Building Cyber Resilience in an Era of Constant Threats

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We find ourselves in urgent times in the area of security and resiliency. The continual barrage of ever-evolving, more sophisticated cyber-attacks, like the extensive WannaCrypt ransomware attack that has affected people in more than 150 countries, is the reality of the connected world. It is this state of disruption that ushers in this year’s Business Continuity Awareness Week, which brings together industry experts online to discuss ways to work together to strengthen cyber resilience capabilities.

When one cybersecurity flaw is discovered and repaired, hackers often quickly find another to exploit. This creates a “whack-a-mole” scenario that costs time and money to maintain. More importantly, it distracts from the business goals an organization wants to achieve. These realities should motivate us further to enrich our cyber resilience strategies and no longer settle for the recovery-focused tactics of the past.

From credit card fraud and personal identity theft, to more wide-scale cybersecurity events like the recent hacking of an Austrian hotel’s key card system, no person or organization is immune from these threats. Likewise, hackers do not discriminate between industries; retail giants, financial institutions, hotel chains, and technology companies have all fallen victim to these attacks.

In today’s digital world, mobile devices and the Internet of Things link all kinds of electronic communications, home and industrial appliances, and more, to make the world smaller and spark new commerce, culture, and camaraderie. However, we also must appreciate the limitations of that technology and the risks that come with it.

Cyber resilience represents a new way of doing things that is well-suited for today’s “always-on” era where there is zero tolerance for downtime. So how should enterprises create cyber resiliency strategies that account for IT complexity across departments, applications, locations, facilities, and hybrid cloud environments?

One of the ways we can renew our commitment to cyber resilience going forward is to use our innovations to our advantage. In addition to creating a new solution or application that makes everyday lives easier and boosts the company’s bottom line, we need to envision the security and protection of that technology or application with equal intensity.

Things like software defined resiliency, which incorporates the latest cloud and cognitive capabilities into resiliency strategy, gives organizations the necessary breathing room to evolve over time. Hybrid cloud environments, for example, can often be scaled up or down to accommodate changing data capacity.

To accurately calibrate those systems and manage diverse types of infrastructure, things like resiliency communications systems and cloud resiliency orchestration are transforming the way IT experts identify and solve both natural and man-made incidents. Cloud-based resiliency solutions also make it easier to ensure a “golden copy” of your data to meet required recovery time and point objectives in the event of a breach.

These solutions advance traditional approaches to help account for the changes we have seen in the enterprise, and give on-site experts greater visibility into the technology they’re managing on a daily basis. Using data analytics and automation to reach pre-determined resiliency outcomes eases the burden for human experts to spend unnecessary time or resources on troubleshooting. This gives them more flexibility to solve larger issues or identify potential flaws that could allow future cyberattacks.

In the end, applying innovations to all aspects of IT, and empowering people with new resiliency strategies and tools, will make organizations more resilient in the face of cyberattacks. Approaching these threats head-on, with the support of C-suite executives and management across an entire company, increases awareness to the severity of these threats and sparks the type of collaboration that will help organizations reach the level of cyber resilience they need to outlast their competitors and protect their clients.

Business Continuity Awareness Week is taking place this week from May 15 – May 19. For more information, and a series of IBM webinars addressing cyber resilience, visit:

General Manager, Global Resiliency Services, IBM

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