In recent years, digital transformation has become a priority for almost every organization when considering digital strategies, product development and everyday working processes. Budgets have poured into the latest technological advancements, dedicated IT staff have been recruited to manage new systems and consumer demand has continued to grow throughout it all. So it comes as no surprise that 9 out of 10 C-Suite respondents claim their company is now ‘fully embracing digital transformation’.
To put it lightly, this surge in appetite for digital transformation has altered our professional world beyond recognition. So, the question that remains is: how does this impact cybersecurity? And how can we minimize these impacts moving forward?
In this article, we’ll be offering Certero’s expert insight and answering these questions head-on.
What is Digital Transformation?
As we’ve briefly touched upon, digital transformation is the process whereby organizations alter the way they operate on a daily basis by onboarding the latest technologies. The overarching goal is to enhance strategy and lead to a more efficient way of working – utilizing modern technology to improve decision-making and speed.
A common example when speaking about digital transformation is the transition from traditional IT systems to remote Cloud-based platforms – which is something we’ve seen time and time again, particularly within the last 12 months. However, whilst this movement has enabled an increase in flexibility when it comes to remote working, it’s changed how we approach security. No longer will IT teams need to effectively manage security within the business’ corporate network alone – they’ll additionally need to prepare and protect against Cloud-based security breaches. As a result, our security processes will need to be re-considered, re-strategized and flawlessly implemented.
How Could Digital Transformation Impact Security?
Rapid digital transformation has allowed businesses to excel within their industries and stay ahead of the curve, but it’s important to recognize that it comes with additional risk. In Ponemon’s Digital Transformation and Cyber Risk report, a staggering 82% of IT security and C-level respondents noted at least one data breach in relation to digital transformation. A statistic that’s too large to ignore.
A leading cause for this added risk is our growing reliance on third-party providers. As enterprises begin to scale up and introduce new digital interfaces within the cloud, they’re often neglecting the need for an objective overview – a way of ‘seeing the cloud’ and how the business is consuming these new resources in order to formulate a well-designed strategy that keeps the venture secure. Rather than taking the time to gain that holistic perspective, organizations are throwing themselves headfirst into uncontrolled cloud proliferation to keep up with business demand. But this is where things can go wrong.
As we’ve briefly explored, Cloud Computing brings fantastic opportunities for businesses to transform overnight and enhance digital strategy – however it can also leave us vulnerable to security threats. Ponemon’s report also found that 56% of C-level executives admitted that knowing whether third-party providers had policies and practices to ensure the security of their information was a challenge. It’s perhaps this lack of transparency that proves most dangerous of all. Because your organization cannot protect itself against a threat it’s unaware of.
Alternatively, it’s this risky relationship that can prompt businesses to avoid digital transformation in its entirety, placing their business on the backfoot when it comes to competing in the digital age. Research by Nominet Cyber found that 27% of businesses would neglect digital transformation because they were ‘concerned about the increased cyber security risk.’
So, for digital transformation to be safe as well as successful, it’s imperative that organizations undertake two core actions; firstly, that they have clear processes that consider cybersecurity when onboarding new technologies; secondly, that they place similar pressure on security teams and solutions to evolve at the same pace as digital transformation.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Digital Transformation?
The progress of digital transformation has been evident for several years now, but it’s safe to say that the emergence of COVID-19 vastly increased attention to the changes taking place. The past 12 months have been hectic with global enterprises rushing to establish remote working and commerce processes, to keep themselves afloat amidst the crisis. Whereas the value proposition of many businesses provisioning office spaces has come into question and PCs have been abandoned for laptops, software accessibility has become a prime concern and individual departments have scrambled to set up reliable communication and operation channels.
With all of this in mind, it’s not hard to imagine that some decisions were taken in haste and perhaps not implemented with the level of care and attention necessary – meaning that organizations could have inadvertently left themselves vulnerable to risks they may not have been prepared for.
For example, with the rush to remote working, many businesses invested in Cloud-based software to keep the wheels turning and the lights on. However, with this quick transition, it’s entirely understandable that they may have neglected the need for proper processes to keep track of software usage. This could mean that they’re subjected to common cloud risks: uncontrolled proliferation with Cloud sprawl, potential data breaches, routinely paying for services they’re not using and a general lack of a single-point of control by the business.
How to Protect Yourself Against Cybersecurity Risks?
A key action that every business should take when considering their security measures is in ensuring that the suppliers they are partnering with have fully secure solutions. Because without this initial consideration, all further preventative measures could fall flat. At Certero, we understand that IT security must be diligently managed, controlled and protected – which is why we’ve worked tirelessly to obtain our ISO 27001 certification.
Additionally, your business should look towards gaining full visibility of its IT estate – whether this is across SaaS, Cloud or on premise environments. It’s only by doing so that you can effectively manage the landscape. Visibility of the Cloud and on premise will help you to understand quickly if there are any software products in use that carry a potential security risk to the business, where these hardware or application are and who is using them. Not only will this reduce risks, but it will also ensure that costs are kept to a minimum and all decision making is centralized through IT and is informed by insightful business intelligence.
No one wants to be left making partially-informed decisions to keep up with the fast-paced rate of change resulting from digital transformation. To empower you, Certero has developed a Unified Platform for IT Hardware and Software Asset Management, that provides a cloud-based single-platform solution for maximum visibility and control over all IT assets, whether on premise or in the cloud. In gaining this holistic viewpoint, organizations will be able to consolidate their technology portfolio. Not only will this allow them to cut costs by limiting the number of applications in use, but it additionally reduces the number of avenues that potential attackers could take.
By upgrading to this ‘single source of the truth’ solution you’ll be able to maximize the optimization of licenses and resources. As vendors also move towards single agreements (one contract renewal negotiated against your total spend with that vendor whether on premise or in the cloud) Certero will provide the same holistic view to inform and aid your negotiations.