickly and thoughtfully
As soon as a breach occurs, people start responding. Unfortunately, without a strong cyber resilience strategy and incident response plan, these responses aren’t as efficient or effective as they can be and this is where money starts to disappear. Being cyber resilient means not having to make decisions in the middle of a crisis so that energy and money are spent wisely.
The road to recovery
Once the injury has been sustained, an organization starts the road to recovery. This road is made a lot less daunting if it has previously been mapped out. Of course, there will still be a few surprises, but way fewer than starting from scratch. Some of the fallout from a cybersecurity breach won’t occur until months afterward, so it’s helpful to see what is up ahead.
No organization can eliminate risk. If you could, you would also likely be eliminating innovation and would quickly fall behind. A strong cyber resilience strategy provides a way to step out confidently, knowing that when a breach occurs, you can recover.