Cybersecurity resilience ensures business continuity

By Doctor Mafuwafuwane, Logicalis Practice Manager: Security Solutions & Strategy

he Fourth Industrial era is about converting technological trends such as big data analytics and artificial intel­ligence into outcomes such as greater employee productivity, more efficient processes and enhanced customer service delivery. However, the promise of the Fourth Industrial era will only be realised if organisations have sufficient cyber­security measures in place. And this is proving difficult in the face of an unrelenting wave of cyberattacks.

According to Interpol’s African Cyberthreat Assessment Report, published in October 2021, South Africa experienced 230 million cyberat­tacks between January 2020 and February 2021 alone. Consequently, organisations are shifting their cybersecurity focus away from simply keeping criminals out of the company’s network. There is a greater focus on cyber resilience - ensuring the business continues to operate and function even in the event of a cyberattack.

To remain cyber resilient means organisations must prevent, detect, contain, and recover from cybersecurity threats. This can be achieved by periodically assessing the business’s cyberse­curity plans, policies, and procedures, to ensure cybersecurity programmes are fit for purpose and ready for use in the event of an attack.

A key to building a sustainable cyber resilience environment is deploying risk-appropriate infor­mation security measures - relying on people, processes, and technology to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of your information assets, business processes and infrastructure. You have to ensure that adequate security monitoring for the organisation is extended to the perimeter and assess endpoint protection for devices that access the organisa­tion’s network. You should also reduce the risk of Shadow IT, safely adopt licensed software and cloud collaborative tools, and implement comprehensive policies and measures to prevent data loss.

The safeguarding of digital assets relies on the active detection of malicious indicators and the ability to respond assertively to a cyber incident. A cyber resilience programme depends on persistent network and information systems monitoring to detect anomalies and potential cybersecurity incidents before they can cause any significant damage. Also important is building a comprehensive incident response plan, constructing governance and assurance capabilities, implementing a user-awareness programme, adopting a zero-trust model to control access to sensitive data, and capaci­tating a secure workforce.

It’s essential to obtain expert advice when devel­oping your business continuity plan and building team response expertise. An incident response management programme and business conti­nuity measures will help keep the business operational even if it has experienced a cyber-attack and enable your organisation to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible.

Cyber resilience also depends on continuous improvement and adapting to change. Maintaining and updating a cybersecurity improvement programme is essential to risk mitigation. Ensure that the programme is overseen by senior management and aligns with the broader business objectives.

Up-to-the-minute cyberthreats such as phishing seek to target key employees, resulting in increased business downtime, financial losses and reputational damage. Train employees to deal with emerging threats and the most prev­alent forms of social engineering.

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