The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cyber resilience as “The ability to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources”. For NIST, Cyber resiliency is ‘intended to enable mission or business objectives that depend on cyber resources to be achieved in a contested cyber environment’.
It might not be difficult to understand, but many organisations across the world don’t realise that no corporate network is completely safe. It is essential to plan for and anticipate every possible path for cyber-attacks against IT infrastructure. And it is also critical to have systems and procedures in place to recover seamlessly from such an eventuality.
On average, cyber-attacks occur every 11 seconds and cost millions of dollars each time. It was reported that the global financial impact of cybercrime in 2021 was more than US $6 trillion, and yet companies are at risk daily due to the ever-changing risks presented by hackers. Many spend millions on cyber-protection systems and state-of-the-art monitoring and backup solutions, but without a comprehensive strategy, frequently fail at one hurdle or another.
There are three stages to true cyber resiliency:
Before a company can protect itself from hackers, the first step is to perform a deep analysis of all IT infrastructure for areas of vulnerability to anticipate routes of cyber-attacks, system failures and unauthorised access.
Identification, anticipation, and management of all risks associated with network and information systems, especially those points where internal and external stakeholders have business-related access, like email or CRM systems for example.
- Living cyber resilience policy document
- Information and security policies
- Information security management programme
- Physical and environmental security
- Network and communications security
- Malware protection
- Regular security awareness competence checking and training
- Highest levels of encryption
- Ensuring the latest patches are applied to all software
- Comprehensive knowledge and management of data assets
- Supply chain risk management
All elements of a cyber resilience programme rely on a continuous programme of perpetual monitoring networks and information systems so anomalies and potential cyber security incidents can be detected and dealt with immediately.
- Internal and external identity and access control
- Monitoring of hardware and software systems
- Active intrusion prevention system (IPS)
- Regular periodic pen testing
- Endpoint protection
Implementing an incident response management programme to ensure business continuity will help you continue to operate even if you have been hit by a cyber-attack and get back to business as usual as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Regular comprehensive backup of all corporate data
- Periodic test of data restore processes
- Incident response management
- ICT continuity management
- Business continuity management
- Internal and external information sharing and collaboration
Comprehensive risk management programme
As well as the above element, no cyber resilience programme will work if it does not have real acceptance and involvement of all stakeholders. From top to bottom, a comprehensive risk management programme that is actively managed and continually improved, and has board-level commitment and involvement in IT governance structure and processes is the only sure way for this to work.
The whole system should be audited both internally and externally certified and validated periodically. This will help an organisation to present itself as a trusted partner to all companies, clients, and suppliers.
Cyber resilience programmes will:
- Mitigate financial and data losses
- Allow the company to meet its legal and regulatory requirements – GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and NIS (Network and Information Systems) provide precise guidelines and frameworks that companies must adhere to with regard to incident response and business continuity management
- Improve internal and external stakeholder participation in their areas of responsibility
- Protect your brand, intellectual property, and reputation
To enable all of the above, most organisations will look for a partner to help them protect themselves – a partner such as Datto. From a simple backup device, created by the founder, Austin McChord, in 2007, to having one of the most comprehensive suites of software and hardware cyber defence solutions. Datto has an enviable reputation for innovating custom-engineered systems for its more than 10,000 partners across the globe.
Its cybersecurity frameworks (based on NIST protocols) provide a holistic approach to writing sets of policies and standards for organisations across multiple sectors to better understand and improve their current and future security posture in relation to:
- Assessing current operational cybersecurity position
- Assess current adherence to regulations
- Identifying security gaps
- Creating a protective envelope using data and network security tools
- Train personnel
- Maintain and update all system components to a set of rules
Cyber attackers are right at this moment looking for vulnerabilities in IT systems across the world. It is certainly not sensationalist to call on all organisations to realise bad actors are a clear and present danger 24/7/365, and a comprehensive cyber resilience programme is the only way to ensure your data is safe and that your operations can quickly recover.