Top tips is a weekly column where we highlight what’s trending in the tech world today and list ways to explore these trends. This week, we’re looking at four ways organizations can strengthen their Digital Immune System.

The cyberthreat landscape is constantly evolving at an accelerated pace; merely focusing on preventing incidents is no longer an effective approach. No matter how well prepared you are, cybersecurity incidents are an inevitability, and it’s crucial to have systems in place to enable you to recover quickly. 

A digital immune system (DIS) is a comprehensive set of cybersecurity practices and technologies implemented by an organization throughout the software engineering process to ensure cyber resilience and improved user experience (UX). Similarly to the human immune system, which can detect and eliminate a virus, a DIS provides the organization with the ability to detect and mitigate cybersecurity risks swiftly, with minimal adverse impact on the infrastructure at large. 

A DIS doesn’t just focus on incident management and recovery, but also on keeping performance levels optimal to ensure improved UX and customer satisfaction. In fact, Gartner predicts that “by 2025, organizations that invest in building digital immunity will increase customer satisfaction by decreasing downtime by 80%.”

The stronger your DIS is, the quicker you’ll be able to resolve cybersecurity incidents. Here are four ways organizations can strengthen their DIS.

1. Constantly monitoring your security and application infrastructure

It’s important to have clear visibility into every single aspect of your application or service’s performance. The application or service must be built with observability in mind where performance is easy to track. This enables you to stay on top of any performance issues, software bugs, and other vulnerabilities that could be exploited to compromise the security of your service.

2. Regular risk assessments and vulnerability testing

Performing regular risk assessments and vulnerability testing is an important step in strengthening your DIS. These tests involve putting yourself in the shoes of a malicious actor, where you make attempts to breach your own infrastructure. This enables you to detect and proactively address any previously unknown vulnerabilities in your system before they are exploited by malicious actors. This can also enable you to point to any anomalous activity within your system that could be indicative of a breach, which may have slipped by your existing defence mechanism.

These insights gained from constant monitoring and frequent testing can provide you with actionable data that can be used to make improvements across your product offering in terms of both security and performance.

3. Compliance with the latest security standards

It’s always a good idea to ensure regulatory compliance with as many security standards as possible, regardless of legal requirement. The benefits of cybersecurity compliance are two-fold: on one hand, it can ensure that you’re doing your part to defend yourself from known threats and prepare for potential breaches; on the other hand, it can help you create a reputation for yourself as an organization that takes security seriously. This is especially important as cybersecurity continues to become a major topic of discussion worldwide.

4. Incident recovery plans

Incident recovery plans (IRAs) are a continuation of the risk assessment and testing stage. This is where you put the insights derived into practice. Use the data gathered from testing to devise an appropriate response procedure for discovered threats. This can aid in quick recovery with minimal interruption to operations. You can also set up auto-remediation procedures where certain threats are mitigated automatically using AI or other threat detection tools without requiring human intervention.

Strengthening your DIS is key to cyber resilience

Maintaining a healthy DIS is a continuous process, as the global cyberthreat landscape is constantly changing. New threats keep popping up, and new cybersecurity standards are constantly being introduced. There’s no denying that developing and maintaining a robust DIS takes work, but this effort will provide significant benefits, not just where cyber resilience is concerned but also user experience and customer satisfaction.