Cyber resilience is a comprehensive cyber security strategy that covers an organization’s entire ecosystem. Cyber resilience proactively addresses both external and internal threats that endanger private data and physical assets. Many security-focused organizations consider cyber resilience to be analogous to personal hygiene, with both emphasizing overall health, resilience, and preventative measures. Because technology constantly changes – bringing with it new weaknesses and cyber criminals that would capitalize on undocumented flaws – it is not sufficient for an organization to be merely reactive to cyber threats.

Benefits of Cyber Resilience

The best benefit of a solid cyber resilience campaign is strong resistance to external threats. Studying news and technical papers to anticipate emerging threats is vital to applying preventative measures. Keeping defensive measures such as operating systems and firewalls current, licensed, and updated is vital to preventing and detecting threats. Organizations should also make efforts to train all of their employees on how to recognize and report social engineering attacks such as phishing, identity theft, and attachments with viral infections.

Cyber resilience involves more than anticipating, preventing, and reacting to external threats, however. Typical usage, wear, and tear from IT assets can also be threats to data. Data fragmentation, outdated software, and malfunctioning hardware are examples of internal threats that can compromise data or introduce network vulnerabilities. Routine maintenance tasks – such as data backups, network scans, and system scans – are essential to protecting an organization’s network. Both software and hardware assets should be kept up-to-date with patches, newer versions, or complete replacements on a regular basis.

Common Obstacles to Successful Cyber Resilience Campaigns

Just as properly-implemented cyber resilience can protect an organization’s network and save you from loss of time, money, and prestige, poorly-implemented cyber security can expose an organization to both internal and external crises. Having no data backup strategy or a strategy that does not provide sufficient coverage of vital data can literally end an organization when their storage devices fail,  are permanently corrupted or data is deleted as they fail.

Data that is not properly stored can be as dangerous as – if not more dangerous than – lost data; not having or implementing procedures for where and when to store data lead to losses of time and money for your business. Misplaced data can be an enticing target for hackers and snoopers when sensitive data is stored in an unencrypted location. Any software that is out-of-date is a security risk, as reputable software companies will release frequent patches to address vulnerabilities, previously undetected defects, and other problems that can damage an organization’s data or physical assets.

The most devastating cyber security risks completely bypass defensive software and hardware by applying social engineering. Attacks such as phishing, whaling, and tailgating, allow malicious parties to take advantage of targets that have not been trained against social engineering attacks to gain access to restricted areas, passwords, financial information, and other information that would be virtually inaccessible via software-based cyber-attacks. Integrating routine training to inform employees how to detect social engineering attacks and not fall prey to them is as important as keeping software and hardware up-to-date.

Perform Risk Management on Valuable Data and Processes

One aspect of any technical venture is that 100% coverage is rarely possible. Unfortunately, this is true of any cyber security effort, often due to the ever-changing state of technology. Before designing and implementing a cyber resilience strategy, an organization should execute a realistic assessment on what their most important data and processes are. The goal of this exercise is to group your technical assets ranging from critical – where loss or corruption could lead to the dissolution of the company – to cosmetic – where loss or corruption could be resolved with minimal effort and expenses. An organization’s cyber resilience strategy should focus primarily on protecting and recovering critical assets.

Identify and Establish Recovery Plans for Likely Risks

After defining what an organization’s cyber security efforts should protect most diligently, you should identify the risks that are most likely to threaten their valuable assets. Threats can be physical – such as natural disasters and acts of terrorism – as well as technical. You should create strategic plans for each type of risk; the plans should define how to measure the damage inflicted by the risk, methods to stop the spread of the risk, gathering data on the risk to inform interested parties such as law enforcement and victims, and efforts to inform your leaders and external partners about every aspect of the risk and how you will remediate the damage. Recovery plans need to be regularly reviewed and updated, especially when an organization’s values, operating procedures, or equipment undergo dramatic changes.

Establish and Enforce Cyber Security Policies

Successful cyber resilience involves both keeping technological assets up-to-date and ensuring that your employees are adhering to effective cyber security protocol. Enforcing mandatory password changes on routine intervals can prevent brute-force attacks and minimize the effects of social engineering attacks. Implementing password complexity by rejecting dictionary words and requiring the usage of special characters and non-alphabetical characters renders brute-force attacks even less likely to succeed.

Installations of new hardware and software should be performed and documented by a specially designated IT team. Implementing two-factor authorization further fortifies an organization’s security by requiring employees to enter additional code – such as a fingerprint or a verification code generated from a hardware token – in addition to the user’s username and password. A policy for encrypting data can prevent data leaks when physical assets are stolen or accessed by unauthorized parties. Security access should be granted on a need-only basis, and that access should be regularly reviewed.

Maintenance of Technical Inventory

Because obsolete or neglected technical assets can provide unauthorized access to external attackers, cyber resilience strategies should prioritize the creation and routine updating of a complete list of all technical assets. Technical assets can be divided into three categories: hardware (which includes devices such as printers and fax machines as well as computerized devices), software (which includes all installed programs on company hardware), and applications (which include any external app or web site that does not reside on company hardware). Assets that are not actively used or that have been archived should be removed from your network immediately. You should ensure that all assets are created by reputable companies.

You also want to make sure that you have all of the tools you need to establish and maintain network security. Pertinent tools and devices include firewalls, up-to-date operating systems, data wipers, password vaults, encryption software, and Virtual Private Network software. Your IT maintenance department should schedule routine updates and have procedures to apply critical patches. Organizations should designate specific software and apps for their tasks, both to reduce vulnerabilities and to decrease the amount of upkeep and technical support regarding software-related and application-related technical issues.

Cyber Resilience and Remote Workers

Remote workers are especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks due to their physical separation from your headquarters and its physical safeguards. Both the remote worker and your IT maintenance teams will need to exert additional effort to protect private data and operations. Remote workers should avoid public wi-fi networks as much as possible; a home network that is either secured with a strong password or wired via ethernet or a cable modem are safer alternatives. Remote workers should use Virtual Private Networks when they connect to your network, especially when the remote workers are connected to a wi-fi network. Remote workers should apply physical security measures such as laptop locks and physical safes to protect company assets from theft. Travelling employees need to keep company assets physically safe, such as not leaving it visible in a locked car, and digitally safe with data encryption.

Hire Cyber Security Assessment Services

Organizations should not rely solely on self-audits when it comes to the security of their network. Hiring a cyber security consulting firm should be a regular part of an organization’s cyber security policy, as an ethical hacker discovering an exploit is far preferable to a malicious hacker finding the same exploit. Comprehensive penetration testing stress-tests an organization’s security measures for vulnerabilities; the results of this type of testing highlight weaknesses and provide guidance on how to resolve or mitigate the risks associated with the detected weaknesses. Network security assessments involve reviewing your policies as well as equipment to detect and address both high-level and low-level issues. Web application scans focus on the applications that an organization uses, looking for vulnerabilities and suggesting either alternate applications or ways to close the security gaps on the client side. Some external testing efforts focus solely on social engineering attacks – such as phishing and tailgating – assessing the security abilities of the employees themselves and providing valuable insights and instructions on how to prevent successful social engineering attacks.

How CyberCompass Can Enhance Your Cyber Resilience

CyberCompass provides a variety of software and consulting services that can assist your business with every aspect of your cyber security. We craft business continuity plans to help you plan for and recover from threats ranging from the loss of an employee to global crises. We calculate your risk score through a comprehensive risk assessment and create a risk management plan that guides you to a more effective state of cyber security. Our data privacy consultation services help organizations protect their sensitive data and adhere to laws and regulations such as HIPAA and CCPA.

Applying CyberCompass’ Products for Maximum Cyber Protection

CyberCompass provides complete cyber resilience across your entire business ecosystem. We believe that information plus application equals resilience and can help your business build that infrastructure in less than 90 days.

CyberCompass Surveyor features provide you information into your vulnerabilities through workforce surveys, technology scans, vendors risk tracking, and reviews of frameworks and regulations. We help you identify and prioritize risks, provide plans to address or mitigate the risks, and maximize compliance with regulations and strong security policies. CyberCompass Calibrator features focus on applying solutions to your risks through cybersecurity awareness training, updating policies and procedures and developing your business continuity plans. CyberCompass Calibrator also helps an organization find, hire, and set up contractual agreements with external vendors.

CyberCompass Security focuses on your remote workers, identifying and resolving both technical issues – such as outdated software – and behavioral issues – such as remote employees being over-reliant on unsecured wi-fi networks. CyberCompass Academy is our on-demand cybersecurity awareness training that teaches employees about cyber security threats, best practices for cyber defense, and ways to prevent being victimized by social engineering attacks.

CyberCompass offers free demos of our services. Please fill out our online form to request a demo, to inquire about a price quote, or to schedule a phone consultation.

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