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What is the Difference Between Cyber Resilience and Cybersecurity?

Posted on June 27th, 2022

Cyber attacks and data breaches are top of mind for businesses around the world as attacks on vulnerable networks persist. It is now more important than ever to ensure cybersecurity and resilience. But how do these two practices differ? This blog highlights the differences between cybersecurity and cyber resilience and how to secure your business for optimal cyber protection.

Cyber resilience vs cybersecurity

The term cybersecurity has been around for quite some time, and most organizations are familiar with the basics of what it entails: measures put in place to protect computer networks and data from being stolen or corrupted in some way. In other words, cybersecurity pertains to an organization’s ability to prevent and protect against cyberattacks and threat actors.

However, the unfortunate reality is that it is impossible to be perfectly protected against all potential harms. Despite an organization’s best efforts and use of robust cybersecurity tools, cyber breaches can occur. When breaches do occur, they can wreak all sorts of havoc on a company’s systems and data. This creates a mess of financial ramifications and reputational damage that can take weeks or months to recover from.

This is where cyber resilience comes into play. Cyber resilience refers to an organization's ability to mitigate damage and recover from an attack. It involves tools and plans that help prevent an ongoing attack from doing further damage, as well as restore and recover systems back to working order as efficiently as possible.

Example of cyber resilience

One example of cyber resilience would be having a plan in place for how to continue supporting essential functions — such as customer service or payroll — offline in the event of an emergency. Having such a plan in place would have saved many a headache for businesses that had to deal with the aftermath of the Kronos Ransomware Attack.

In December of 2021, the attack left organizations that were reliant on Kronos software unable to access critical payroll data and pay their employees. If those organizations had access to backup data or an alternate manual payroll process that they could implement in an emergency, it would have significantly reduced the negative impact.

Example of cybersecurity

Examples of cybersecurity include installing anti-malware on all devices, using firewalls to block unauthorized access, or implementing multi-factor authentication for off-site access to applications and data. In essence, it refers to preventative measures and actions taken to minimize the likelihood of a breach or an attack.

How to build a cyber resilience and cybersecurity programs

When it comes to cybersecurity and cyber resilience, it isn’t an “either/or” situation. Keeping critical digital assets safe and mitigating the fallout of an attack require both. To that end, here are some steps and practices your business can implement to build robust cyber resilience and cybersecurity programs.

Continuously monitor

Monitoring for threats not only helps keep your network safe, but it can help with maintaining compliance. Because new cybersecurity threats and zero-day exploits emerge all the time, the best strategy is to implement continuous monitoring.

Continuous monitoring uses automation to scan for weaknesses and vulnerabilities throughout your network. When problems are identified, alerts are sent either directly to the IT team or to a security incident and event management (SIEM) system for triage. The incident response team can then work to prioritize and address the identified risks before they lead to a breach.

Conduct data breach simulations

Data breach simulations are a great way to verify that the security controls you have in place are working as intended. Breach simulations may be done regularly using software, or you may want to periodically invest in penetration testing. Penetration testing is typically done by a person — either a trained cybersecurity professional or an ethical hacker. These ethical hackers use all the same tools a bad actor might have in their toolbox to see if it’s possible to gain network access.

Regularly back up data

In the event your data is stolen or encrypted, having a backup available can go a long way in getting your business back up and running. Depending upon how critical the data in question is, it may be advisable to back it up weekly or even daily. That way you will only lose access to your most recent data – not weeks, months, or years of work – if you are unexpectedly hit by ransomware or another attack.

Educate employees

When it comes to keeping networks and data safe, many organizations focus on intentional, external threats. However, the biggest threat is often unintentional and comes from inside the company. Humans are still one of the weakest links in cybersecurity; some employees click suspicious links and are known to be fooled by phishing attempts. That’s why no cybersecurity strategy is complete if it doesn’t include employee education. Conduct regular training to teach individuals how to identify and report suspicious emails or websites.

Identify network vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities are flaws in your system that, if discovered by a bad actor, can be exploited and used to gain access to your network and data. Network vulnerabilities can leave the door open for phishing, ransomware, DDoS attacks, and more.

Potential vulnerabilities may be identified through continuous monitoring, but also through the use of penetration testing or threat intelligence feeds. Threat intelligence feeds provide real-time information about the types of attacks being launched, new exploits that have been identified, and the types of threats that are most likely to hit your organization.

Evaluate third-party risks

Many organizations that do a great job protecting their own network end up falling short when it comes to evaluating the security posture of their third-party partners and vendors. If your vendors don’t have the right protections in place, they may be providing an avenue for outside threats to hit straight at the heart of your business.

Even if a cyberattack on a vendor doesn’t directly spill into your network, it can lead to other problems stemming from loss of the services they provide or exposure of data you relied on them to protect. In fact, your organization may even be held liable for compliance violations that result from attacks on your third-party vendors. This is why it is so vital to conduct third-party risk assessments with any organization you wish to do business with.

How SecurityScorecard can help create a cyber-resilient and secure network

SecurityScorecard offers a variety of tools and services that can help you build a robust cybersecurity and cyber resilience programs. Our A-F security ratings provide an instant picture of where you stand and serve as a starting point for improving your security posture moving forward.

Our active security services include penetration testing and our digital forensics and incident response offerings help you quickly identify and contain threats. We also offer third-party risk assessments to help you complete your due diligence when working with other organizations. Sign up for a free account and start assessing the security posture of your company today.


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