Where Cyber Resiliency Can Make an Impact in 2018

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Over the last year, frequent cyberattacks, data breaches, and other IT disruptions have garnered significant media attention and raised a new level of awareness among business leaders, IT professionals, and the general public. While that heightened awareness is a positive development, the mandate to secure and protect data is a growing business concern.

Therefore, it is crucial that organizations start thinking about security strategy in a more holistic and innovative way. We believe that Cyber Resiliency – which unites information security, networks, business continuity, and organizational resilience – is the most comprehensive strategy to detect unknown threats, respond to cyber outbreaks, recover access to critical data, and protect against future attacks.

As we look ahead to the next 12 months, here are five areas where cyber resiliency will play a key role in helping clients transform the way they protect and manage critical IT infrastructure to keep businesses and institutions up and running:

  • Cloud Migration: The move to cloud is quickly becoming the norm in the enterprise today, but it requires added focus on the potential security flaws in the adoption process. Forbes has estimated that global spending on cloud computing will grow at six times the rate of IT spending from 2015-2020, and a recent IBM survey found that security remains a top concern for cloud adoption. Embracing cyber resiliency forces organizations to ask hard questions about how data is protected, where it is stored, and how data can be encrypted and monitored in its new cloud environment.
  • Cognitive: In the digital age, clients have “always-on” expectations for the data and systems that help run their businesses. Adding cognitive innovations to that equation not only helps companies ingest and interpret data, but also improves disaster recovery and business continuity management (BCM) by orchestrating the response process to reach specific recovery goals. A June 2017 study from the Ponemon Institute found that companies using BCM and disaster recovery services reduces the total average time to identify and contain a data breach incident by 78 days, resulting in a total average savings over that response time period of $394,922.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain technology drew major interest among businesses and individuals in 2017, and it has an integral connection to cyber resiliency. Some financial institutions are now looking at blockchain as a way to improve cyber security, as it removes some of the human element from sensitive transactions that can often be most vulnerable to hackers. As blockchain becomes a more significant part of a company’s IT environment, a cyber resiliency strategy can help ensure that those systems are protected and able to interact with each other without disruption.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is transforming almost every industry as it connects devices, appliances, and vehicles to exchange and understand data. According to Gartner, the number of connected devices rose 31 percent in 2017 to 8.4 billion devices, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Infusing cyber resiliency into the development of new hardware, software, and services for connected devices will make data more secure and available to help discover its business value.
  • Supply Chain: Supply chains are foundational to every industry, and they are sure to be a hot topic this week at NRF 2018. A recent report from the Business Continuity Institute indicates that organizations with business continuity plans are eight times more likely to report greater supply chain visibility, twice more likely to insure for supply chain losses, and three times more likely to display top management commitment.

Ultimately, data is at the core of all five of these areas. Data is today’s newest “natural resource,” and as such, it requires the necessary safeguards to ensure it is always being utilized for the right reasons. Identifying and managing breaches, and recovering business services after outages occur, is clearly a priority. Building a foundation of cyber resiliency – integrating solutions across functions like security, networking, and business continuity/disaster recovery – is the next step that organizations will need to consider and deploy in 2018 and beyond to help prevent threats altogether.

Vice President, IBM Global Resiliency Services

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