How to Balance Security with Digital Transformation

As the cybersecurity industry expands, the number of security solutions available has exploded so that a recent study revealed that IT security professionals are struggling to keep up with the technologies that drive digital transformation.

Despite new offerings to enhance supply chains and digitalize customer experiences, new security challenges have unfurled in the form of an expanded attack surface. This is a double-edged sword and is increasingly becoming a boardroom issue. 

So, how do companies keep up with the pace of innovation (and competition) while protecting their critical assets from security breaches?

New technology, introduces new risks 
Investment in technology is not a new phenomenon and more and more organizations are adopting a digital approach to enhance productivity. This has seen an upscale in the number of serverless architectures, virtualized infrastructures and open source software implemented by organizations.  

This rise has run parallel with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). However, by embracing this virtual route, organizations are presenting cyber-criminals with endless entry points into the system to cause disruption to the business.

A recent study highlighted these concerns by IT security professionals, with many worried that as key assets were being stored and processed digitally, this made them more vulnerable to attack, whereby a cyber-criminal could develop a strategy to identify a weak point and move laterally within an organizations system and exploit its data. Knowing this, the pressure is on security teams to go beyond the call of duty. 

Simply patching and mitigating vulnerabilities in the infrastructure independently from applications, cloud network and other connecting technologies is no longer suffice. To ensure an organization is fully protected, total transparency and visibility is required to raise any cyber security concerns within the technology.

Easier said than done
As the number of technologies continue to expand, the ones to suffer the most from this are IT security teams. These defenders of all things virtual are charged with guaranteeing the safety of the data behind the systems walls. However, with limited resources and man-power, today’s security professionals are expected to know where every strand of data is kept and protected, and stay up to date with current trends. 

They are under severe pressure, stretched thinly and this has attributed to the industry’s skills gap. Unfortunately, this is nothing new and has remained one of the biggest problems for CISOs to try and address. 

This triggers a domino effect, which starts with the organization and ends with its customers and partners who end up suffering the most. In fact, it was recently found that over 40% of IT security professionals have admitted to ignoring critical security issues when they don’t know how to fix them or don’t have the time to address them.

Security teams need help and solutions to this age-old problem include automating cybersecurity processes and upskilling staff to lessen the burden to ensure long term success. 

Getting the balance right
With digital transformation, security often gets muffled out. But, with high profiled data breaches circulating the headlines daily and newly enforced legislations, organizations must get the balance between technology and security right.

Therefore, organizations need to gain full exposure and understand their cyber exposure across networks, applications, cloud infrastructures, data stores and user access privileges. Penetration testing would be an appropriate method to gain a holistic overview of the entire system, highlight any vulnerable assets and uncover critical issues that could put the business at risk. 

Introducing automation within continuous security monitoring solutions can equally be beneficial and efficient to match the ever-changing techniques used by today’s cyber-criminals, especially if organizations only patch once or twice a year. Neglecting patching and system updates presents a huge window of opportunity for attackers.

By automating the security process, the threat surface will naturally reduce, leaving security teams to focus their attention on remediating issues based on risk levels which maximizes their time and efficiency. 

Organizations should not neglect the information provided by such tests and must act upon the results as close to the final assessment as possible. Those involved must understand the potential risk of vulnerabilities found in the environment and address the findings from both a business and technical perspective. This will enable C-level executives to make informed decisions on the strategy for remediation, leaving security teams with a clearer view into the various solutions and technologies available to address the necessary security issues. 

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?