Digital transformation - is it a risk or an advantage? A threat or a benefit? Many companies are eschewing the practice, believing that it’s more secure to remain offline in a paper-laden environment that’s comfortable and predictable. Other companies embrace the change with fervor, looking to drive growth and improve performance by taking advantage of new technologies as they are released. Both sides hold merit.
A 2018 survey reported that 67% of respondents had entered the digital transformation process. The same survey indicated that 85% of responding Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) thought digital transformation security issues had a “somewhat” or “extremely large” impact on their business.
The truth is that digital transformation does compromise security in ways that a manual system never could, but it also improves protection in ways that offline practices never will. The process and the technologies associated with the digital transformation have created a unique ecosystem with the potential to harm and/or help any company hoping to reap the rewards of online infrastructure.
Security gaps created by digital transformation
There are plenty of benefits to migrating your entire company infrastructure from three-ring binders to digital warehousing. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of risks. It’s much easier for unsavory characters to access information stored digitally than it is for them to access information kept in a locked office.
Damage Potential: Digitalization increases what’s known as the attack surface of your company. It creates more virtual access points to your network, making it progressively challenging to monitor and protect each entryway. Sure, even rudimentary security measures can detect obvious threats, but how well do they stand up against disguised and mutating malware capable of imitating critical files in your system? These polymorphic attacks are tough to detect, complicated to remove, and capable of spreading across your network at an alarming rate.
Rate of Change: Further complicating the protection of a digitally transformed company is the rapid change rate brought on by the ease and convenience of an online enterprise. We are now capable of executing development and release cycles in a relatively short period of time. The quicker an item transitions through development, however, the more likely it is to contain bugs, errors, or vulnerabilities missed by a process focused on speed over security.
Regulatory compliance practices overcome some of the risks of digital transformation but aren’t enough to completely protect a company from hackers that don’t subscribe to rules or regulations. Fortunately, there are other ways to attain digital safety.
Security gaps mitigated by digital transformation
For nearly every threat brought on by digital transformation, there is a new technology capable of providing a solution. The same software characteristics that speed up development processes and create unsecured entry points also allow for the rapid development and deployment of safeguards. And, because securing infrastructures requires less stealth than infiltrating them, protective measures are not bound by a need to remain discrete.
Integration and automation
Most experts agree that the best way to secure your company online is to integrate and automate. Systems that work cohesively instead of tangentially are much more likely to be effective at identifying threats and responding appropriately. With assistance from new technologies - like Enterprise Platforms as a Service (EPaaS) which often comes with built-in protection features - companies can improve visibility across their network, system, and user interfaces, conveniently monitoring safeguards in a single landscape.
The benefits only increase for companies whose security practices are more than 50% automated. Updates for each stack component can be identified and installed in real time, meaning the length of time your infrastructure spends exposed reduces dramatically. Automatic backups and version replication further serve to defend a unified security architecture from digital threats.
Timing is also critical when it comes to digital security. How fast can you detect a problem? How often are you conducting penetration tests and updating your software? How quickly can your system respond to threats? The technologies established as the result of digital transformation are uniquely positioned to improve answers to each of the above questions.
Platforms that integrate systems aid in the rapid detection of abnormalities. When internal components are developed using standards and similar methods or styles, outside threats are more easily identified. Add in automatic system updates and instant communication capabilities, and enterprise security improves dramatically. Even complex technical responses can be implemented swiftly thanks to the enhanced development process enabled by digital transformation.
Corporate security is critical to corporate success. Thus, it’s completely understandable that certain companies are hesitant to pursue digital transformation. The threat potential increases and the attacks are more complex in an online environment. However, digital transformation also catalyzes the creation of advanced technology engineered not only to improve enterprise performance but to protect company infrastructure.
It is true that the potential for problems gives way to the opportunity for solutions. Digital transformation merely provides a framework to enhance those opportunities and advance security practices for enterprises around the globe.