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What Is Cyber Resilience?

Cyber resilience refers to an organization's ability to identify, respond, and recover swiftly from an IT security incident. Building cyber resilience includes making a risk-focused plan that assumes the business will at some point face a breach or an attack.

Why is cyber resilience important?

Planning how to handle a broad range of cyber risks is always a best practice. The objective of cyber resilience is to prepare for, respond to, and quickly recover from cyber events. Cyber resilience makes it possible for a business to continue operations with minimal disruption to workflow and processes.

A cyber resilience plan is built on a solid assessment of the cyber risks the business is most likely to experience. These include both internal threats, from people within the organization, and external risks like data breaches and ransomware attacks.

Why is cyber resilience even more critical now?

Widespread business disruptions and the rapid expansion of remote work due to the global health crisis has amplified security challenges for many organizations. It heightens the need for a relevant, actionable cyber resilience plan. Many organizations are looking for technology solutions to provide secure, adaptable, engaging, and trusted experiences for their employees, customers, and partners. They aim to:

  • Empower workers to be secure and productive anywhere, using any device
  • Optimize each worker experience for performance, cost, and security
  • Extend enterprise-class operations to the home
  • Lay the groundwork for a secure hybrid workforce of the future, where teams can work in the office or remotely

What are the goals of cyber resilience?

The main goals of a cyber resilience plan are to:

  • Help maintain an appropriate state of cybersecurity preparedness to prevent or reduce compromises of business functions. This includes continuous security monitoring to identify and remediate attacks that cannot be blocked.
  • Provide the ability to maintain essential business functions during a disruptive cyber incident.
  • Restore critical business functions quickly after a breach.

Another goal of cyber resilience is to use intelligence gained from attacks to help the organization adapt its business functions and cyber capabilities to become more cyber resilient.

Components of cyber resilience

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is essential to a cyber resilience strategy. Cybersecurity teams, together with robust tools and policies, help to protect an organization's IT ecosystem—network, hardware, and data—through monitoring, detecting, defending against, and responding to malicious attacks and intrusions.

Cybersecurity policies and solutions are also critical in keeping workers secure, no matter where they are working. Cisco research found that 97 percent of organizations in the Americas have made changes to their cybersecurity policies—specifically to support remote working—since the start of the global health crisis.


Risk management

Risk management seeks to identify risks that could impact an organization's IT ecosystem. Examples include hacking, data breaches, and IT espionage. Risk management also considers risks caused by human error, hardware failure, natural disasters, and power outages.


Business continuity

Business continuity is the ability to maintain operational viability and continue to deliver services following a short-term event that disrupts business. Cyber resilience can be a key ally in an organization's pursuit of business continuity.

The health crisis has tested business continuity because the disruption is on such a wide scale and for an extended period. As part of shoring up cyber resilience, organizations are re-examining their business continuity plans, assessing limitations, and developing more comprehensive business resilience plans.


Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery is a set of procedures, tools, and policies that an organization can deploy to get mission-critical functions up and running again. These can be implemented following a catastrophic event such as a cyber attack, prolonged power outage, or natural disaster.