08 Oct Cybersecurity should be a priority in any digital transformation
Make Cybersecurity a priority in your digital transformation. Adapt to change and ensure resilience.
Recently the EU enacted the cybersecurity strategy for the digital decade, showcasing the importance of cyber security based on three main pillars namely regulatory, investment and policy instruments. Cyber threats and risks need to be mitigated, to have an open Internet and safeguard the fundamental rights of every citizen.
In general, the main components of a digital transformation initiative include data processing, automation of business processes, adaptation of resources (into a digital culture) and the implementation of the right innovative technology such as the cloud. Cyber security needs to be embedded in each and every building block of the digital transformation, irrespective of the project size and complexity.
The world, even due to Covid-19, experienced a rapid transition into a new way of working. This sudden shift, brought about a number of changes and challenges that need addressing. Cybersecurity is a key element that needs to be at the top of any business and ICT priority list. It needs to be amalgamated with cloud migration, data analytics, the introduction of new user touchpoints, and network infrastructure. Workforces need to adapt. Education is vital. Human error is one of the main reasons why cyber attackers infiltrate organisations.
When designing automation of processes and service lines, always strive to strike a balance between scope and performance and security, to avoid downtime. Security needs to be instilled by design; and not added once a system or application is rolled-out.
Barriers to Cyber Security Implementation
No organisation has unlimited resources. That is a fact. The main challenges to implement cyber security in digital transformation projects are lack of time, low budgets, lack of awareness, scarcity of specialised resources and over confidence. The same way as digital transformation has become a priority, cyber security and information security must be a priority. It is the protection of some of the organisation’s most important assets – Data, Systems, Applications, Customers, Finance and Reputation.
It is a matter of Organisation Culture
Cyber security goes beyond the traditional IT department remit. It needs to be the responsibility of all elements within the organisation. All resources need to be well aware of the cyber threats that exist, how to defend against them and the consequences they can create. Viewpoints need to evolve.
Mindsets need to change. Security standards need to be adhered to by all at all times. Business leaders need to educate and the significance needs to cascade down to all departments within the organisation to clarify the importance of cyber security. Cyber security is nowadays an integral part of the business model.
Digital transformation needs to focus on cyber security
Before implementing a digital transformation project, organisations need to create a strategic plan choosing and designing the right blocks for the leap forward. Typically, this entails choices like the development of cloud applications, data migrations, automation of processes, training sessions for the workforce, interfaces and integrations with a number (possibly external) systems and upgrading the underlying infrastructure. Security needs to be considered as key in each and every block.
Security is required to be legally compliant with data privacy rules, such as GDPR, and to safeguard the interest of key stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, service providers and investors. Cyber Security is required to be integrated into all areas of the organisation. Vulnerability assessments and penetration tests are to be carried out on a regular basis to ensure all (possible) weaknesses and holes are identified (before cyber criminals exploit them!).
Organisations have to live with cyber security risks – but, it is imperative that they identify risks, measure risks, mitigate risks and proactively manage such risks. Failing to do so, can have devastating consequences. Cyber security needs to be consistently a business priority, not only during digital transformation, but going forward (as well!) it needs to be core to all business activity.
The importance of having a CISO
The role of the CISO has evolved dramatically over the past few years. Security used to be segregated and hidden – nowadays, it is a visible integrated function in organisations. Security is no longer seen as a ‘hurdle’ before launching a system or application. Today, it is a must-have requirement which is openly discussed during the initial analysis and design phase of application development. It is unthinkable, in modern organisations, that security professionals are not involved in projects from the inception (and throughout!).
CISOs are as of lately more strategic and influential, and are heavily involved in bringing services and applications to market faster. Growth needs a strong CISO to ensure a smooth transition into a digital-ready environment. CISOs create opportunities and not simply remove obstacles. Globally, there is a shortage of security professionals, thus a number of new arrangements have evolved, such as the rent-a-CISO model. If executed correctly, security can help businesses create a competitive advantage which is sustainable long-term.
CISOs need to be collaborative in spirit and work together with all departments inside an organisation to transform security by making it highly automated and tightly embedded by architecture. The focus should always be on mitigation and possible remediation. The CISO role is crucial to the success of digital transformation. Security needs to be seen as an enabler. It should be designed to accelerate digital experiences and drive innovation. Customer experience is key to the overall business success, in the rapidly changing digital landscape. How adaptable to change and how quick an organisation can address customer needs, business requirements and priorities, will define the success of an organisation.
Make us part of your digital transformation initiative. Let’s move forward, together, in this new digital landscape. Embracing change is part of success!