Getting Started on the Path to Cyber Resilience

April 02, 2021

Getting Started on the Path to Cyber Resilience

By Ona Blanchette

It feels like every week we are opening our newsfeeds to yet another ransomware attack, another breach of data, another system vulnerability exposed, so it's no surprise that many state governments and federal agencies are looking for voluntary implementation of “reasonable cybersecurity controls, including industry-recognised cybersecurity frameworks such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF).”

Who is NIST and what is the Cybersecurity Framework?

NIST is “a physical sciences laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness.”

Why are they defining cybersecurity frameworks? Simply put, they were tasked with doing so by a presidential executive order written in 2013 meant to address the scarceness of standards when it came to security.

The hope was it would create a fixed set of rules, guidelines, and standards, allowing for a unified strategy among organisations. Unfortunately, its original objective has yet to be fully recognised across businesses and the government. So, what does it mean for managed service providers (MSPs) looking for a comprehensive strategy for their clients’ cybersecurity needs?

It's all about cyber resilience

“Cyber resilience is a combination of protection, response, and recovery. It’s thinking about things you need to do to respond to incidents in the security world.” - Ryan Weeks, CISO at Datto

As our CISO stated in his keynote address at MSP Technology Day, “it is all about being cyber resilient as we move forward.” Regrettably, as he also discussed, only a small percentage of MSPs have reached the minimum level of cyber resilience to protect themselves and their clients. In many cases, that’s not from an unwillingness to progress these efforts but more of needing to identify a place to start.

How can MSPs become more cyber resilient?

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework attempts to help MSPs form strategies and best practice techniques but its complexity creates difficulties with breaking down the guidelines to build accessible starting points. So where is an MSP supposed to start?

Technology, of course, will be an important piece of your cyber resilience strategy. However, a successful cyber resilience strategy requires a holistic approach that starts with people and processes.

  1. People: Hiring or developing staff’s security expertise.
  2. Process: Identifying and mitigating gaps in the organisation's security posture.
  3. Technology: Implementing solutions that meet people and process needs.

At our recent MSP Technology Day, Weeks provided the following guidance: Start with CIS controls until you reach a point where you fork off to NIST.”

CIS, the Center for Internet Security, was formed around the idea of a global IT community coming together to "identify, develop, validate, promote, and sustain best practice solutions for cyber defense and build and lead communities to enable an environment of trust in cyberspace." Weeks further observed that “CIS is more accessible, so it is a good place [for MSPs] to start.”

He then continued to identify multiple pathways to becoming cyber resilient throughout the day's presentations including adding Datto RMM native Ransomware Detection to clients’ endpoints. This enhancement to the Datto RMM platform is intended to be used to complement security applications like antivirus for monitoring endpoints. If ransomware is found, it then attempts to terminate the process by preventing it from spreading through a network by isolating the infected device.

Datto is committed to helping educate and provide resources to our MSP partners and their clients as they look to navigate the cybersecurity landscape and build cyber resilience.

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