Pursuing Digital Transformation? Don’t Forget About Security

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 18th 2019 — Categories: IT Modernization, Security

Digital transformation may be a bit of a catch all for adopting modern IT principles and technologies, from cloud platforms and services to mobility and big data to DevOps practices, but it is a real movement throughout the business realm.

The primary gist is to not only introduce new tech, but to also take a close look at the business processes and organizational units behind them to ensure that innovation can occur, and the bottom line is improved. In other words, technology for the sake of technology won’t solve any business problems. You must transform your entire organization with a combination of technology and process.

True digital transformation involves your entire organization and results in the integration of various systems and operations across the business. If that sounds like a major undertaking, it is.

It also comes with a slew of information security concerns that should not be overlooked in the rush to the cloud.

How Digital Transformation Raises Your Risk Exposure

The primary technologies you’ll be looking at during digital transformation are cloud computing (including all -a-a-S forms you can imagine), Internet of Things, mobile device management, desktop modernization, automation, and AI or machine learning.

As you move to many IT infrastructure components delivered as a Service, you’ll find rapid adoption amongst business units that the IT department may or may not be made aware of. Even if officially provisioned by IT, there are increased attack vectors. Integrations with third parties are inevitable. As more and more services access your network, there are more opportunities for phishing, polymorphic, code injection, and man in the middle attacks.

As-a-Service solutions are also delivered from myriad vendors, some of which may not reside in your home country. Compliance and privacy protections have become even more vital as IT services are procured at-will and from a wide range of vendors.

Alongside digital transformation comes the continuous improvement philosophy, which encourages rapid iteration of applications and integrated services. While this can lead to faster patching, it can also make it easier to miss security vulnerabilities without strong QA and visibility across the IT environment.

Digital Transformation is Also a Security Opportunity

While you’re overhauling your entire approach to IT, make a strong case to include security solutions as well. Modern IT infrastructure requires integrated security systems with visibility throughout the entire stack. Alongside security technology should come automation, which enforces policies such as patching, password expiration and complexity, e-mail attachment and screening, and much more. An automated security process could guarantee that new virtual servers spun up within your public cloud account, for example, include crucial security policies and network configurations.

Automated security policy is but one component you must address in official documentation and workflows. Implement threat intelligence and training programs across the entire organization, with at least quarterly trainings and quizzes to keep users informed and on their toes.

As a security proponent, you must justify to stakeholders – up to and including the board – that security is not a cost center or an afterthought to avoid compliance fines or a hit to your public reputation (though these are valuable arguments to be made as well). It is a central component to achieve the digital transformation goals of efficiency, optimization, innovation, and the user experience.