Most enterprises were unprepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, and the sudden shift to remote working resulted in some ad hoc arrangements to meet the requirements of remote working teams. As a result, IT and security teams often didn’t know which machines were used by their employees, which apps were on those machines, nor whether they had proper security control, secured Wi-Fi connections, or appropriate security patches.
The result of working from anywhere, implemented for the sake of business continuity, led to an exponential rise in cyber threats.
This newly critical business model means enterprises should be concerned about security and cyber-resilience to meet the increasing threat landscape. It’s necessary for organizations to think carefully about how to be cyber-resilient and stay protected during our return to the ‘new normal’ in 2021.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is an essential consideration for all businesses, and it became even more crucial in 2020, as attackers sought to take advantage of the societal fear, uncertainty, and confusion sown by this pandemic. Moreover, digital technology has become vital in working and personal lives, both individuals and enterprises were targeted with cyber-attacks.
Another critical factor is that the average cost of a security breach resulting from remote working can be about $137,000. Further, as hackers see this remote shift as an opportunity, they’ve discovered new malware to infiltrate systems.
It appears that before the outbreak, about 20% of cyber-attacks happen with unseen methods or malware, and the proportion has increased to 35% during the pandemic.
The key reasons for this increased threat landscape include:
- Employees working with fewer security controls and less supervision tempted hackers to carry out criminal activity
- Hackers realized that cybersecurity measures in place are not sufficient to block them from succeeding in their exploitations
- The events of hacktivists are also added to the security threats
- Junior hackers are obtaining more chances to test their cyber-attack packages on organizations and enhance their skills
Cyber Resiliency Becomes High Priority
Everything is changing now, and that includes how your business is approaching cyber-resilience. Traditional disaster recovery plans and business continuity policies are designed to quickly suspend the current operation in situations of illness, natural disaster, or power outages. They don’t properly address cyber-risks and the ability to restore business following a cyber incident. With the impact of COVID-19 and other considerations, including digital transformation and customers’ demand for businesses to be online, being prepared is not optional.
To best protect business, CEOs and cybersecurity leaders need to be concise about the latest threat and prepare a plan to proactively defend from being a victim. In practice, being cyber-resilient is the understanding that every business will be attacked and breached by attackers at some point. Cyber-resilient enterprises know that cyber-criminals with plenty of resources and time will find a loophole to break in. When that happens, they must have proper steps to avoid a complete collapse of operation and recover as soon as possible.
What Does Cyber-Resilience Mean?
Cyber-resiliency is the ability of the organization to deliver crucial business services even when a cyber-attack is taking place. It is the capability to be agile and nimble while creating modularity into the architecture. Some people believe that the disaster recovery plan itself covers resiliency needs. However, cyber-resilience goes beyond the BCP (Business Continuity Plans).
Tips for Improving A Company’s Cyber-Resilience
Cyber-resiliency can’t be accomplished overnight. Most importantly, IT leaders and security offices should have a clear plan for a rapid recovery of business when it is unavoidably targeted.
Here are six ways to immediately fortify your cyber-resilience and fill the possible security gaps.
Employee Training and Education
Empowering employees to identify cyber-threats can improve the security poster of your organization. Security awareness training helps employees to understand threats and vulnerabilities. Best-in-class training related to the evolving threat landscape and COVID-19 situation promises more details about the current situations. It also improves the employees’ defensive skills and measures the true cyber-resilience of your organization in the event of heightened risk.
Reset Your Security Systems
Restart both digital and physical systems to check for any security holes. Audit your data and system access rights granted for the remote work to determine whether they need to be updated or revoked. Analyze your website and application with vulnerability assessment tools for cracks, fraudulent identities, or foul paths.
Know the Enemy and Stay Ahead
Also, take an attacker’s mindset and identify the valuable assets which attract cyber-attackers to compromise and steal. Expect attacks anytime and be prepared with protective measures. Thereby, your business and technical architecture can continue operating even in a limited capacity. Moreover, you should also be vigilant and prepared to recover as well as restore your business to minimum viable functionality using what you’ve learned during a pandemic.
Adopt Advanced Technologies
Automating repetitive and time-consuming manual security processes is one of the excellent ways to improve cyber-resilience. You should consider adopting automation tools for threat hunting, vulnerability management and assessment, SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response), and user behavior analytics.
Looking within AppTrana as a reference, Indusface web application firewall provides intelligent automation of traffic monitoring and risk mitigation – enabling asset monitoring and reporting across cloud environments. It helps to detect and mitigate threats at machine speed, without the interventions of humans.
Explore Insurance Solutions
Further, you need to explore cyber-insurance policies against losses from security threats encountered during pandemic situations, which minimize the impact of incidents.
Engage with A Trusted Security Partner
As digital transformation is apparent in more and more organizations, cyber-resiliency will play a crucial role in defending business operations. However, handling resiliency will require manpower and extensive expertise, which appears to be short supply in most companies these days.
It is recommended to have proactive engagement with trusted security service providers for the provisions of required security solutions and services, which includes reviewing current security solutions, cloud-based availability, time to provisions, and remote management capability.
Many security incidents, including a small power outage, can put your business at risk. As we begin to prepare for the post-COVID world, lagging in cyber-resiliency is a critical error.
Look forward and act proactively with the above-mentioned tips. This not only helps you to position your business as a strong competitor, but will also set you up to thrive digitally.