Monthly Archive October 2018

Why is a Business Continuity Plan important?

Why is a Business Continuity Plan important? It’s simple: because a business’ ability to recover from a cyber breach hinges on its ability to react quickly. Since the enactment of GDPR earlier this year, it is now a statutory requirement that a breach is reported within 72 hours of its discovery. But this is not the only thing to consider. As soon as a breach is identified, certain steps need to be taken to contain and mitigate the extent of the breach to safeguard the future of the business. This process will run much more smoothly if all aspects of the strategy are well known to those responsible and have been pre-planned and pre-agreed.

The impact of a breach is often significantly wider than people first think. It is not necessarily just about money or data being stolen, or the fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a result, but about the longer-term impact. Loss of trust and reputation can be equally, if not more, damaging over the following months and years.

So, with the threat of a successful (and costly) cyberattack being very real, what can be done? Well, firstly, and perhaps counter-intuitively, the most important thing is to accept the risk and plan for a worst-case scenario. Every robust defence should therefore include a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) which includes Incident Response (IR) and Disaster Recovery (DR) plans. These plans should be continually challenged and reviewed, and correctly-scoped simulation exercises will ensure that all key personnel are experienced in the steps that need to be taken.

However, this is just one piece of the business continuity puzzle. Evaluating your company’s ability to restore IT operations can be a good starting point for company-wide Business Continuity Plan. In fact, many business continuity planning efforts start by conducting a business impact analysis or risk assessment. These studies can reveal weaknesses in your organisation’s ability to continue operations that go far beyond IT. Good business continuity and disaster recovery planning should look at the business as a whole, with a goal to develop business resilience.

Of course, for most businesses in 2018, having a robust cyber defence is the first step and every precaution should be taken to ensure that potential hackers and cyber criminals are kept at bay. It seems reasonable to assume that the harder we make it, the less likely a hacker is to focus their attention on us. They will look to easier targets. But the sad truth about today’s digital environment is that breaches can and do occur, even to the best-defended organisations. After all, it can only take one employee to mistakenly open a phishing email to provide a potential hacker with a route in to an otherwise well-protected system.

Why is a Business Continuity plan important? Because speed is of the essence. The more quickly a breach can be identified and contained the less damage it will cause.

To discuss Business Continuity planning, contact the SRM team on 03450 21 21 51

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To find out more visit our website.

Or read more:

Cyber insurance may be null and void without ‘due care’

Cyber resilience: it’s a board level issue

The key to GDPR is common sense

 

Pen testing: why businesses need to be proactive not reactive ahead of the peak retail period

A breach at any time of the year is bad for business. But with the highest volume of sales – both retail and online – occurring between Black Friday and the January Sales, a customer data breach during this period could be catastrophic. With just a few weeks to go, it is time to be proactive, not reactive.  Seeking external professional services at this stage could ultimately save immense damage to your business, your bottom line and your reputation.

First, some context. According to research (Carbon Black 2018), when it comes to cybercrime the most proactive investors are actually the cyber criminals themselves. It is estimated that they are now spending ten times more on finding cyber defence weaknesses in target organisations than the organisations themselves are spending on protecting against attack. Although the figures are global, with an estimated $1 trillion being spent by the cybercrime community compared to $96 billion by organisations to secure themselves, the UK has been identified as a major target.

Malicious attacks are therefore a very real threat, whether dealing with card transactions through a bricks-and-mortar shop or an online business. Unfortunately compliance does not guarantee security of your network systems. Like an MOT it only demonstrates that at a certain date and time your business had met the PCI DSS compliance standard. Similarly, businesses which have taken positive steps towards adhering to the requirements of GDPR will still need to take a proactive approach to defending against cybercrime.

So, what can be done? The most important investment at this stage is in professional penetration testing. This is the key to knowing exactly where potential vulnerabilities may lie. A bespoke combination of both manual and automated testing is an extremely efficient way to identify weaknesses and can be carried out with minimal disruption. If serious gaps are identified then further testing will exploit and develop these as a potential hacker would, providing you with valuable intelligence. You will then be in a position to work with experts to take whatever remedial action is required in good time. If actual (as yet undetected) breaches have already occurred, these can be reported on and contained before significant damage occurs.

While prudent investment in cyber security is vital, there is, however, no need to throw money at the problem. Engaging a professional consultancy with the full range of services will save you any unnecessary expense. This is because the exercise will be scoped to ensure you pay for what you need, not what you don’t. A professional team will also have the expertise to manage the whole process in a proactive way to ensure you are ready for business at the end of November.

Although every precaution should be taken to protect your systems, test and exercise is not the only important element of a mature and robust cyber defence.  Business Continuity Planning, Incident Response and Disaster Recovery Plans should also be in place and watertight. An expert consultancy will be able to help develop these so that business interruption in the event of a breach is kept to an absolute minimum. Additionally, SRM can provide Red Teaming and Incident Simulation activities to give you ultimate peace of mind

To discuss the full availability of our Test and Exercise and Incident Response services, call +44 (0) 3450 21 21 51.

To receive regular blogs on topics relating to information security, follow us on Linkedin.

Or visit our blog:

Pen testing: seeing both the wood and the trees

Penetration testing: man vs machine

 

 

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