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Cyber Resilience vs. Cybersecurity: Key Differences

Jesse Sumrak

Cyber resilience and cybersecurity get bunched together in discussions around digital protection, but they are two separate philosophies. Both are important to understand and implement in your organization. There are overlaps in the implementation of both concepts.

At a basic level, cybersecurity establishes a proactive defense against hackers by producing barriers to entry and mitigating threats. Cyber resilience takes a more holistic approach to digital security by focusing on anticipating, withstanding, recovering, and evolving—with a stronger emphasis on the recovery and adaptation phases.

Protection isn’t enough these days. No cybersecurity plan is 100% bulletproof. Determined attackers will find a way to infiltrate your business, and when that time comes, defense is well behind you—it’s all about mitigation, recovery, uptime, and returning to business as usual.

Consider these statistics:

Is your business prepared to stop a cyber attack? Do you have a plan for when the attacker breaches your systems?

Below, we’ll dig into all the key differences (and similarities) between cyber resilience and cybersecurity so that you have the know-how to better protect your business.

What’s Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity focuses on preventing cyber attacks with a collection of technology, security best practices, and employee requirements. It includes everything from fingerprint-unlocking computers to antivirus software and reliable VPNs.

The emphasis of cybersecurity is on stopping attackers at the door. It prioritizes doing everything possible to discourage and thwart bad actors, but this can sometimes slow down processes and make it harder for employees to get work done.

Unfortunately, no cybersecurity program is impervious—regardless of your chief information security officer’s (CISO) expertise or the amount of money you invest in digital protection. There are far too many vulnerabilities to contain, and infiltration is inevitable.

However, that doesn’t mean cybersecurity is worthless. Far from it! Cybersecurity is an essential component of a holistic cyber protection plan. Your business must do everything possible to stop hackers, and sometimes that’s just slowing them down, cutting off easy points of entry, or making it incredibly difficult and time-consuming for them to gain access. Reducing the time an attacker spends in your system before detection is also incredibly important part of cybersecurity.

Examples of cybersecurity in action include the following:

  • Network firewalls
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR) software
  • Security information and event management (SIEM) software
  • Antivirus software
  • Strong password protection requirements
  • Security best practices training for employees

What’s Cyber Resilience?

The philosophy of cyber resilience is that an organization expects hacks to happen (and work) and shifts the emphasis to preventing damage and the negative impacts of cyber attacks. It expects the worst to happen and plans for how to quickly recover with as few consequences as possible to customers and business operations.

Cyber resilience helps with the following:

  • Prepare for the worst: Cyber attacks can happen to anyone. Cyber resilience takes a holistic approach by preparing for some attacks to be successful. This doesn’t mean that the proper cybersecurity defenses are in place.
  • Deter bad actors: Hackers want a cash payout and know they won’t get it if you have access to immutable backups and other protections.
  • Reduce financial loss: Accelerating your detection and containment increases your uptime and decreases the costs of data breaches.
  • Maintain customer trust: Cyber resilience ensures fast detection and remediation, ensuring your customers have a good experience and you are able to recover stolen data.
  • Mitigate disruptions: Ensure your customers don’t experience outages, disruptions, and downtime by preparing to keep your systems online before, during, and after attacks.

Here’s what a cyber resilience framework looks like:

  • Anticipate: Determine your vulnerabilities with software and expert assessments to test your cyber resilience plan and ensure you have top-notch protection.
  • Withstand: Put systems and processes in place to protect your data, including endpoint detection and response, managed detection and response, extended detection and response (XDR), multifactor authentication (MFA), employee training, and firewalls.
  • Recover: Monitor your systems for threats and respond quickly to secure points of entry, protect your data, keep your systems online, and implement backups, ideally with immutable backups, to restore files quickly.
  • Evolve: Upgrade your systems and processes to stop the same issues from hurting your business in the future, improving its resiliency and longevity.

Cyber Resilience vs. Cybersecurity: 3 Key Differences

Cyber resilience and cybersecurity both involve protecting your business, but the approach (and outcomes) aren’t quite the same. You need both to protect your business. One without the other leaves you vulnerable.

Here are the critical differences between cybersecurity and cyber resilience:

  1. Focus: Cybersecurity focuses on prevention, while cyber resilience focuses on mitigating damage, recovering data, and keeping systems operational during and after an attack.
  2. Methodology: Cybersecurity uses software, training, and best practices to protect data. Cyber resilience uses technology, ransomware simulations, penetration testing, and immutable backups to temper threats and safeguard data.
  3. Results: Cybersecurity is measured on its ability to prevent attacks, while cyber resilience is measured on its ability to recover and reduce service disruptions.

Should You Invest in Cybersecurity or Cyber Resilience?

We believe you should invest in a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy, and that includes many elements of cybersecurity. Both are important to the protection of your business, customers, and operations, and both need to be a core part of your digital protection.

However, we believe there should be a greater emphasis on resilience than security. You can’t protect every nook and cranny of your business, and trying to leads to diminishing returns. Companies with thousands of security professionals and million-dollar budgets haven’t been able to provide end-to-end prevention, and that’s not an expense small-to-medium-sized businesses can afford.

Instead, use a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy to identify your critical pieces of data and patch up vulnerabilities. Focus on your sensitive and valuable information.

Remember, cybersecurity will help prevent most attacks, but you won’t be able to protect everything. Focus on mitigating damage and recovering quickly instead of throwing the majority of your security budget at defenses that’ll eventually be breached.

Get Started With Complete Cyber Protection

We designed our products and services to provide your business with end-to-end ransomware resilience. We protect your organization from ransomware, data breaches, and other threats with cybersecurity protection and disaster recovery preparation:

  • AirGuard™: Managed detection and response, identity and access management, and multifactor authentication—all backed up by a $2 million ransomware warranty.
  • AirGapd™: Disaster recovery, immutable cloud backups, and continuity solutions to protect your recovery paths and get back to business as usual.
  • AirCTRL™: Airiam’s team of experts will take care of all your IT services to keep servers, networks, and workstations up and running.
  • AirMonitor™: IT monitoring to allow your IT managed services (MSP) to reach your systems remotely and provide everything from maintenance to toolset scans to keep your networking operating smoothly.

Want to see what Airiam can do for your cybersecurity and cyber resilience? Send us a message to kickstart the conversation and put your business on the path to better digital protection.

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