Archive for the ‘Resilience’ Category

Cyber Resilience: Part Four Companies’ Plans Must Include Both Resistance and Resilience

Resistance to cyber attack is undoubtedly valuable and can produce effective outcomes. However, resistance is expensive and there is a law of diminishing returns on the investments made in resistance, Moreover, because the preparations and mitigations employed in resisting attacks are often specific to particular, point-in-time threats, ongoing resistance is both complex and fragile — unexpected shifts in attacker tactics can bypass existing defences and leave organisations struggling to deploy new controls at an appropriate pace. Faced with the total capabilities of nation-state attackers or state-sponsored cybercriminals, many organisations are unable to deploy effective controls quickly enough or spend enough money to completely mitigate the totality of the threats they face.

“Financial firms should assume they will be subject to destructive attacks and develop capabilities and procedures to resume operations. Financial firms also need to be ready to quickly restore computer networks and technology-enabled operations in response to known or unforeseen threats that could cause catastrophic disruption.” Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) 2015 Annual Report

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Cyber Resilience: Part Three What is Cyber Resilience?

Cyber Resilience is an organisation’s preparation for business disruption caused by cyber attacks; its ability to recover from these disruptions; and its systemic capability to adapt and grow from each attack it experiences.

Cyber resilience requires that, while organisations strive to prevent incidents, they also understand their internal operating environments and digital ecosystems well enough to develop and deploy processes that:

  1. Accelerate the detection of successful attacks; and
  2. Contain and respond to identified attacks.

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Cyber Resilience: Part Two Resistance

Cybersecurity has traditionally and overwhelmingly focused on resistance to cyber attack: development and deployment of cyber controls that limit the extent and mitigate the impact of attacks, with the core assumption being that the organisation will be able to prevent most attacks, and at worst, continue to function near-normally during an incident and be able to resume normal operations with minimal delay.

Robust cyber resistance frameworks such as the NIST Cyber Security Framework have emerged, but in reality, good practices that are being developed every day in the field aren’t making their way back into the standards quickly enough in order to make these frameworks practically useful in the fight against cybercrime. At the same time, we also see leading organisations that have successfully mapped out good practices, but struggle to meet their own aspirations across all affected areas of the enterprise.

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Cyber Resilience: Part One Introduction

This blog series is a re-tooling of a white paper I drafted in May 2015 while working at Stroz Friedberg. I want to thank Stroz Friedberg for the support and time to develop these ideas and specifically want to thank Bill Trent and Simon Viney from Stroz Friedbergs London office for their assistance and review. I also recieved valuable feedback from David Porter at Resilient Thinking and Dave Whitley at BAE Systems.

Introduction

The prevalence of digitally-enabled businesses, Internet-dependent customers and Internet-connected supply chains creates near unlimited opportunities and points of entry for cyberattacks, and significantly increases the potential for cybercrime to damage a company’s ability to maintain operations. This has created an environment in which cyberattacks by criminals, hacktivists and state-sponsored actors are more frequent and more damaging than ever.

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Security Operations and the OODA Loop

I’ve mentioned Boyd’s OODA loop in a previous post but I thought it would make sense to share how I view the OODA loop driving the development of security operations. This is in contrast to the common derivation of the Deming cycle, that is often used in security programmes: Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) .

Security Operations Centres (SOC) provide an increased ability to defend our businesses and their community from determined adversaries in cyberspace. A key framing view of a SOC is to consider the relationship between the SOC and the adversaries targeting the business as a combative relationship; as such an approach typified by Robert Boyd’s OODA loop is a useful tool for thinking comprehensively about how to plan our interaction with adversaries in the cyber domain.

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