2020, more so than any year in recent history, has given us the opportunity to consider the bidirectional nature of immunity and resilience – certainly as it relates to health and science, but also in other ways. By its scientific definition (in physical science and psychology), resilience is the process that allows individuals to adapt to adverse conditions and recover from them without prolonged harm.
Decades of scientific research on the individual qualities that promote resilience show that numerous factors contribute to protecting against the negative influences of stressors on physical and mental health and, in turn, overall immunity. The reverse is also true as there is evidence that immune processes influence resilience. The old sports adage of “the best defense is a good offense” certainly applies here. Studies have demonstrated that resilient individuals have developed a level of adaptive immunity over time, enabling greater recovery capability. In many ways, this relationship between immunity and resilience is indicative of how businesses should approach the current cybersecurity environment, as well.
Organizations are witnessing a constant barrage of cyberattacks in the form of ransomware, brute-force attacks, phishing, insider threats, and many others. The situation is untenable and seemingly getting worse day-by-day. Digital transformation and cloud migration initiatives, which have accelerated over the past five years across industries, have produced an unprecedented volume of data under management. There’s no denying that the amount of data at risk is enormous and rapidly growing over time, outpacing governance in many organizations. Gartner, PwC and others have projected that more than 80% of data under management within the average enterprise is unstructured data – the productivity documents of business. Cyber adversaries are becoming more advanced, often utilizing intelligent algorithms and technologies to steal sensitive data, disrupt critical business continuity, and corrupt storage environments (including backups). Unstructured data, in particular, is an area of growing focus: building immunity from attack of unstructured data, while ensuring the ability to remain resilient (through restoration and recovery), protects the productivity and continuity of business. In order to achieve this goal, new layers of information protection, across several planes of the enterprise cybersecurity framework, will be required. It’s time to introduce cyber technologies focused on immunity and resilience to address the gaps in existing solutions. By doing so, companies can combat the unpredictability and rapid evolution of potential cyber threats. Boosting enterprise immunity against a growing range of cyber threats will entail adaptive measures – changing the underlying defenses to protect and endure in the face of attack.