Cyber Resilience as a Success Factor for the Future
Not least, the global Covid19 pandemic has shown companies that resilience is one of the essential success factors for a successful continuation of their business models.
Sudden events such as natural disasters, political tensions, or the increasing number of targeted cyber attacks can place a heavy burden on companies of all sizes in a wide range of industries.
But what is resilience, and how can companies increase it to arm themselves against the risks mentioned at the beginning? And what contribution can IT and cybersecurity make to this? These are the questions we would like to address in this blog post.
What is Resilience, and What Advantages do Resilient Companies have?
Resilience (lat. resilience “to bounce back, rebound”) primarily means the resistance of a system or object to external influences. This includes absorptive capacity, which describes how strong the external impact on the system is. In addition, resilience includes the ability to reorganize and restore itself to its previous state after an external shock event. In ecology, stability is described as a unique state, and resilience is the ability to maintain it.
The opposite of resilience is defined as fragility. While a hammer blow would burst a low-resilience glass ball, a rubber ball would cushion it and could quickly restore its state through its material properties.
For companies and organizations with low resilience, even minor external events can lead to a severe economic crisis or even threaten their existence. In contrast, companies with a high level of resilience can cope with even severe disasters after a short reorganization phase or even emerge strengthened from them.
ISO22316:2017 defines corporate resilience as “the ability of a company to adapt to and absorb a changing environment to achieve its business objectives and continue to grow.” Resilience thus represents a competitive advantage for sustainable growth, described by four essential characteristics: Flexibility, Robustness, Situation Awareness, and Recovery.
Flexibility describes the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, shifting and reprioritizing resources as needed to exactly where they are needed. Robustness means the ability to withstand fundamental threats, which can be detected and anticipated early through good situation awareness. Finally, recovery has the task of restoring the previous state as quickly as possible after a shock occurs.
Unfortunately, resilience is not easy to measure and often does not follow a clear goal. As a result, there is no single approach or standard solution for building a resilient organization. Instead, it is a company-wide attitude across all departments and divisions to resist and prepare for the unexpected and unpredictable.
What does this mean for IT?
In times of digitized processes and information flows, IT resilience can make a significant contribution to this. Protecting IT systems and infrastructures against unknown and difficult-to-predict risks and quickly restoring the availability of IT services after a disruption is among the main tasks of an IT department here.
The support and maintenance of a company’s core processes are the main focus here. These operational processes must be prioritized in the event of recovery to keep downtime as low as possible.
A key challenge of IT resilience is balancing the costs and benefits of the measures devised. While significant resilience gains can be achieved at the outset with relatively little effort, costs multiply as more specific measures progress.
Therefore, the balance between increasing resilience and the human, organizational and financial resources required to do so is one of the most critical issues facing IT.
Why does cyber resilience represent a competitive advantage for companies?
The aspects discussed in this article apply equally to a company’s cybersecurity. While the core task of information security is to implement policies and technical measures to mitigate or eliminate known risks, the focus of cybersecurity is to defend against unknown threats.
This is because it is usually impossible to predict by whom, when, and in what form a cyberattack on a company will be launched. The challenge of cybersecurity is to increase IT resilience by implementing technical measures, increasing employee awareness, and making procedural and organizational adjustments as a preventive measure before an attack even occurs.
It is even more challenging to prepare for threats that are not yet known and therefore not foreseeable. Flexibility and resilience and a certain mindset for coping with such a threat and increasing resilience are recommended here. The so-called cyber resilience makes an essential contribution to a company’s cybersecurity and thus contributes to IT and ultimately to corporate resilience.
We would be happy to support you in strengthening your company’s resilience against cyber attacks and thus expanding your competitive advantages.
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