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Putting Security at the Heart of Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation has been a “cool” industry term for the last number of years. However, even if it wasn't, in this digital age surely even the most cautious of businesses are starting to recognize the financial, operational and productive implications of digitally streamlining their systems, processes and customer engagements?

The problem is, as, with most things in tech, when something sounds obvious, it invariably isn’t to deliver. As such, the result is that many a ‘digital transformation’ has slipped into what some call a 'digital makeover' – a nebulous concept of doing "surface digital" that is difficult for security teams to prepare for or deliver against.
 
The key is to step back and view digital transformation as a journey to gaining operational and technical agility, via adapting to the changes happening around us. As organizations gain more agility and adapt to increasing demands of the digital economy and the connected customer, it’s imperative that security is not just invited along on the journey – but is strategically placed at the heart of the transformation. The result means changing the way organizations approach security.
 
Matching the rise of digital transformations, it's not surprising that cybersecurity has risen the ranks in business’ overall IT concerns – not least because of an increasingly complex threat landscape and the enhanced impact of a breach to the business via the costs of financial, reputational and regulatory risks.

Add in the factor that more digital touch points mean that the fallibility of the human race is even more exposed it's no wonder that 80% of organizations are planning to increase security spending overall this year, according to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise Information Security study.
 
This leads neatly onto why digital transformation projects pose a huge opportunity for security teams. Typically, security teams have let the technology drive their security strategy not the business risk. A digital transformation represents an opportunity to step back and align security needs and risk appetites with those of the business via working in tandem with the digital project teams and have the visibility to understand what is needed and where.
 
As organizations gain agility via real-time sharing of data and services at anytime and anywhere, they will be able to improve how they serve and engage with customers, be them b2b or b2c. They are, however, creating more points of risk.

The one truth in cybersecurity is that you can never be 100% secure. By working in tandem with IT to identify the areas of greatest risk to the business, the security team can identify and mitigate against on the same cybersecurity risk pathways.
 
Moving to proactively identifying risk and making decisions against a risk profile does require a shift from security teams as well. Evolving agility and proactive use of data to drive engagements means that you security teams can no longer stay with their reactive “monitor, detect and respond” strategies to create a safe environment, which is akin to shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The beauty of a digital transformation project is that this can be flipped around so that security teams effectively become part of the stable build, focusing on proactive approaches, communicating with IT teams about what will and won’t contain a horse, so they know and crucially, can accept the risk.

As we look ahead, cybersecurity is going to take more of a center stage – by adopting a partnership approach in a project such as digital transformation a company can be on the front foot and evolve its security practices accordingly.

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