In an era where cyber-crime has seen exponential growth, it is only prudent for an organization to keep itself safe. However, the terms cyber-resilience and cyber strategy seem to be used interchangeably but have different meanings.
A cyber strategy is the processes and technology you use to keep your network, data, and systems safe from cyber-attacks. On the other hand, cyber resilience refers to your organization’s ability or strength to bounce back and continue operations after an attack. Cyber resilience is critical for an organization as it prevents damages and downtimes once an attack happens. The two are separate yet intertwined and symbiotic.
Types of cyber risks faced by organizations
All organizations have dealt with some form of cyber-attack, with some of the most common being:
Phishing attacks are a form of social engineering attacks where hackers use human emotions to attack. Phishing mostly occurs via email, where the victim receives an email from a seemingly trusted source with an attachment or link.
The emails usually evoke feelings of urgency, which makes the victim click without questioning the email source. The attachment or link redirects the victim to a bogus site, where it prompts the victim into revealing sensitive information such as usernames and passwords.
Ransomware involves the hijacking of your data or devices, making them inaccessible by encryption. The attackers demand money in exchange for the decryption key or else threaten to leak your data. Leaking your sensitive data would lead to a loss of reputation and lawsuits. Most companies pay up, although there is no guarantee they will get the decryption key.
Malware is a significant problem for most organizations and encompasses cyber threats such as trojans and viruses. Malware means malicious software and is a broad term for malicious code hackers create to steal and destroy company data and gain access to their networks. Malware infects a company’s networks when staff inadvertently downloads infected files from spam emails, websites, and connecting to infected devices or networks.
How to build a strong cyber resilience program
You can build a robust cyber-resilience program in several ways:
1. Identify your organization’s sensitive data
Your organization’s data, such as health records, IP (Intellectual Property), customer payment information, or personal and company financial data are sensitive transactions. One of the ways to protect this data is by using a VPN (Virtual Private Networks) to use the internet safely. The software does many things; including encrypting all you is sent and received data using a substantial encryption standard.
2. Define data storage
Once you identify the company’s sensitive data, determine where it will be stored. Since you might find it impossible to protect every device on the premises, identify where to store the sensitive data, and have controls regarding data storage and transmission.
3. Train Staff
The whole company has an obligation towards cyber security. Train the staff to identify any phishing scams and report them immediately if they suspect they have clicked on a malicious link or downloaded a malicious attachment. The team should also be familiar with managing passwords.
4. Use multifactor authentication
Most organizations, especially during the COVID-19 19 lockdowns, have employees who remotely access the company data. Most of the time, the only control in place is a password, which can be easily cracked by an experienced hacker. A multifactor authentication system allows the employee to use a one-time password sent to devices they have exclusive access to. No hacker can access the data or system without the one-time authentication code.
5. Engage a trusted third party
Cyber security is a significant challenge in many organizations. You can hire a trusted and reputable third party with the skills and resources to carry out penetration and risk assessments for your company. The third-party will give you an unbiased report on your cybersecurity and cyber resilience status and its effectiveness.
When hackers attack your company, you need to be armed with an effective cyber-resilience program, which counters the cyber attack’s effects. You may have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place, but you need to be prepared not to experience downtimes when resolving the issue if an attack gets past it.