Cyber attacks and cybercrime have become one of the greatest concerns in the business world, especially to small business owners, with more than 40% of all cyber-attacks aimed at small businesses. Every year, hundreds of companies lose money to scammers and hackers due to a lack of preparedness. Each breach costs an average of $200,000, which forces most companies to go under after one breach.
To mitigate this risk, most businesses invest in the best cybersecurity protocols like setting up two-factor authentication, creating employee awareness, investing in the best firewall protection and antivirus programs, and enhancing their network security protocols.
While proper cybersecurity can enhance a company’s protections against hacks, it does not guarantee business continuity after an attack. This is why businesses need to consider investing in cyber resilience alongside cybersecurity. This is the best way to ensure your business survives in the wake of new cyber-attacks.
Cyber security vs. Cyber Resilience
Cybersecurity is a series of security measures meant to prevent hackers from gaining access to an IT system. Examples of proper Cybersecurity would be teaching employees how they can secure their devices while at work or IT setting up proper email filtering so phishing emails don’t make their way to employees.
Based on the type of Cybersecurity tools used, protecting a network from most cyberattacks is possible. However, cyber-attackers eventually find ways to gain access to a network since 100% prevention is not always possible.
Cyber resilience refers to measures put in place to counter a cyber-attack on a network when it occurs. The end goal of cyber resilience is to allow a business to continue expected output after a cyber-attack and reduce the amount of time needed for the business to bounce back. If your organization is cyber resilient, you can respond and recover from an attack, maintain your company operations as normal and eventually work to overcome the attack and get back on track.
Cyber resilience is a relatively new concept in cyberspace that has become an area of interest for most businesses. Getting back on track is the greatest problem businesses face after a cyber-threat or attack.
A good example of business resilience is the ability to continue handling customer emails and calls while emailing and telephony servers are under attack by hackers, or the ability for employees to continue accessing company programs while working from home while such services are under attack.
What makes cyber resilience different from Cybersecurity is that cyber resilience focuses on extenuating or mitigating the risk while the latter focuses on preventing and detecting possible attacks. In other words, Cybersecurity is a proactive approach to cybercrime, while cyber resilience is a reactive strategy that ensures minimal downtime.
Why Cyber Resilience is important
If a business suffers a serious cyber-attack, the consequences include the inability to deliver goods and services due to vital systems being compromised, as well as putting the company and client data at risk of exposure. Therefore, a cyber resilience strategy is just as important as a proper Cybersecurity strategy because Cybersecurity on its own is not enough to overcome the consequences of an attack.
Common cyber risks faced by companies
To use cyber resilience to your benefit, you first need to understand the types of threats you are up against. Some of the most common cyber risks businesses face include:
Infrastructure breaches and direct hacks
As cyber criminals implement new tools to exploit IT system vulnerabilities, direct attacks have become increasingly common. In a direct hack, the criminal deploys smart attacks on a business’s website, infrastructure, and digital system using malware programs, botnets, and man-in-the-middle attacks, DDoS attacks, etc. This has become easier to do as more businesses move to cloud-based services.
Infrastructure breach attacks are difficult to detect and are often done for financial gain and corporate espionage. They are most commonly used against companies that deal with critical data or online financial transactions (banks and government sectors, for example).
Phishing is a type of cyber threat where a cyber-criminal uses an email that seems legitimate to trick an employee into clicking on a link embedded within the email. The webpage behind the link will then prompt the employee to enter critical data into a form or sheet of some kind, essentially giving away critical data to the cybercriminal.
A cyber-criminal creates an email address in a typical phishing attempt that resembles one from a reputable company or client requesting payment to be sent to a different account. It is easy to fall for a phishing attack when not careful since most of the emails seem legitimate.
While phishing attacks are some of the oldest forms of attacks, they are also the most successful cyber-attacks nowadays.
Social engineering attacks
A social engineering attack is a phishing scam where a hacker tricks a victim into trusting them enough to disclose valuable company data. Hackers use more sophisticated methods to trick unsuspecting victims into following their instructions. Social engineering attacks usually take place on social media platforms, chat pages, and phone calls
Essential elements in a strong cyber resilience program
To make your business cyber resilient against the most common cyber-attacks, your business must implement proper cyber resilience practices.
As technology advances, so, too, do Cybersecurity threats. Therefore, the first thing you should do when enhancing your business’s cyber resilience is improving your business’s Cybersecurity.
Organizations need to make Cybersecurity an integral part of their protection protocols with reliable security tools, including using anti-malware programs and using a VPN for added security. Anti-malware programs detect the presence of viruses and malware in your IT system and get rid of them before they take over your system. With a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you can ensure that your employees access the internet securely and that all data transfer within the network and on the cloud is secured.
Recoverability is the ability to get back to your normal operation after a cyber-security breach. Ensuring company-wide cyber resilience means having backups for all company data to facilitate easier recoverability in the aftermath of a cyber attack.
Another major factor in recoverability is preparation. Companies would do well to run cyber-attack simulations so that employees and management know exactly what to do during and after a cyber attack. Faster response means less damage a cybercriminal can do.
Adaptability refers to a company’s ability to adapt and evolve with the ever-changing methods used for cyberattacks. Adaptability will come in handy in case of a security threat. Cyber resilience focuses on building a team tasked with quickly identifying a threat and taking action to counter it in real-time.
Building up your company’s adaptability means training employees on recognizing new threats and identifying them before they can cause damage. Adaptability goes hand-in-hand with recoverability.
A company’s durability is determined by its ability to continue running on schedule in the wake of an attack. This is done with regular reporting, updates, and system improvements as part of maintaining business resilience.
For example, a company will want to ensure that all of its devices are frequently updated to receive new security improvements. The ability for employees to communicate with each other and with customers in the wake of a cyber-attack is also an important part of durability.
Cyber threats and risks can be a major setback for any business. While most risks are inevitable, managing the threat without crippling the business is why companies need to invest in cyber resilience.