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Cyber resilience: How to protect your data from the inside out

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Jason Blosil
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You’re probably hearing more and more people talk about something called “cyber resilience.” Are they talking about data protection?, you might ask. Yes—but that’s not the whole story. 

Cyber resilience is a smarter approach to fighting cyber attacks cyberattacks: combining data protection with traditional IT security. Security strategies are great when the enemy can’t get through the door. But today, there are hundreds of doors: endpoints, bring-your-own-device policies, and other complications stemming from remote work. The goal isn’t just to prevent intrusions—it’s to protect your data, even if an intrusion does happen. That’s where the second piece of the puzzle comes into play: data protection. When your doors are heavily armed and your data is secure inside, your organization is resilient and can bounce back no matter what hackers throw your way.

So, how do you build cyber resilience? Let’s take a journey to the center of the data layer.

Step 1: Take stock of your environment

Before you start building your fortress, you might want to figure out what you’re guarding. Start by identifying and prioritizing what needs protecting. You need to know where your data is located, whether it’s sensitive or regulated, what role it plays in business operations, and what hackers could do with access to it. And this knowledge should expand beyond inventory. How does your information flow? Who’s responsible for what cybersecurity activities? If an attack does occur, you should immediately know who owns what, and where they need to go. 

Step 2: Put your defenses in place

Now we can start laying concrete in your data fortress. Make these protections part of your regular routine, including:

  • Encrypting data
  • Conducting regular backups
  • Updating vulnerable operating systems and applications
  • Training users about cybersecurity best practices

As you build up your defenses, you’ll be blocking hackers from both writing malicious data and deleting good data. There’s no messing around when it comes to protecting your data. 

Step 3: Stay one step ahead

Prevention is the best cure—but no one builds a fortress if they think no threats are coming. Put systems in place that leverage modern artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technologies to help identify suspicious activity before it becomes a real threat. By updating detection processes, monitoring logs, and familiarizing yourself with regular data flows, you’ll know immediately if something doesn’t look right. With the right monitoring, you should also be able to gauge the impact of a breach, not just spot that it’s happening.

Step 4: Know what to do in a crisis

As your data defenses get more sophisticated, so do cyberthreats. To keep pace, you must keep testing and refining your cybersecurity and data protection strategies. You need to understand best practices, frequently update plans (especially after an attempted or successful attack), and coordinate with both internal and external stakeholders to make sure you’ll be coordinated for the next response.  

Step 5: Get back to normal in no time

Let’s say an attacker strikes, despite your best efforts. Are you set up to quickly bounce back? Make sure your organization can answer the following questions:

  • What information needs to be shared to get us back up and running quickly?
  • Who needs access to this information, and how will they get it quickly?
  • What regulatory bodies and external stakeholders need to know, and how do we report this in a timely manner?

And while communicating all this information, you’ll need to restore data, bring uncompromised applications back online, and apply intelligent forensics to piece together what happened.

Welcome to cyber resilience

Cyber resilience represents an inside-out approach to protecting and securing data— - it's built into your IT, not bolted on. With stronger data protection and security, you’ll be ready for whatever hackers throw your way. 

To learn more about building a cyber-resilience strategy, check out our new build cyber resilience. And when you’re ready to build that data fortress we’ve been talking about, check out our solutions—we’re ready to help you start construction. 

Jason Blosil

Jason is a business and marketing professional with over 20 years of product marketing, product management, and corporate finance experience. Since joining NetApp in 2008 he has been focused on SAN and NAS storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions, and cloud data services. When not in the office, you can find him cycling, cooking, enjoying time with family, and volunteering at his church and in the community.

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