How to enhance cyber resilience – best practices

For many people, the term cybersecurity is much more familiar than the term cyber resilience, however, these two concepts go hand-in-hand. 

Cybersecurity is how your business protects its systems and data. It refers to the methods and processes used with technology to ensure the infrastructure is secure and able to prevent hackers from gaining access to secure information. Any business that is connected to the internet is vulnerable to cyber attacks, regardless of whether the attack is targeted.

Cyber resilience is the business’s ability to respond to and recover from a cyber attack or data breach. It ensures that the business is able to maintain data integrity and confidentiality and is also able to continue operating should a cyber event occur. 

Cyber events cannot always be prevented. Proper cybersecurity helps minimize the risk of a cyber event, but it is important that businesses also determine how they can respond and recover should an event occur. With the working world becoming increasingly remote, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s becoming even more critical that businesses evaluate their cybersecurity and cyber resilience tools, practices, and standards to ensure that “remote” doesn’t mean “more risk.”

Here are some steps you can take to enhance your cyber resilience:

Enforce the least privilege policy

Only provide access to those who need it. Do not implement a “full access to all” approach when it is unnecessary. This ensures that only people with a need to know are granted access to specific information and documents.

Determine the most important data

By understanding the data at the core of your business’s success, you’ll understand what data a hacker may want to get ahold of, and therefore, you’ll know what data is most important to protect. Everyone should understand what data the business cares about and why it’s important. Does it concern system access, privacy, company identity, or trade secrets? Knowing what kind of data you’re protecting and its value to the business is the first step before evaluating how that data could be at risk and how you can protect it.

Determine the priorities

In the event of an attack or cyber event, it’s important to understand the priority level of your efforts. Which servers are a priority to save? Which data must be prioritized? Knowing the answers to these questions will help your team know how to prioritize their response and will help ensure that the most important functions are saved first. This will also reduce the damage that the event can cause to the business.

Determine minimum viable function

Once an event occurs, it’s important to know “what next?” Outline the steps and procedures the business will follow to ensure that the core systems can continue operating, even if it’s at a reduced capacity. Knowing the minimum viable level of function will ensure that operations can proceed sufficiently to keep the business sustainable.

Create team understanding

All staff members should understand what data needs protecting, why it needs protecting, and how they can ensure it remains protected. Cyber resilience is a team effort, and all employees should be briefed on effective data management and protection techniques and the expectations the business has for their role in data protection and cyber resilience. When data protection is a company-wide initiative, everyone can help mitigate risks and strengthen the security of company data.

Some of the key ways you can ensure your staff understands their role in cyber security is to educate them on how to:

  • Report phishing and other cyber events
  • Set strong passwords
  • Defend against phishing
  • Secure their devices and systems

Evaluate your supply chain

Cyber threats can affect a business even when the threat is outside of its immediate business. It’s important to ensure that your supply chain, especially if it is large and complex, has as few vulnerabilities as possible. Cyber events affecting a supplier can also cause damages to your business, so it is important to be aware of any possibility for this to occur and to minimize the risk as much as possible.

Run tests

Just like with a fire drill, it’s important to test the business response in the event of a cyber event so that everyone understands how to report an event and what to do once it is reported. This increases the odds that the event can be successfully mitigated or that the impact can be reduced. 

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