Cyber-readiness is the ability of an organization to prevent, detect, and respond to cyberattacks in line with its risk appetite. The more "ready" an organization is, the better able it is to defend the enterprise from security incidents and breaches. Yet clearly not all organizations are cyber-ready, with barely a day going by without another headline letting us know of defenses being breached and information and systems being compromised.
Naturally, the primary objective of cyber-readiness is to prevent cyberattacks. However, recognizing that some attacks will not be prevented, the next objective is to detect potential attacks before compromise. Furthermore, not all attacks will be detected, so the organization must then be ready to respond to an in-progress cyberattack.
Security software and services to prevent, detect, and respond to attacks are a key component of cyber-readiness. These technological security controls are combined with process- and people-focused controls to deliver cyber-readiness for the enterprise.
In deciding which security controls to apply, an organization will usually have performed a range of risk assessments on a set of information (for an information-based risk assessment) or a system. Controls are selected based on the mitigation of identified risks in line with the organization’s risk appetite. The risk appetite of some organizations might be high, where taking risks is part of the business, but in many organizations, risk appetite is low, especially where there is a lot of regulation and legislation to comply with.
However, risk mitigation itself isn’t a one-time operation. Organizations should perform frequent exercises to test the robustness of the security controls applied to deal with identified security risks. To address consistency, these tests should be performed against a security scorecard. The outcome of these tests will be reports where the controls can be improved, which can involve reducing them if they’re overly protective, or tightening them if the outcome isn’t in line with the organization’s risk appetite.
The frequency with which cyberattacks are happening indicates that many organizations are not testing security controls adequately. Cyber-readiness is a constant position, requiring a consistent, structured, and tested approach to security across the organization.
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