What is Cyber Preparedness and How Do You Improve It?

Cyber preparedness is the practice of ensuring that you have a strategy to prevent, respond, and recover from a cyber incident. Realizing this strategy is an enterprise-wide collaborative effort, not just a burden shouldered by the security team. 

How can you optimize your cyber preparedness? BitSight put together four key elements—or “PREP”—to highlight the tools you can use to execute your strategy.

P: Proactively Identify Risks

As your digital infrastructure expands, understanding where cyber risk lies hidden can be challenging. Security teams can quickly get buried in a sea of data and alerts from multiple monitoring tools and may miss something important.

Rather than play whack-a-mole with threats, you need to find a way to proactively identify risks so you can remediate any issues before hackers exploit them.

To do this, you first need visibility into the digital assets that comprise your environment and the security posture of each. One way to do this is to use an attack surface scanning tool like BitSight Attack Surface Analytics. With BitSight, you can automatically take inventory of your digital assets—on-premises, in the cloud, across remote locations, and even shadow IT. You can also visualize the assets that represent the greatest risk and prioritize remediation efforts accordingly.

Because risk is constantly emerging, you can also use BitSight to continuously monitor your organization’s cyber health. BitSight does this automatically by scanning for risks, such as open ports, misconfigured or unpatched software, behavior anomalies, compromised systems, and more. Near-real-time alerts keep you informed of new and pressing risks so you can work quickly to fix them and elevate your cyber preparedness.

BitSight even discovers hidden risks across your supply chain, alerting you when a vendor or partner’s security posture drops below a certain threshold. With BitSight, you can feel confident knowing your partners are taking cyber preparedness just as seriously as you are.

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R: Recovery Procedure Implementation

The ability to recover quickly from a cyberattack is critical. To do so, implement recovery procedures that are informed by an understanding of the digital environment—such as dependencies between digital assets, data protection and backup practices, and network segmentation protocols—and the potential impacts of an attack on your business. Then, play out possible scenarios through attack simulations and recovery exercises.

Recovery is also about learning from an incident and using that insight to improve cyber preparedness. To do this, you must determine the underlying cause of a breach. For example, with BitSight you can quickly get to the root of a vulnerability—such as a misconfigured web firewall or an insecure access port—and implement a mitigation strategy so that future attacks are less likely.

E: Enterprise-Wide Continuous Improvement

Additionally, you can use BitSight to measure improvement in cyber preparedness over time. BitSight Security Ratings provide a data-driven measurement of enterprise-wide security performance, so you can quickly understand your security posture and where improvement is needed.

Security ratings range from 250 to 900, with a higher rating equaling better security performance. Monitoring your rating over time can help quantify cyber preparedness, better align investments and resources where they will have the highest impact, and facilitate data-driven conversations about risk with non-technical stakeholders.

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P: Practice

Because cyber preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, take steps to ensure that your employees are aware of your security policies and protocols and common attack vectors and know how to handle sensitive data. Be sure to add cyber preparedness tabletop exercises and simulations, such as phishing tests.

Don’t forget your third parties. Work with key vendors and partners (especially those that have access to your company data) to drive awareness of proactive risk management and ensure they are prepared for a cyberattack and the potential ramifications across the supply chain. One way to do this is to use BitSight’s Enable Vendor Access (EVA) feature. With EVA,  you can give your third parties free access to the BitSight portal and empower them with the data and capabilities to remediate security issues and improve their cyber preparedness.

Have You PREPed?

It takes the efforts of everyone to be prepared for a cyberattack, limit the harm, and recover quickly. Do you have an effective cyber preparedness strategy in place?

Check out these additional resources for achieving cyber preparedness.