Securing Digital Transformation: A CIO’s PerspectiveThe physical and digital world are almost indistinguishable today. Even more amazing is the speed at which the divide has closed, and the overlap has begun. By: Matt Diamond
If you think about the fact it took nearly one hundred years for the first industrial revolution to give way to mass production, it feels like the fourth industrial revolution has come about at lightning speed. While the adoption of technology in our everyday lives and in industry brings many advantages, it does need to come with a caveat. Businesses should naturally embrace digital transformation, but they must do it securely. The last 15 years is a great use case about society's lack of foresight when it comes to the dangers that digital transformation can pose to our world. Computer viruses like 'Witty Worm' in 2004, 'Zeus' in 2007, 'Stuxnet' in 2010, 'Cryptolocker' in 2013, and more recently the 'WannaCry ransomware' attack in 2017 show just how damaging society's lack of preparedness can be.
I recently worked on a white paper talking about digital transformation. In the paper we discuss digital transformation in detail, including important actions you can take to protecting businesses in this time of dramatic change. It feels prudent to share these with you now. Below is a high-level view of the 9 most important areas of focus we identified.
1. Remember the Basics - Two-Factor Authentication and Vulnerability Patching Two-factor authentication should always be enabled. It is of equal importance to maintain a timely vulnerability-patching program that is indexed onto the highest threats that are coming in relative to your organization.
2. Systems Integration for a Cohesive Security Architecture Businesses today need to integrate systems and create a cohesive security architecture. Ensure the systems you are supposed to be monitoring are integrated and enabling automated responses.
3. Training and Awareness Security needs to be a priority for everyone, regardless of role. Training, education, and awareness around phishing attacks are a critical way to reduce the risk of stolen credentials.
4. Visibility Visibility is critically important to the successful execution of digital transformation. Simply put, you can't defend what you can't see.
5. Effectively Introducing Automation into Threat Remediation Better visibility into different parts of the security environment is becoming more widely available, but there are still many moving parts that are shifting constantly. Automation can make remediation for known vulnerabilities more efficient let you contain security threats with higher confidence.
6. When It Comes to New Technologies, Emphasize Security Before Design and Deployment Leaders need to ensure that security is a continual, and iterative design process between IT, Security and Citizen Developers who together aim to achieve a common goal.
7. Future-Proof Your Security Strategy to Continually Advance Effectiveness The end state of digital transformation shifts continuously; understanding this is key to future-proofing security strategy. The right security strategy should anticipate the needs of a business as table stakes.
8. Make Security Part of Business Nomenclature at the Top Cybersecurity is a C-level conversation. Driving revenue growth and richer client interactions while reducing business risk is a shared objective across all leaders and must be communicated to all employees as such.
9. Iterate Your Security Strategy to Evolve with the Business Technology and security change quickly, so security strategies must be revisited regularly. It needs to be a constant reevaluation process with periodic adjustments depending on both the changing direction of the business and technological advances.
More detail on these 9 focus areas is available in the Digital Transformation Executive Summary, including actionable information, but allow me to conclude this by saying this; digital transformation is inevitable in the modern world. The success of any organization's digital transformation relies on their attitude to tackling a world where cybersecurity threats are pervasive. Organizations face many difficulties implementing the above but while these actions do take time and come with challenges, they enable conversation. I encourage you to download the Digital Transformation Executive Summary, share it with your stake holders and open up a dialogue that sees cybersecurity as a core part of your organization's digital transformation journey.