We’re back after a little hiatus with this week’s blog in the series in which I explore the “Top 10 List of the Challenges Cybersecurity Professionals Face,” as found in our Cybersecurity Insights Report 2022: The State of Cyber Resilience.
Coming in at number two on our list: Dealing with the speed and complexity of digital transformation.
During the COVID-19 crisis, digital transformation became even more critical. To describe digital transformation in economic terms means integrating digital technologies into every aspect of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how companies operate and provide value to their customers.
Technology has changed from supporting business processes to becoming integral to a company’s customer value proposition. A study by McKinsey found that companies accelerated their digital transformation efforts by three to seven years within just months, fearing that they would lose their competitive advantage and be left behind by competitors already ahead.
Organizations need to rethink what they mean when saying “digital transformation.” It’s not just about making your website responsive, adding digital capabilities, or creating a mobile app for your business. It’s about changing your mindset when thinking about your customers, empowering your staff, and powering business. And ensuring your security program can adapt to that mindset to ensure the security of your enterprise.
Digital Transformation Increases Cyber Risk
Security teams continue to face unique challenges daily. Their organization’s digital transformation initiatives continue to increase the complexity, expanding their attack surface with a distributed infrastructure. Because of this, cybersecurity postures should be updated and adjusted to support transformation goals to defend against this new level of complexity.
In addition to the ever-changing threat landscape, security teams face more concerns due to a more distributed workforce. They also need to evaluate the risks associated with a growing number of connected devices and the disappearing perimeter. The increased adoption of cloud infrastructures also poses unique challenges to organizations, forcing them to transform their security posture to protect against cloud infrastructure vulnerabilities.
Securing a Remote Work Force
Remote work is here to stay and will only increase. Global Workplace Analytics calculates that 22% of the workforce (ie, 36.2 million Americans) will work remotely by 2025.
The significant uptick in remote work setups and digital business is pushing organizations to apply for secure access no matter where their users, applications, or devices are located. To provide the level of security necessary to protect the variety of new systems implemented, many enterprises are shifting to more cloud-friendly and behavior-based security approaches.
New Challenges and Security Vulnerabilities
As mentioned above, studies show that a large portion of those working from home will likely stay that way for the long term. Corporate leaders attempting to coax employees back to the office have broadly accepted the inevitability of the hybrid work model. To ensure their defensive measures remain in place and to maintain business as usual safely, it’s critical for IT teams to develop strategic plans to safeguard employees, facilities, data, reputation, and their products.
In many hybrid scenarios, workers are moving between secure office environments with enterprise network monitoring, firewalls, and event and data analytics to vulnerable home networks that may have rogue devices, weak passwords, or outdated equipment.
There is no one-size-fits-all security posture. IT leaders must regularly align with business partners and cross-functional teams to assess their vulnerabilities to ensure that security spans every digital initiative, whether a new internal digital process, a new product developed, or a new business opportunity created.
Securing the Shift to the Cloud
Data security is naturally a top concern when it comes to adopting new technology and processes. Digital transformation typically involves shifting an organization’s security solutions to the cloud and moving all data to a centralized location, so it’s fair for business leaders to have their hesitations.
As organizations look to build and sustain resiliency in the next phase of their digital transformation, they need to consider the security and risk implications of this journey to the cloud. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to ensure protection. Security requirements for cloud will differ from on-premises architectures. The evaluation process needs to involve a higher level of third-party scrutiny for cloud-based applications. For this, the expectation is that security needs to be included with any digital strategy.
Putting a Plan in Place
The CEO should ideally lead digital transformation strategies with Chief Information Officers, Chief Security Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, and other senior leaders across an organization.
A digital transformation journey starts with identifying key challenges, pain points, and opportunities for improvement. These may come from customer experience metrics, team member surveys, or other sources. Once identified, the business team must outline the transformation process and determine what steps need to be taken to address those pain points and opportunities. Next, the team must identify the technology platforms and tools required to implement those changes. Finally, the team needs to create a roadmap to guide them through the change management process to ensure a successful transformation.
It is often said that “technology changes everything, including how we think about technology.” However, when it comes to digital transformation, the reality is that all technologies are not equal. Some technologies are more transformative than others. Some are more secure than others.
That’s why, in my opinion, cybersecurity needs to be the starting point of any digital transformation journey to ensure digital transformation success.
Thanks for reading and keeping up with me on this journey. Join me next time as I unveil the number one reason
In the meantime, download our Cybersecurity Insights 2022 report or scroll through below for direct links to the other blogs in this series.