Why Cyber Resilience Planning Is Critical (Hint: Pandemic)

Cyber resilience plans help organizations keep the lights on and employees productive despite adverse events

The news is dominated now with the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, but if you check out your local broadcasts, you’ll notice other disasters such as ransomware attacks are happening everywhere. This pandemic has only caused criminals to ramp up their attacks, and the effects on small-to-midsized (SMB) businesses and enterprises can be often forgotten, but they are devasting. These issues directly impact company operations as employees may not be able to come into the office, physical locations may be closed and/or a company’s supply chain can be disrupted.

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To help avoid these costly issues, businesses are creating and implementing cyber resilience plans—an updated, modern-day disaster recovery strategy. Cyber resilience plans are defined as the ability to continuously provide the intended outcome despite adverse events. It is a cohesive strategy of information security, business continuity and organizational resilience. A full-fledged cyber resilience plan outlines how to train employees on security awareness, block threats, protect devices, backup data and recover infrastructure quickly when an issue arises. This all-in-one strategy gives executives the peace of mind that their company is protected in the event of an issue and can quickly bounce back to keep operations as smooth as possible.

Now, this may sound complicated and too much for a company to handle, but it is critical that a plan is built and ready to take action before any potential threats happen, as no one wants to start out a plan after an issue has started. Let’s dive into cyber resilience a bit further and look at how it relates to current and very visible disasters.

Why Care About Cyber Resilience?

IT directors and CTOs are often overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks and the last thing they want to do is to plan for theoretical what-if scenarios. However, cyber resilience planning is critical. It is no longer if a cyberattack or disaster will happen, it’s a matter of when. Proactive planning allows companies to rebound quickly when issues arrive. Resilience strategies and training also build in a layer of protection to help minimize the security threats from employees’ actions, especially when they are working remotely.

In today’s world of working from home, organizations are vulnerable to more security threats than before, mainly because everyone is outside their company’s secured business network. A cyber resilience plan takes this into account in three ways. First, there is full coverage with endpoint data protection on every device. Second, the education component helps to teach individuals what not to click on, as users start the chain to infection in 95% of cyberattacks. And last, the use of an automated data backup system that can also ensure ongoing collaboration as information is securely saved to the cloud. It allows business operations to run smoothly, minimizing disruption, even when everyone is in different locations.

Why Protect the Data?

Whether your company is in a highly regulated industry such as health care, government or finance, data privacy legislation is in place that mandates how data is secured and involves hefty fines if leaks were to happen. Whether it is GDPR or one of the U.S. state laws such as CCPA, your company must be able to safely retain records, archive emails and perform discovery tasks.

A strong cyber resilience plan maintains data retention policies and automated backup practices for full compliance.

Cyber Resilience: More Important Now Than Ever Before

The critical need for a business resilience strategy can be summed up in one word: coronavirus. This global pandemic has changed the way businesses operate presently and likely into the future. For companies that are struggling to maintain business continuity, a resilience strategy is essential to keep employees connected and data protected and meet regulatory compliance guidelines.

Cloud services are a great resource to provide collaboration and automated data protection as it also supports mixed IT environments. Endpoint data protection ensures that desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are secured against ransomware and other malware. But regardless of the technologies or strategies you have in place, it is worthless unless it is tested. Only when a plan is enacted do businesses uncover the vulnerabilities or issues they hadn’t considered before. Testing helps to uncover these issues and educates employees on the proper procedures prior to a real-life issue. And even as we all work from remote locations, now is a good time to find those weaker spots and implement best practices.

While an organization may not have a formal plan in place now, current events have shown that it is best to start building one that can be used in the coming weeks or put in place prior to the next big crisis. Whether it is a small, localized issue or larger global concern, it is critical to have a cyber resilience plan to handle all the different protection layers.

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Tyler Moffitt

Tyler Moffitt is a security analyst at Webroot, an OpenText company, who stays deeply immersed within the world of malware. He is focused on improving the customer experience through his work directly with malware samples, creating antimalware intelligence, writing blogs, and presenting webinars and conferences.

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