A cyber resilience framework, or cybersecurity framework, is a crucial component of modern-day business. In the face of rising threats from malware, phishing and high-tech threat actors, a cyber resilient company can position itself as a secure model for data protection customers can trust.

Despite the growing security risks in a remote working world, many companies are still unprepared.  In 2019, just 49% of enterprise leaders felt confident about their organization’s ability to detect a cybersecurity threat — let alone contain it.

Developing cyber resilience does not come down to having the perfect incident response tools. More often than not, the companies that struggle with cybersecurity don’t fail because of a technology issue — instead, it’s a problem with their people.

From the skills gap to internal resistance, your workforce can present roadblocks that can potentially break your organization’s security.

In this article, we’ll discuss the steps enterprises must take to bring people, processes and technology together to devise a robust cyber resilience strategy for the modern age.

What is Cyber Resilience?

Cyber resilience is the measure of an enterprise’s ability to continue with working as normal while it attempts to prevent, detect, control and recover from threats against its data and IT infrastructure.

Without a strong cybersecurity framework, companies are open to attacks, where a bad actor could gain access to networks, infrastructure or personal computer devices, and destroy or steal sensitive data. In turn, this can have a major impact on work, and may even result in fines and a damaged reputation.

What Is a Cyber Resilience Framework?

The standard cyber resilience framework is made up of five key pillars:

  • Identify critical assets, systems and data. The enterprise must understand the resources that support all critical functions within a business context.
  • Protect critical infrastructure services. In this step, the enterprise installs first-line security programs that will limit or contain the impact of any potential threat.
  • Detect strange events and suspected data breaches or data leaks before major damage occurs. This step demands constant security monitoring.
  • Respond to a detected security breach or failure. This function involves an end-to-end incident response plan to ensure business runs as usual in the face of a cyberattack.
  • Recover to restore any affected infrastructure, capabilities or services that were compromised during a cybersecurity incident. This step focuses on making a timely return to normal efforts.

Dr. Larry Ponemon believes a successful cybersecurity framework rests on vigilance and visibility. With a top-down approach, companies can develop an enterprise-wide incident response strategy that enables them to handle threats quickly, while also maintaining the integrity and efficiency of their business model.

How to Improve Your Cybersecurity Framework

Here are five steps your company can take to improve cyber resilience:

1. Employ A CISO Who Knows Incident Response

A survey by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)², interviewed tech leaders from over 250 companies with a solid reputation and track record in cybersecurity. The study revealed that 86% of the organizations that perform well in security have a chief information security officer (CISO) at the helm.

With a CISO, your enterprise will have someone to champion cybersecurity at the C-suite level. They will help educate board members and garner their support for investment in incident response automation tools and developing a more comprehensive cyber resilience framework.

2. Nurture a Culture of Cyber Resilience 

Many companies make the mistake of leaving security solely in the hands of the security team. If only one or two people understand the systems, and how to protect them, the security posture will only get weaker as the company scales.

Enterprises must educate the first line of defense by encouraging the entire workforce to adopt a mindset of cyber resilience. All employees should know how to identify and detect malware and phishing threats, and they should understand the results of a data breach.

When it comes to security matters, leaders must promote teamwork, open communication and sharing across teams. Through peer learning and ongoing education, an enterprise can instill a security-focused culture that serves as a solid foundation for the cyber resilience framework.

3. Create Formal Cybersecurity Policies

A strong risk management policy is an integral aspect of a cybersecurity framework. When your organization has documented proven security processes as part of their official guidelines, your employees have a reliable set of protocols to guide their efforts.

At best, a risk policy will be data-driven, which enlists your IT security team’s skills to identify critical assets and advise on how best to protect them.

4. Make Cyber Resilience a Priority at Board Meetings

Keep in mind your incident-response strategy and overarching cyber resilience framework are live, evolving assets. They are not one-and-done tasks that can be shelved away. It’s crucial that you review your policies and security practices, and keep your data map updated.

The study from (ISC)² found that 97% of cyber-resilient companies have top-level management that understands the importance of a strong cybersecurity framework.

A robust security posture is not possible if all security issues are siloed in a single department. Enterprise leaders must check in with key stakeholders on security policies at least once a month. In doing so, your business can maintain a high level of cyber resilience, so the organization is prepared to respond and manage any threats.

5. Offer Career Paths for Security Professionals

The best security professionals want opportunities for continuous learning and career growth. If they don’t see viable ladders up in their job, they will move to another one.

You can stop your best talent from jumping ship by providing ample training resources and chances for career progression. By growing talent within the company with ongoing training, you keep your staff engaged. In return for offering a platform that facilitates personal and professional growth, you cultivate a loyal workforce of highly-skilled security professionals.

Increasing Cyber Resilience as a Team 

The key to building cyber resilience is to focus less on technology and more on people. After all, you can only tap into the power of data and leverage the latest technology when you have a skilled team in place to oversee your security operations.

Cyber resilience should not be left to the security team alone. Instead, C-suite members must work hard to establish a strong culture that promotes peer learning, open discussion, and ongoing training on the latest incident response tools and cyber resilience strategies.

With this holistic approach that takes all people and processes of the enterprise into account, your cybersecurity framework will be a constantly-evolving cornerstone of the company’s ethos.

More from CISO

Bringing threat intelligence and adversary insights to the forefront: X-Force Research Hub

3 min read - Today defenders are dealing with both a threat landscape that’s constantly changing and attacks that have stood the test of time. Innovation and best practices co-exist in the criminal world, and one mustn’t distract us from the other. IBM X-Force is continuously observing new attack vectors and novel malware in the wild, as adversaries seek to evade detection innovations. But we also know that tried and true tactics — from phishing and exploiting known vulnerabilities to using compromised credentials and…

What’s new in the 2023 Cost of a Data Breach report

3 min read - Data breach costs continue to grow, according to new research, reaching a record-high global average of $4.45 million, representing a 15% increase over three years. Costs in the healthcare industry continued to top the charts, as the most expensive industry for the 13th year in a row. Yet as breach costs continue to climb, the research points to new opportunities for containing breach costs. The research, conducted independently by Ponemon Institute and analyzed and published by IBM Security, constitutes the…

Cyber leaders: Stop being your own worst career enemy. Here’s how.

24 min read - Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your favorite audio content. We’ve been beating the cyber talent shortage drum for a while now, and with good reason. The vacancy numbers are staggering, with some in the industry reporting as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions as of April 2023 and projecting the disparity between supply and demand will remain until 2025. Perhaps one of the best (and arguably only) ways we can realistically bridge this gap is to…

Poor communication during a data breach can cost you — Here’s how to avoid it

5 min read - No one needs to tell you that data breaches are costly. That data has been quantified and the numbers are staggering. In fact, the IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach estimates that the average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million, with 83% of organizations experiencing one or more security incidents. But what’s talked about less often (and we think should be talked about more) is how communication — both good and bad — factors into…