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How to manage digital transformation and maintain true cybersecurity

For a rapidly growing number of companies and organizations, digital transformation is creating powerful opportunities. That is beneficial and highly reasonable – but business leaders need to understand that pushing more of your assets into the digital environment adds a whole new dimension to your risk. 

Technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet-of-Things, and even simple cloud computing continue to disrupt the ways most businesses compete and create value. And all of this expanded reliance on the cloud, data, and data-processing software comes at a time when cyber threats are exploding.

You can’t afford to overlook the immediate and long-term opportunities that “moving to digital” bring to your organization. And you shouldn’t ignore the profound effect this move can have on your security position. To fully realize the vast potential benefits of deepening your adoption of new digital technologies, you should be aware of the pitfalls that might arise during the digital transformation process.

Ultimately, this is a cautionary blog post with a happy ending: you need to know there are steps you can take to ensure that your organization remains secure and efficient while undergoing digital transformation. At the top of the list is cybersecurity training for everyone on your team. This training should be required for every remote worker whose devices are connected to your network, and it’s also invaluable for everyone in management, including the C-suite.

I’d also invite you to consider the possibility that cybersecurity services and managed cloud migration can help keep your organization safe as you and your in-house team focus on the big shift to the digital universe.

Know Your Adversaries—and Your Vulnerabilities

To derive optimum value from your digital initiatives, it’s important that you recognize the impact these necessary changes will have on your existing ecosystems. You need to prepare to manage the risks that are introduced into the environment. 

There’s no getting around the fact that a greater dependency on massively interconnected technology creates a greater risk of disruption to operations or unavailability of services. At the same time, tools exist that can allow you to face that fact and take action immediately.

Your digital transformation plan must include a CyberDefense element: strategies for cyber resiliency, disaster recovery, crisis management, and business continuity. You and your security team need to factor the new risks into your consideration of network architecture, platform hardening, vulnerability management, application security, and security monitoring. 

It’s no coincidence that the spike in cybercrime over recent months and years tracks with the corporate rush to the cloud. Sadly, as organizations race to deliver cloud-enhanced functionalities to their employees and customers—thus creating new vulnerabilities—they are in too big a hurry. They get careless. They get hurt.

I need to remind you that in the years since the digital-transformation wave crested, cybercrimes have cost companies around the world hundreds of billions of dollars. Last year, ransomware attacks alone cost businesses more than $21 billion. I can’t say all of that would have been saved if these companies paid more attention to their cybersecurity during the transformational stage–but I can promise you that a lot of that money could have been saved.

Enhanced risk during the digital transformation process

Big investments in transformative technologies don’t mean much if the process puts your business, customers, and valuable assets at risk. 

Don’t get me wrong—cloud migration is almost universally a good thing and can actually enhance your security position. But migrating all of your data to the cloud is not easy. On the other hand, finding out what it will take to carefully migrate critical elements of your business to the cloud is a very straightforward process. 

Ultimately, cybersecurity is about making software behave correctly in the midst of a malicious attack. The scope of the security is relative to the data and services being protected and needs to at least match the skills and resources of your adversaries. Of course, the costs of cybersecurity measures factor into every strategist’s decision matrix.

Again, if you are already engaged in the process of digital transformation, or if you are considering taking bigger steps toward complete cloud migration, be sure and keep your CyberDefenses up. I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.

Until next time,

Tim

Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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