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It’s no secret that digital technology has transformed the way we do business. It’s also no secret that many more changes lie ahead. Every year, new digital technology disrupts the status quo and opens new operational vistas for the enterprise. After cloud, mobile and social innovations that have already changed our world, advances in virtual reality, blockchain, AI and quantum computing will continue to reshape how we work and live.
Digital transformation is rapidly becoming an imperative. However, while an exciting journey, initiatives can bring anxiety to an organisation’s cybersecurity team and IT professionals.
In a rapidly digitising environment, safeguarding the security of data is critical for organisations planning or carrying out transformation initiatives. Many CIOs struggle to maintain confidentiality, integrity and the availability of core information. Achieving these security objectives requires a holistic and integrated approach from the start: Security by design.
The Digital Deadlock
As well as being at different stages in their digital transformation journey, organisations are at different levels of digital maturity. Many can execute a relatively small digital project within departmental or functional silos but are unable to move beyond these ad hoc digital projects and achieve scale. They are stuck in a “digital deadlock”.
There are four key security actions to break the digital transformation deadlock and to accelerate organisation transformation journeys:
1. Align security strategy to digital transformation
An organisation must start by formulating a security strategy that is aligned to its business and digital transformation strategy. Risk increases when adopting new technologies and applications across platforms on-premises and in the cloud. When an organisation’s roadmap includes moving a critical or non-critical application to cloud, its security strategy for data, identity application, infrastructure and analytics needs to be aligned accordingly.
2. Build collaborative teams
A successful digital transformation journey is complex and involves the entire organisation; that is why it is called a “transformation”. While the need to involve functions like a business unit and IT is obvious, it is equally important to include security, procurement, legal and project management. This committee of all stakeholders must define the KPIs for each function and meet regularly to govern the process of digital transformation. Ignoring security is not an option; you do it at the cost of success. Ensure that security is built-in at the design stage rather than bolted on as an afterthought.
3. Create an architecture to implement your security strategy
Practical implementation of the transformation-aligned security strategy, which invariably means selecting and deploying new technologies, is a major challenge. Typically, organisations have difficultly integrating new and existing technologies, dealing with resource constraints and navigating a dynamic technology landscape. This often leads to an ad-hoc deployment of security technology on a piecemeal basis, and a failure to achieve the level of security integration needed.
4. Define governance
Security transformation journeys are long, complex and dynamic. Organisations may set out the KPIs and objectives they need to achieve for different facets of security (e.g. risk, compliance, cloud, application, mobile, data and others). However, it is natural to lose track of a few or dilute them as we go along. This is why good governance is a must. Investment in governance helps to keep projects on track and measures the organisation’s progress towards its goals.
Today digital transformation is a must for most organisations wanting to grow or even survive. An effective well-thought-out cybersecurity strategy and execution program are essential to any digital transformation journey. When you plan and execute with security at the core, you can achieve greater business agility and improved customer experience, without taking reckless risks.