"The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists."
-- Japanese proverb

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
-- Albert Einstein

"Ain't nothing wrong with going down. It's staying down that's wrong."
-- Muhammad Ali

"Fall seven times, stand up eight" (Japanese proverb)

Faced with a broad spectrum of cyber and physical threats, organisations are seeking to increase their resilience to attack. But no-one seems to understand or agree on exactly what resilience means.

Resilience means dealing with adversity so that one comes through it unharmed and even better from the experience. Nature knows this best of all: while a tropical storm blows most trees away, palm trees remain untouched. They bend all the way to the ground, and, when the storm is over, straighten up and are stronger than before. Sustainable natural systems do more than just "return to normal" after a disruption: they renew themselves and create a "new normal" in the aftermath of a catastrophic event.

There is a vast difference, so the proverb goes, between temporary defeat and failure. Smart organisations know this. Even smarter ones know that within every defeat they experience lie the dormant seeds of success.