By Matthew Olney on October 16, 2023

What is Resilience in Cyber security?

Managed Security Services, Industry Trends & Insights, Compliance & Regulation

The concept of "resilience" within the sphere of cyber security has become increasingly relevant in recent years. While traditional security measures tend to focus on prevention and immediate response, resilience offers a more holistic approach to dealing with cyber threats. What, then, does resilience mean in cyber security, and why is it so crucial?

What is Cyber security Resilience?

At its core, cyber security resilience refers to an organisation’s ability to prepare for, adapt to, recover from, and grow stronger in the face of cyber threats or attacks. Unlike traditional cyber security approaches that focus solely on prevention, resilience accepts that no system is entirely impregnable. It's not a question of if a cyber-attack will occur, but when. Thus, resilience offers a more holistic view of cyber security, marrying prevention with preparedness and adaptability.

The Evolution of Cyber Threats

Cyber threats have grown exponentially both in volume and sophistication over the years. We’ve moved from simple viruses and worms to advanced ransomware, data breaches, and state-sponsored attacks. According predictions, cybercrime is projected to cost global businesses around $10.5 trillion a year in damages by 2025. This sharp escalation underscores the urgent need for a resilient approach to cyber security.

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The Multi-Layered Approach

A resilient cyber security framework adopts a multi-layered strategy, bringing together technological, organisational, and human factors. While technology handles preventive measures such as firewalls and antivirus software, organisations must create policies that foster a culture of security. Equally critical is the human element, which entails employee training and awareness programmes to mitigate human errors and insider threats.

Ten Benefits of Cyber Resilience

  1. Blocks threats: A resilient framework is skilled at identifying and preventing incoming threats.
  2. Strengthens internal processes: It engages the entire organisation in the roles and significance of security.
  3. Enhances overall security: Resilience improves IT governance, enhances data protection efforts, and minimises the impact of natural disasters.
  4. Resource allocation: Allows for targeted allocation of scarce IT and security resources.
  5. Generates trust: A resilient system instils greater confidence in customers, partners, and vendors.
  6. Improves compliance: Resilient organisations find it easier to comply with government and industry regulations.
  7. Keeps data safe: Effective resilience measures ensure that sensitive data remains secure.
  8. Business continuity: A resilient system minimises downtime during cyber incidents, enabling smoother operations.
  9. Optimises IT operations: Resilience enhances the organisations ability to respond to threats, thus ensuring smooth daily operations.
  10. Minimises financial and reputational damage: Resilience helps cut down the disruptions, reducing both financial losses and damage to reputation.

Key Components of Cyber Resilience

A resilient cyber security strategy is built upon several key components:

  • Risk Assessment: Identifying vulnerabilities and assessing their associated risks.
  • Identify and Detect: Using services such as Managed Detection and Response and Digital Risk Protection to address any visibility gaps they may have in their defences.
  • Data Backup: Regularly backing up critical data to enable quick recovery.
  • Emergency Response Plans: Detailed protocols outlining what steps to take in the event of different types of cyber incidents.
  • Regular Audits and Updates: Continuous monitoring and updating of cyber security policies and systems.


Risk Management and Adaptability

Risk management is not just a part of resilience; it's a cornerstone. A resilient organisation is adept at identifying potential vulnerabilities, assessing their risks, and then allocating resources effectively to mitigate those risks. The system is also designed to adapt to new types of threats as they emerge.

Compliance and Regulations

There has been a growing trend in incorporating resilience into laws and regulations governing cyber security. From the NIST Cyber security Framework in the United States to its equivalents in the UK and the EU, guidelines are increasingly stressing the importance of a resilient approach.

Future Trends

The need for resilience is likely to grow with upcoming trends in cyber security such as the continued rise of IoT devices, the advent of 5G networks, and advances in artificial intelligence. These technologies, while offering numerous benefits, also expand the threat landscape, making resilience more critical than ever.

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  • Is cyber security resilience expensive?

While initial setup costs can be high, the long-term benefits often outweigh the expenses.

  • Can small businesses implement resilience?

Yes, cyber security resilience is scalable and can be adapted for businesses of all sizes.

  • How often should an organisation review its cyber security resilience plan?

Best practices suggest a bi-annual review, though this could be more frequent depending on the nature of your business and the ever-evolving threat landscape.

  • Is employee training really that important for cyber security resilience?

Absolutely. Human error is often cited as one of the leading causes of cyber breaches. Ongoing employee training is essential for creating a culture of security and awareness.

  • Are there industries that need cyber security resilience more than others?

While all industries can benefit from improved cyber security resilience, sectors like finance, healthcare, and critical infrastructure often have more to lose and thus may place a higher priority on resilience measures.

Additional Resources

For those interested in diving deeper into this subject, you may find resources like the USA’s NIST Cyber security Framework , the EU’s NIS2 and the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials guide useful.


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