SolarWinds Sunburst Attack: Lessons On Dealing With A Cyberattack

SolarWinds Sunburst Attack is regarded as one of the most technologically advanced supply chain cyberattacks ever.

The attack penetrated thousands of businesses including both government and private sectors globally.

All of this came under a situation when the company’s brand-new CEO, Sudhakar Ramakrishna, had only recently joined.

The leader’s response to such a situation is the most critical one. According to Michael Smets, a management professor at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, “cyber-attacks are far more personal and emotional” for leaders than other disruptions.

CEOs Face Intense Pressure In The Face of Cyber Attacks

The prevailing sentiment among CEOs is that cyber-attacks demand their undivided attention, yet many express discomforts when making decisions related to cyber security.

A recent report prepared for cyber risk management company Istari reveals that while “CEOs acknowledge ultimate accountability for cyber security, they often lack the confidence to make informed decisions.”

As hacking techniques become increasingly sophisticated, even simulated cyber attacks can push executives to their limits.

Pascal Steichen, who runs cyber resilience unit of Luxembourg’s House of Cybersecurity, recounts instances where executives participating in cyber resilience exercise, Room#42, lost control and even lashed out at colleagues under intense pressure.

This highlights the urgent need for resilience and preparedness when it comes to security.

Need For Strategic Risk Management

Cybersecurity should be treated as a strategic issue handled at the highest level.

This discrepancy underscores the growing urgency to address cyber attacks at a strategic level rather than relegating the responsibility solely to chief information security officers or audit committees.

Recognizing that cybersecurity extends beyond technological defenses, CEOs and boards are reframing cyber attacks as strategic risk management issues.

Regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Bank of England, and European Central Bank are emphasizing cyber resilience.

This shift necessitates CEOs taking a proactive role in identifying strategically important assets and operations and implementing measures to safeguard them.

Collaboration and Transparency as Key Factors

SolarWinds CEO Ramakrishna advocates for a “bias to transparency” and encourages sharing knowledge and experiences with the wider network.

He said in his recent interview, “We progressed as we resolved these issues everyday and that increased the trust that our clients had in us, after establishing that trust, our client retention rates rapidly rebounded to their previous highs.”

CEOs are embracing collaboration and transparency as critical components in combating cyber threats.

In the face of increasing cyber threats, CEOs must adopt a mindset of continuous learning and improvement.

Furthermore, by prioritizing a “secure by design” approach, as recommended by SolarWinds CEO, companies must remain vigilant, leveraging collective knowledge and experiences to reduce the likelihood of future attacks.

CEOs who view cyber security as a strategic opportunity can protect their organizations, drive improvements, and foster resilience in the face of evolving threats.

For more news and updates on Cybersecurity, visit The Cybersecurity Club.

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