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A smart security+privacy approach can be enabler and accelerator of digital transformation. In the last ten years, cybersecurity threats have unfortunately become normalized for the modern enterprise. Data breaches, Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), ransomware, and so on, are all, unfortunately, common problems affecting companies across every sector and of all sizes.

The Data Breach Investigation Report 2020 (DBIR), a long-standing analysis of the level of threats across industry, points out that “As time goes on, it appears that attackers become increasingly efficient”.

This efficiency in cyber-attacks parallels the digital transformation of industry. The digitization of business processes has allowed organizations across all sectors to leverage technology. But cybercriminals are adept at making the most of security gaps in technology and business processes.

So, how does an organization turn this on its head and make security+privacy an enabler, not a disabler, for digital transformation?

Digital Transformation and Security Exploits

Digitally transforming the enterprise has resulted in an explosion of innovation across industry. The drivers have included improvements in productivity, better customer engagement, and with that, retention of competitive edge. The tools to achieve this digital transformation have included cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, and more recently, enabling technology for remote working -- including digital assistants.

One of the capabilities underpinning digital transformation is connectivity. Connected devices and expanded infrastructures based on cloud computing, all create a ‘fluid fabric’. Within this fabric, data and other IT resources, are created, shared, and stored.  Key to creating the right technology environment for digital transformation are smart technologies. A Forrester Consulting survey found that 93% of companies going through digital transformation believed they needed smart technologies including IoT and machine learning. Importantly, 92% of companies were interested in data unification across intelligent technologies and business processes.

Simply put, the opportunities afforded by smart systems that facilitate the use of data within business processes, also allow for potential security exploits.

Transformative technologies like cloud computing and IoT are being targeted by cybercriminals. Fraudsters love data and any avenue to expose and exploit these data will be found. In 2020, 83% of organizations placed security as the top challenge in cloud computing.

Closing Security Gaps

A Ponemon Institute study into the challenges of digital transformation found that 65% of respondents said they were held back by challenges in securing the digital transformation process and environment.

Security, time and again, is the sticking point in pushing through the digital transformation barrier. The answer is to weave cybersecurity measures into the tools of transformation.

A dual approach to enabling digital transformation is to add security and privacy to the process. Both security and privacy must become part of transformation design. A mix of dynamic and strategic measures will complete a Venn of digital transformation and help to make projects successful.

Enable transformation with security

The types of technology needed for digital transformation are designed to take full advantage of connectivity. Cloud platforms, mobile devices and the IoT, all offer innovative ways to work. They also support remote working. To do so, these technologies operate across a complex mesh of connected endpoints and servers. Using security tools that are built for this extended ecosystem helps alleviate the risk when moving data across a wide surface area.

Tools that help secure digital transformation technologies include:

  1. Encryption: To protect data at rest and during transit, e.g., when shared
  2. Authentication: To ensure that access controls are applied robustly. The use of two-factors or even multiple factors is a good idea. Other authentication measures such as the application of risk-based rules to increase required credentials under certain conditions.
  3. Smart monitoring of behavior: Machine learning-based technologies are applied to prevent theft by malicious insiders as well as external cybercriminals.
  4. Endpoint security: Endpoint Detection and Response tools (EDR) are used on endpoint devices to spot signs of a cyber-attack.
  5. Identity and access management: Applying control over who can access data and IT resources is a fundamental part of securing any system. In distributed services that are interconnected across interfaces (APIs), a robust identity approach is vital.

Enable transformation with compliance

The regulatory landscape has become ever more stringent in recent years. The updates to policies across the world reflect the use of digitally transforming technologies that facilitate data processing. Data protection regulations and laws such as GDPR in the EU, CCPA in the USA, and PIPEDA in Canada, have strict requirements. As an organization embraces the technologies to facilitate digital transformation, maintaining compliance with these regulations can be a challenge.

Privacy by Design and Data Security by Design can help to ensure that digitally transformed architectures reflect the regulatory requirements of an organization. Further, the use of specialist firms that can offer consultancy on regulatory affairs, can help ensure the process of digital transformation does not pull a company out of compliance. A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) or a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) tests out an organization's transformed infrastructures ensuring you meet regulatory requirements.

Enabling Digital Transformation Using Security and Privacy as a Dual Approach

Digital transformation is carried out through due process. By integrating cybersecurity into this process, you can make sure that your business successfully digitizes business operations. Security and privacy form a part of the trusted relationships of a modern extended enterprise. By closely linking cybersecurity and privacy as you digitally transform your company, you will reduce the risk of a cyber-attack, de-risk your organization’s data processing operations, and protect your reputation and brand.

Security+Privacy is an enabler of digital transformation, providing a framework for project success. We owe it to our customers and our business to get digital transformation right. Applying security+privacy to the process of digitally upgrading a business process, empowers the transformation of your organization.

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