In 2023 alone, more than 33 billion records will be stolen by cyber criminals. Last year, phishing attacks increased by 61%, and in a three month period, a total of 3 million phishing attacks were observed worldwide. The majority of of organizations are now experiencing IoT-related cyber attacks every week, and malware, including ransomware, remains as a constant threat.
Cyber crime shows no sign of slowing down. To avoid harm, the current threat landscape means that CISOs need to drive unparalleled operational resilience. By orchestrating the interplay of a robust set of strategies, tactics, technologies, and human resources, CISOs can actively prevent cyber events and ensure business continuity in the face of adversity.
Top CISOs deploy a multi-faceted approach that encompasses risk management, comprehensive incident response planning, monitoring, adaptation and more. In this article, we will explore practical ways for CISOs to not only drive resilience, but to pave the way for sustainable business growth.
The need for operational resilience
As organizations look to prevent a growing number of complex and evolving cyber security threats, operational resilience is becoming a top priority for leaders.
An organization’s level of operational resilience is contingent upon the organization’s ability to adapt to, respond and recover from disruptive events — from cyber attacks to natural disasters to other incidents — without compromising essential operations.
In 2022, 62% of companies stated that cyber security incidents had previously affected business operations, sometimes resulting in severe repercussions.
Operational resilience: Key strategies
Enhance your risk management model. Execute against these operational resilience measures:
1. Proactive risk management. Put security into action. As enterprises transform processes and practices, cyber security leaders must shift from a reactive risk management approach to a proactive approach. CISOs need to identify enterprise security risks and prevent potential problems before they occur.
This often involves conducting comprehensive risk assessments, initiating threat modeling exercises, rearchitecting the cyber security stack, acquiring AI-based threat intelligence, and pursuing new partnerships, among other things. By expanding risk awareness and implementing innovative risk management tactics, CISOs can effectively and proactively mitigate cyber security risk.
2. Strong identity and access management. Only authorized individuals should have access to critical systems and data. CISOs need to enforce strong authentication measures through Zero Trust. No device, user, workload or system should be trusted by default; neither inside or outside of the security perimeter.
Rebuilding security infrastructure around a Zero Trust approach using point solutions may lead to complex deployment and inherent security gaps. To avoid that, some vendors offer practical and holistic approaches to Zero Trust implementation that are based on a single consolidated cyber security architecture.
3. Threat intelligence and information sharing. Ensure that your enterprise leverages the power of big data threat intelligence and information sharing platforms. The best real-time threat intelligence platforms rely on hundreds of millions of sensors and are enriched with AI-based engines.
4. Incident response and business continuity planning. To achieve operational resilience, CISOs need to facilitate development and testing of comprehensive incident response plans and business continuity strategies. Corresponding documents outline roles and responsibilities in the event of a breach. They also describe how to limit an incident’s impact and how to keep the business operational in the wake of a cyber attack.
5. Cloud security and migration strategies. While the coronavirus pandemic prompted sudden, massive transitions to the cloud, these types of digital transformations remain ongoing. Ensure that your organization works with a reputable cloud security provider whose tools can assist with encryption, environment monitoring, and misconfiguration identification.
6. Continuous monitoring and evolution. Cultivating operational resilience takes time. It requires collaboration, continuous exploration of what’s working and what’s not, and adaptation. To manage this process well, CISOs may wish to leverage advanced security technologies, such as those with AI-based features and capabilities.
In our uncertain digital world, implementation of the above strategies can move organizations towards greater resilience, security, and stability.