Security Solutions

5 mins

Security is at the heart of digital transformation

You hear a lot about the benefits of digital transformation, but not so much about the practicalities of achieving them. There is a notable lack of discussion regarding the risks that accompany digital transformation - the security risks, in particular. 

Digital transformation projects usually involve the adoption of new software solutions that improve workflows and productivity for businesses - but they also expand a company’s attack surface. For instance, a recent survey found that 47% of respondents had noted an increase in attack volume or severity following their digital transformation efforts. Among these, 59% experienced more malware, 48% encountered increased ransomware exploits, and 43% faced higher numbers of phishing attacks.

The lack of recognition that introducing more digital tools necessarily introduces more cybersecurity risks is particularly worrying given the breadth of industries embracing digital transformation. From medicine to manufacturing, digitalization is helping to increase productivity and supercharge revenue. But there’s no need to forego these benefits. There is a way for digital transformation to be pursued securely. 

However, to truly bring cybersecurity and digital transformation together requires a holistic approach, one that combines technological safeguards and human expertise - all rolled up in a zero-trust, secure-by-design framework. If you want to pursue digital transformation at your organization without worrying about the risks that could be introduced, we’ve come up with these five tips. Follow these to place security at the very heart of your digital transformation plans.

Take compliance to the very top

One of the reasons that organizations encounter security challenges is that different people have different views on cyber defense. There's no unity between the everyday workers and the management team. Board members may not fully recognize the challenges to achieving compliance - nor the financial and reputation damage that could stem from any failure to do so. 

Creating a culture of compliance means leadership personnel embracing an ethos of accountability and recognition. With the range of digital tools at companies growing rapidly, compliance is fast becoming a board-level issue. A burgeoning number of industry standards and regulations will apply as your number of digital solutions increases. A single slip-up could be all that’s required to result in a catastrophic business failure. 

This is why businesses can’t afford to simply pay lip service to compliance. A CISO can send out the right message to other staff regarding the importance of compliance by allocating sufficient budget and resources to support the responsible use of digital tools and adopting ethical principles themself. If the C-suite takes compliance seriously, employees will follow suit. And you’ll see any fears about digital transformation melt away at all levels of your company.

Work with the right people

It’s sometimes forgotten how central people are to any digital transformation initiative. This extends to the people you work with both inside and outside the company. Internally, make sure your cybersecurity team has the skills and experience required to deal with the latest threats. This is especially challenging given the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, with a reported 71% of organizations admitting to being impacted by a lack of cybersecurity skills. Investing in renewed cybersecurity training is one way businesses can support their employees as they get to grips with an influx of new digital solutions. 

However, businesses can’t focus solely on the human cybersecurity challenges that might have their roots within their own company. If you’re working with a managed service provider, it’s essential that the vendor’s security credentials are properly assessed before any contracts are signed. Digital transformation often involves collaborations with third-party software providers. This unlocks significant opportunities for businesses that would be available if they did things on their own - but it could also introduce security vulnerabilities. 

What’s more, when businesses work with multiple vendors, they also open themselves up to a great deal of cybersecurity complexity. False positives can appear at an overwhelming rate. It is better to work with (and conduct due diligence on) a select group of vendors to enable digital transformation without creating more risks or uncertainty. 

Tackle cloud complexity

Another area where complexity (and security vulnerabilities) can arise in digital transformation projects is the result of multiple different cloud environments. Cloud computing is an ubiquitous part of many digital transformation plans, with just under half (48%) of all organizations having invested in cloud-enabled tools and technologies as part of their workplace’s digital transformation. But the fact that different workloads may run in different cloud environments means incorporating a holistic cybersecurity strategy into your cloud initiatives is a challenge.  

If your digitalization program involves the cloud, therefore, there’s a good chance that you should make multi-cloud security a priority. Businesses must look for security solutions that take a comprehensive look at their entire attack surface, regardless of how many vendors or clouds it spreads across. Taking a zero-trust approach to digital transformation means adopting security policies that can manage the complexities of multiple cloud platforms - and treating each with the same level of scrutiny. 

Make the right investments

There’s no getting away from it—security costs. But robust, reliable defenses aren’t dependent on how much money you spend, but rather where you spend it. For CISOs, this means making strategic choices to guarantee the highest possible return on security investment. Committing yourself to a cloud firewall that prevents a debilitating ransomware attack, for example, is likely to be money well spent, but IT budgets can be tight, so it’s all about making tough financial decisions.

Because there’s no shortage of cybersecurity investment options available to CISOs, they’ll need to carefully evaluate the likely impact of any investment. Increasingly, introducing automation is viewed as one of the more cost-effective security approaches that businesses can take. Not only does it mean that security personnel are saved from undertaking repetitive, manual tasks, allowing them to focus on adding value, but it also means that more digital tools can be employed as part of your digital transformation plan without increasing the security burden on your staff.

Monitor and evaluate

Digital transformation isn’t really the sort of thing that businesses can ever be done and dusted with. Technological evolution will never be complete and new digital solutions are being developed all the time. Digital transformation is a continuous process and, as such, the cybersecurity posture surrounding it needs to be continually monitored, assessed, and renewed. 

Collect feedback from both your solutions and your staff to see where potential threats are being identified. The threat landscape is changing all the time, so look at conducting regular security audits - or better yet, employ automated asset mapping and real-time testing solutions to check software as soon as you incorporate it within your corporate network. 

Trust your transformation

If your CISO is constantly worried about the risks that new solutions may introduce to your company, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to fully embrace the latest innovations and unlock the potential of your digital transformation plan. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Hadrian’s offensive security solution promises autonomous penetration testing, third-party risk monitoring, and continuous asset discovery. It adopts the hacker’s perspective to evaluate your entire attack surface - no matter how much it has expanded as a result of your digital transformation efforts. Put security at the heart of these efforts. Use Hadrian to gain peace of mind when pursuing digital transformation. 

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