December 29, 2023
Cyber resilience is a term in IT that refers to an organisation's ability to protect core services and prevent issues before they occur. This will involve identifying risks and vulnerabilities associated with any services that support critical business processes and conducting risk assessments on the impact of an outage. Once these are understood, steps are then taken to mitigate these risks, for example removing single points of failure in cloud infrastructure by adding load-balancing capabilities.
While many business leaders will be familiar with business continuity planning, having dealt with physical disruptions during their careers, cyber resilience may be less tangible for some, yet it’s a significant aspect of an organisation's overall well-being.
Some key points to impart when considering and discussing the importance of business continuity and cyber resilience planning are:
Critical asset protection
Business continuity and cyber resilience efforts should prioritise the identification and safeguarding of critical assets such as data, systems and processes to ensure continuous operations.
Downtime and recovery
The potential financial and reputational impact of downtime caused by disruptions or cyber incidents needs to be discussed and quantified – how would revenues, customer service and the organisation’s reputation be impacted?
A well-prepared business continuity and cyber resilience plan should help an organisation regain control quickly and recover after an incident by minimising downtime, financial losses, and ensuring a quick return to normal operations.
Reputation and trust
In their brand strategy research and insights Gartner state – “83% of consumers refuse to do business with brands they do not trust. To build trust, brands must focus on exhibiting transparency, warmth, honesty, and reliability”. Business continuity and cyber resilience are critical in maintaining customer trust and confidence. Similarly, a breach or disruption can result in negative publicity, eroding the trust of customers, partners, and stakeholders. Planning mitigates these risks and aids reputation management.
With business continuity and cyber resilience measures in place meeting legal and regulatory requirements should be more straightforward, limiting the imposition of financial penalties, legal consequences and reputational damage for non-compliance.
Business operations are interconnected, especially in terms of third-party relationships, therefore business continuity and cyber resilience planning should extend to vendors and partners to prevent supply chain disruptions.
Whilst there is an investment required for the development of strategies for business continuity and cyber resilience, ultimately a resilient business is one that can adapt more readily to change.
Employees play a key role in many aspects of maintaining cyber resilience. Staff should be educated on cyber security best practices, the part they play in planning and continual improvement, plus the importance of reporting potential threats promptly.
As we head into 2024 it's worth taking stock of how cyber resilience is important to an organisation's overall well-being.