A Cyber-Resiliency Plan Focused on Offensive Security

The convergence of cyber resiliency and business planning is gaining strategic importance and enabling more successful and sustainable outcomes.

April 29, 2024

5 Min Read
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By Seemant Sehgal, Founder & CEO, BreachLock

The terms "cyber resiliency" and "security posture" are often used interchangeably. But security posture is a measurable and tangible measurement, whereas cyber resiliency is more of a plan or approach. Resiliency, in the context of business, centers on continued full operation of a business despite the market, operations, staffing, or other instability.

While IT and cybersecurity teams certainly play a vital role in business resiliency, cyber resilience's primary focus should center around aligning with business objectives and mitigating the potential impact of cyberattacks on business operations. However, most enterprises merely adhere to industry frameworks and adopt security technologies even though the emphasis should be on strategic alignment.

Attack methodologies are evolving, incorporating advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). It's crucial to acknowledge that attackers are opportunists, targeting primarily vulnerable or high-impact entities. Effective cyber-resiliency plans not only heighten the difficulty of attacks but also enable a robust response to emerging threats.

Cyber resiliency takes a proactive approach by implementing a comprehensive offensive security plan that:

  • Begins with understanding the security and business goals of the enterprise and working with the business rather than telling the business how it will be done.

  • Comprehends the business model first, then integrates resilience into the business process through building, designing, and delivering it.

  • Anticipates the challenges that will be faced in reaching these goals.

  • Evaluates what technologies or tools are needed to get there, such as penetration testing services, attack surface management, automated penetration testing, and red teaming.

We will explore the importance of establishing and maintaining a robust and effective cyber-resiliency plan and how to overcome challenges as they are encountered.

Building a Business-Aligned Cyber-Resiliency Plan

Security teams are not new to the obstacles faced in securing their attack surface. Each day presents a new challenge, and security leaders must adopt and take specific actions to ensure these challenges do not hinder cyber resiliency.

  • Cybersecurity investment: When scrutinizing ROI, it is evident that offensive security consistently yields superior outcomes. Many chief information security officers (CISOs) acknowledge a gap when it comes of offensive security methods, and acquired technologies are falling short of what modern businesses need.

  • Business value: Using business terms to clearly articulate the detrimental effects of successful attacks alongside the advantages of offensive security can facilitate securing necessary critical investment.

  • The right mix of process and technology: Offensive security optimizes security controls through a balanced blend of process and technology, aligning data-driven security with business objectives to enhance cyber resiliency proactively. Adopting an offensive security approach provides clear directives for risk reduction and the right mix of offensive technologies that showcase investment value to stakeholders.

  • Understand the current threat landscape: Most enterprises believe they are prepared for the next attack, should it occur. A good cyber-resiliency plan will have an incident response component to it that translates critical information about threats and their impact from a business viewpoint.

  • Gaining buy-in: This is where cyber-resiliency plans often fail or hit a roadblock. Security leaders frequently overlook integrating security initiatives with business strategies and neglect inviting active participation from leadership.

According to InformationWeek's "2023 State of Cyber Risk and Resiliency Report," many cyber-resiliency plans include the following.

Chart headings: Cyber Resilience Plans. Do your cyber resilience plans included conditions for any of the following currently or in the next 12 months?

Chart text: Tools and Procedures in Use. Do you use any of the following tools or procedures?

A Proactive Approach to Cyber Resiliency

Enterprises that take a proactive approach to designing resiliency into their IT and security environments can prevent issues before something goes wrong. Therefore, it is important to choose tools and features that meet security and business requirements.

  • Siloed vs. integrated: More enterprises are seeking integrated platforms with shared features and functionalities, rather than isolated tools and technologies, to increase efficiency and reduce operating expenditures.

  • Customer experience: A great customer experience includes well-defined requirements and the right mix of process and methodologies to reduce costs, increase agility and scalability, and improve the experience of purchasing security technologies and services.

  • Resource allocation and new attack vectors: IT environments are increasingly complex, resulting in a vast number of attack vectors, such as modern applications and generative AI. The convergence of these factors elevates the threat landscape and regulatory pressures, making IT security a priority investment.

  • Modernizing legacy systems: Organizations are actively updating their legacy systems to keep pace with the threat landscape. They are moving away from traditional perimeter-based security models to embrace application security testing to provide visibility, threat detection, and compliance management to secure their cloud infrastructure.

In conclusion, enterprise cyber-resilience plans should synchronize with business-centric goals. Security teams must articulate broader business outcomes to help facilitate business growth. As advanced security technologies gain more attention and scrutiny from enterprise executives and boards, the convergence of cyber resiliency and business planning will garner strategic importance and produce more successful and sustainable outcomes.

About the Author

Seemant Sehgal founded BreachLock with 20+ years of experience in the cybersecurity industry and a dream to create a solution that would make cyberspace safer. As the former head of cybersecurity at ING Bank, he dealt with the pain of traditional pen-testing approaches falling short of what modern businesses today need for a strong security posture. Seemant was motivated to solve these pain points and went on to create a full-stack penetration testing as a service (PTaaS) solution that combines automation, AI, and the creativity of human hackers.

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