Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) are normally on the front lines of the battle against cybercrime. With fewer resources to invest in cybersecurity, they are considered easy targets for exploitation. Close to 30% of these businesses experience a cyberattack at least once per week.
This isn’t news to SMBs, they’re the ones who see it every day, and they understand the need for constant vigilance and defense against hackers. Most of these companies are not cybersecurity experts though,and despite the increased adoption of business-wide incident response plans (from 18% in 2015 to 26% in 2020), the ability to actually contain an attack dropped by 13% over the same period.
A couple of key factors contribute to these counter-intuitive results.
1. Despite adopting incident response plans, they don’t actually test their threat-readiness on a consistent basis. When it’s time to put the plan into motion the logistics of carrying it out are a distant memory.
2: Plenty of security products are put in place, but without an eye to exactly how they’ll overlap to provide some form of resiliency. Rather than provide a layered defense, they wind up hampering the ability to properly identify and respond to a cyber attack.
3: They treat cybersecurity like it can be solved all at once. Putting a plan and tools in place only protects you for that given day. Updating and maintenance have to be performed on an ongoing basis for you to actually see the results you’re expecting.
A cyber resilience strategy can help organizations protect uptime and recover from incidents faster. Cyber resilience is often used interchangeably with cybersecurity but the meanings differ in a couple of crucial ways. Cybersecurity is generally focused on blocking a cyber attack from happening in the first place; it’s what you’re relying on BEFORE there’s an incident. Cyber resilience focuses on what can be done before, DURING, and AFTER an incident to recover as quickly as possible with the lowest exposure to the risks that come with any breach. This can include endpoint protection, security policies, backup and data recovery solutions, cyber liability insurance, incident response planning, and a host of other components that contribute to a deep defense posture.
Shield Your Business with Cyber Resilience
Traditional security measures have been outpaced by the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape, to the point that it’s expected a ransomware attack will be happening every 11 seconds in 2021.
It is not a responsible strategy to simply expect that you are going to stop every threat that comes your way. No professional hockey team is going to rely on their goalie to just put up shut-outs forever, they need to have a plan for what happens when they get scored on! So what should your plan look like when the opposition does get one by on you? Here are a few things to check when evaluating your own cyber resilience.
Threat protection – Stop attacks before they start
By properly managing your attack surface you can drastically reduce the number of threats that manage to penetrate your network. Try and use as few tools as possible to cover off these responsibilities to avoid overcomplicating your response. Equipping yourself effectively helps you minimize the first-party and third-party risk that can arise because of data leaks, breaches, or misconfigurations on your own network or those of your vendors.
Adaptability – change as quickly as the threat landscape
Cybercriminals may as well be shapeshifters with how rapidly they change their tactics. If you don’t have the flexibility to modify your own practices you will get outflanked by a group that is incredibly agile and highly motivated.
Recoverability – Get knocked down? Get back up again, fast.
The proper investments in infrastructure, including robust data backups, have to be made if you’re going to be able to avoid lengthy downtime in the event of a successful attack. Conduct a mock drill that lets you understand how quickly you could recover in an ideal scenario. If you don’t like the answer you get there, know that a real-world scenario is bound to be far worse.
Durability – Keep firming up your foundation
Network and business durability can be improved through frequents system enhancements and upgrades. Even simple practices like automating and enforcing patches and updates can prevent your protection from eroding. Compartmentalizing your network can also let you take a hit without it completely overwhelming your organization. Fail to do that and the shock and disruption can sweep through your entire business.
5 Ways Cyber Resilience Protects SMBs
Cyber resilience reduces the impacts of attacks before, during, and after the time they take place. Here are five ways cyber resilience keeps SMBs safe without breaking the bank.
1. Enhances system security, work culture, and internal processes
By coming at the issue of reducing risk with the cyber resilience framework at the front of your mind you can develop strategies tailor-made to take the best advantage of your existing IT infrastructure. You don’t always have to buy more things to be more secure, regardless of what some people might tell you. Using all the features of what you have and communicating expectations of behaviour to employees aren’t expensive new asks, but they’re often neglected in the pursuit of a security silver bullet.
2. Maintains business continuity
Downtime disrupts your revenue, frustrates your staff, and sends your clients into a panic. Limiting the breadth of impact that a cyber attack can have and reducing the amount of time that it takes to spring back into action makes everyone’s lives better.
3. Reduces financial loss
Damages resulting from data breaches can wind up so severe that they drive a business into bankruptcy or forces them to shutter entirely. “How much would I pay to get all of my data back” shouldn’t be a question you need to know the answer to. Limit your risk, reduce the chances of business disruption, and consider insuring yourself against what could otherwise be devastating consequences.
4. Meets regulatory and insurance requirements
Cyber resilience not only helps keep your business off of regulatory radars by satisfactorily following all their specifications it can be beneficial to your business when filing any cyber insurance claims. Avoiding breaches also means not having to deal with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to talk about what client data you may have exposed.
5. Maintains your great reputation
Building off the concept of cyber resilience gives you better control over your outcomes in the event of a successful cyberattack. It helps you block attacks, bounce back quickly if an incident happens, and minimize the chaotic aftereffects of a breach. Demonstrating these capabilities improves your reputation among the companies you do business with and your end customers.
Don’t worry if the concept of cyber resilience looks a bit tough to crack at first glance. It’s a mental shift that takes a while to adjust to. Fortunately, we have experience guiding each of our clients along the journey, and it is something we would be happy to share with you as well. The best place to start is with an assessment to check your business’ current cyber resilience level. Understanding where you are is an incredibly important part of getting where you need to go. Contact us now!
Article curated, modified, and used by permission.
1. Infosecurity Magazine
2. The 2020 Cyber Resilient Organization Study
3. JD Supra Knowledge Center