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Business continuity planning: Looking back or ahead

In September 2023, cybercriminals launched an extensive ransomware attack that disrupted several major businesses in the Las Vegas Casino Business/District. The attack shook the city and stopped consumer goods and services for several hours. The attack influenced security, visitor services, and financial activities. Businesses lost money and long-term reputational risks ensued. 

Increasing op tempo

A company can keep running after a disruption if it has a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that includes risk assessments, Business Impact Assessments (BIAs), and recovery strategies. A BCP is needed to minimize risk apprehensions, reduce financial loss, and maintain continuous business operations.

A business impact analysis (BIA) must be part of Business Continuity Plans (BCPs). The plan sets recovery time and point goals, ranks the most important processes, and figures out how delays will affect business functions. BIAs help organizations figure out what tools and plans they need for recovery. Disaster Recovery Plans, or DRPs, lay out how a business will handle and rebound from a disaster. It includes tools for recovering systems, data, and infrastructure. A complete, well-tested DRP is necessary to keep problems to a minimum and get services back up and running quickly.

To stay safe from cyber threats, businesses need to put their operating security footprint at the top of their list of priorities. In this way, networks, systems, apps, and data are kept safe. Data breaches and unauthorized access are less likely to happen with firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption methods.

Rearview

The ransomware attack on the Las Vegas Casino Business/District in September 2023 shows that current risk management methods need to be looked at and updated. These steps cut down on operational disruptions, keep customer goods and services safe, and speed up the recovery of mission-critical systems. Being operationally ready is important for protecting your business and preparing for the unexpected.

The most common way for threat players to take over a company’s resources, assets, and people is through ransomware attacks. Recent statistics show that strong holding the most sought-after security principles can disrupt present business operations:

  • The State of Ransomware Report in the US says that the average ransomware attack costs $8.1 million and takes 287 days to fix (Emsisoft, 2021).
  • The number of ransom payments made by victims rose by 311% in 2020 (Crypto Crime Report, 2021).

Going forward

Ransomware attacks affect people all over the world, resulting in huge financial losses costs – compiled worldwide topping $20 billion in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has given hackers new avenues and threat vectors to hack, crack, and exploit. It is imperative for businesses to strengthen the home front to gain home-field advantage against cyber threat actors.  Having a comprehensive, repeatable, verifiable disaster recovery and business continuity plan minimizes the economic impact plus lessens the severity of disruption and damage to the organization. Therefore, business establishments should prioritize preventative measures and mitigation strategies.

Strategic priorities

Organizations should put ransomware prevention and mitigation strategies at the top of their list of priorities because the threat is rising.

  • Make sure you have a safe copy of your important systems and files, either locally or in the cloud.
  • Use endpoint security, firewalls, and intrusion monitoring tools that are strong.
  • Do vulnerability reviews and scans daily to find and fix weaknesses.
  • Plan for what to do if you need to recover from ransomware.
  • Up-to-date patching techniques make sure that systems and software have the most recent security patches and updates.
  • Think about getting cybersecurity insurance.

Ransomware attacks are still a threat to both the government and businesses, with big financial and practical effects. To stop these attacks, businesses need to be hyper-aware, vigilant, take strong precautions, and have good business continuity plans and risk strategies for dealing with serious threats with minimal operational and financial consequences. By investing in cybersecurity and adopting best practices, organizations can enhance resilience and minimize the impact of ransomware incidents.

Finally, there are three important cybersecurity strategies that can help leaders protect using overlapping attacking and defensive styles. These strategies cover strategic, operational, and tactical points of view.  Long-term plans, like raising knowledge about security, making partnerships, and putting in place security frameworks, should be used for strategic goals.

When you switch to operational objectives or action-based plans, you need to plan for how to respond to incidents, teach people about security, and handle vulnerabilities. As we move to the last level, tactical goals include focusing on specific actions and defenses to deal with instant cyber threats. These could include patch management, access controls, and encryption to lower risks and handle incidents. When used with a strong business continuity plan, these all-around, well-proven strategies can help build and improve a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

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