Why Security Resilience is Actually Business Resilience

Apr 7, 2022
Ed Bellis
Chief Technology Officer, Co-founder

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Businesses don’t like surprises, especially unwelcome ones. Economic and marketplace shocks often lead to decisions made under duress and result in rapid, costly ramp-ups or scale-backs. And while the future ultimately is unknowable, organizations that understand the business risks posed by an uncertain world–and equip themselves to respond confidently to those risks—will fare far better than those constantly taken by surprise. 

Here at Cisco, we call this security resilience—the ability to protect your business against threats and disruption and respond to changes confidently to emerge stronger. And now more than ever, security resilience is a business imperative.

A rapidly changing landscape

To understand why, just look at how rapidly the cybersecurity threat landscape is evolving. By next year, the number of devices connected to networks will outnumber human beings on this planet three times over. Consider, too, that 95% of those devices are likely to harbor at least one highly exploitable vulnerability. 

For enterprises, a great deal is at stake. Research by the Cyentia Institute reveals that financial losses following a cyber event typically run about $200,000, but 10% suffer losses of more than $20 million. The cost of extreme events (those falling in the 95th percentile) targeting Fortune 250 corporations approaches $100 million or more. 

Virtually every CISO is likely to find this reality all too familiar. With corporate networks expanding and employees working from almost anywhere via any device, the typical enterprise attack surface grows by the hour.

An investment that protects other investments

Despite these challenges, enterprise security operations still must protect data, networks, and devices. No one questions the value of protecting these essential assets. But when budgets are tight, security operations are often asked to “make do” with existing solutions and processes. 

That would be a mistake. Disruption of all kinds remains a given, and traditional security environments are poorly suited to defend against today’s bad actors. Typical security operations emphasize threat prevention, which is an increasingly ineffective strategy against rapidly evolving cyber threats. And siloed security solutions make it difficult to draw useful insights when they’re needed most, leaving teams unable to discern a genuine high-risk event from one that doesn’t warrant a blue team response.

If the global supply chain has taught us anything, it’s that corporate leadership already understands the benefits of resilience. This is why enterprises are investing in more flexible staffing and hybrid working, establishing alternate supply lines, and implementing more agile and organizational systems and workflows. 

How security resilience keeps your business resilient 

Sticking with the cybersecurity status quo puts all those investments at risk. The answer–the only answer–is to invest in security resilience. Security resilience protects your business from threats and equips it to bounce back quickly when exploits do occur. It’s the most effective antidote to the constantly evolving threats–security and otherwise–facing enterprises today.

Security resilience is defined by five dimensions. Each builds on the last to create a continuously improving infrastructure that enables organizations to detect, predict, analyze, and respond to potential threats with confidence. 

  1. Close the gaps. Siloed systems put up obstacles to achieving security resilience. They close off data needed to understand the potential implications of a threat or event. And that cripples other aspects of security resilience. A single, open platform can help eliminate those barriers.
  2. See more. Protecting your enterprise requires you to always be monitoring what’s happening across every potential vulnerability point in your infrastructure. And that requires constant monitoring and 360-degree visibility into all your data sources and systems. (See dimension No. 1)
  3. Anticipate what’s next. Responding quickly and confidently is crucial, but it’s even better to be able to see what’s coming. Next-level capabilities like risk-based threat assessment, with machine learning-driven analysis of comprehensive exploit and vulnerability intel, can turn data into actionable intelligence.
  4. Prioritize what matters most. Without the benefit of accounting for the context of everything that’s happening around you, then everything is a priority. Risk-based prioritization uses advanced algorithms to identify what vulnerabilities and events pose the greatest risk to your business. That keeps your limited resources focused on the real priorities.
  5. Automate your response. Automation touches every dimension of security resilience. But automating key steps in your incident response helps you take rapid, confident action and bounce back quickly. And when frequent tasks occur automatically, you have more time for exception handling and developing response team strategies. 

On the road to resilience

Making security resilience possible, let alone simple, is a huge undertaking, but it’s not a new one. (As a former CISO myself, I can say that with some confidence.) That’s why Cisco is moving forward with product developments designated to make cybersecurity more resilient for every enterprise. Aimed at securing and simplifying the rapidly evolving world of hybrid work, these advances will make Cisco customer environments more resilient, easier to use, and better protected.  

In a world where everything is connected, security resilience is more than just your best defense against what’s coming. Security resilience is actually business resilience.


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