In recent years, cybercrime has become one of the biggest concerns in the business world. Millions of businesses around the world lose colossal amounts of money to hackers and scammers every year. To prevent this, companies need to build their cyber resilience to levels that they can stave off these attacks when they do happen.
It is estimated that 40% of attacks are aimed at small businesses that are ill-prepared and usually go under after a single breach. A single breach can cost a small business as much as $200, 000 according to research conducted by Accenture, a sum that most of them cannot afford to lose especially if they are starting.
Cyber resilience must be adopted as a priority item in all cybersecurity strategies to help businesses survive in this new environment.
What is cyber resilience?
Cyber resilience is a business’ ability to continue delivering or performing at normal capacity even when it suffers a breach or at the receiving end of hacking attempts. It’s a new concept that has rapidly become a subject of discussion in cybersecurity circles.
As an example, a business can be said to be cyber resilient if it can still handle customer support calls and emails even when its telephony and email servers are being attacked by hackers. If adopted as part of the larger cybersecurity plan, cyber resilience can help a business survive even after a breach has occurred on its IT infrastructure.
Cyber resilience differs from cybersecurity in that it focuses on mitigation or extenuation as compared to cybersecurity that mainly focuses on detection and prevention. In the current cybersecurity environment, it can be hard for a business to be fully secure given the number of technologies being utilized today. For instance, a business may have a secure network but have vulnerable third-party software on its systems whose code they cannot control.
The importance of cyber resilience
Cyber resilience is important to businesses vulnerable to hack attacks and internal threats for the following reasons:
- It reduces damage in case of a breach
- It helps business to continue functioning even when targeted or hacked
- It reduces losses as a result of cyber breaches
- It makes it easier for businesses to recover after a breach. Etc.
Cyber risks faced by companies
Every day, new attack methods are being devised to target businesses based on data from various cybersecurity monitoring services. A recent Accenture cybersecurity report indicated that 68% of business leaders are worried that their cybersecurity risks are increasing. Here are some of the top cyber risks facing businesses today:
Direct hacks- infrastructure breaches
With new attack tools and vulnerabilities being released each day, organized, and sometimes state-sponsored direct hacks are becoming commonplace. A direct hack involves criminals launching sophisticated attacks on a company’s critical infrastructure, websites, and other digital systems. This has become easier as more business shift their IT infrastructure to the cloud.
These attacks are usually carried out with a clear motive and are usually quite difficult to detect or ward off. According to a recent Verizon report, 71% of such breaches are financially motivated while the rest is done for espionage. If your company deals with critical data and online transactions, then you have a much higher chance of suffering a direct attack.
Phishing and social engineering attacks
Phishing refers to an attack where criminals send emails to employees within an organization pretending to be someone else to trick them into doing something. For instance, a criminal can create an email address resembling that of an important client asking an accountant to send a payment to a different account. Phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated as criminals devise new ways to impersonate and victimize their targets.
Social engineering attacks are closely related to phishing but normally utilize more sophisticated techniques to convince victims to do the attacker’s bidding. They are usually carried out on instant messaging platforms, telephones, and even social media chat pages.
There are several more cybersecurity risks facing businesses today that can be mitigated through a robust cybersecurity strategy. Here are some of them:
- Ransomware attacks
- XSS and website attacks
- DDOS attacks
- Mobile attacks
- SQL injection attacks, etc.
Essential tools and techniques for cyber resilience
Here are some tools and techniques you can use to make your business more cyber resilient in the current environment:
You can make your communication and network more secure by implementing a companywide VPN policy. Ensure that every employee in your organization accesses the internet and company resources securely by using a VPN router to protect all devices. Among other functions, a VPN ensures that data transmitted from and to all devices in your company network is encrypted and secured.
A VPN will make it impossible for hackers who gain access to your network to read or steal your data while it’s on transit thus making your business more cyber resilient.
Use updated antivirus tools
Most companies have adopted a relaxed device security policy that does not compel users to install and update antiviruses. To be more cyber resilient, a business needs to make use of strong antiviruses and implement a strict antivirus policy.
Train staff on cybersecurity
All employees need to receive regular cybersecurity training. This will make them more aware of how their habits can open the company to hackers and criminals. At the same time, they will know how to identify and report suspicious cyber activity so that the responsible security personnel can react and prevent damage.
5 ways to build a strong cyber resilience program
1. Identify security risks
The first step to being cyber resilient is to know and appreciate what you are dealing with. It will help if you can identify risks facing your organization before you formulate a strategy to mitigate them.
2. Devise a prevention strategy
The next step to being cyber resilient is to implement strategies to prevent hacks or breaches from taking place. This can be in the form of tools, training, and cybersecurity policies.
3. Come up with a recovery plan
This is the most important part of ensuring that your business is cyber resilient. A recovery plan will help your business to continue functioning after a breach.
4. Include cyber resilience as part of your risk management strategy
Many businesses have robust risk management strategies for other aspects of their businesses but do not include cyber-attacks as a risk. By including cyber resilience in your overall risk management plan, your business will be better prepared for cyber-attacks.
5. Focus on prevention
While being prepared for a breach is important, it’s better to be safe than wait to be attacked to react. Instead, implement a proactive cybersecurity strategy that will prevent breaches from happening in the first place. Stay secure!
Matthew Stern is a technology content strategist at TechFools, a tech blog aiming at informing readers about the potential dangers of technology and introducing them to the best ways to protect themselves online.
As a tech enthusiast and an advocate for digital freedom, Matthew is dedicated to introducing his readers to the latest technology trends and teaching them how to gain control over their digital lives.