Digital technologies have emerged as the most fundamental tools for the survival of businesses in the fiercely-competitive modern marketplace. Implementation of modern technologies helps achieve the most desirable business objectives. However, the adoption of innovations to facilitate digital transformation also brings cybersecurity challenges too.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Deploying digital technologies either to transform the existing business processes, activities, the organizational culture or to create a completely new business ecosystem suited for the most demanding requirements of today’s customers is known as a digital transformation, also called DT or DX. Digital transformation helps both businesses and societies improve the efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of existing processes and create great value for customers.
Impact of Digital Transition on Digital Ecosystem
According to the World Economic Forum projection, the combined global dividend of digital transformation to business and society would reach $100 trillion by 2025, while investments in digital technologies are expected to cross $4.2 trillion by 2024.
However, the new devices and technology can be attractive entry points for attackers, if cybersecurity is not treated as the foundation block in the entire digital transformation building. These days, companies are quick to adopt cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the Internet of things (IoT), software applications powered by augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchain technologies, and numerous other modern components. But with new additions come new challenges – recently, over 82% of executives and IT experts noticed one or more than one data breach after the deployment of new technology due to cybersecurity failure. Thus, on the basis of those hard facts and figures, it is imperative to consider cybersecurity as the top priority for any kind of digital transformation.
Reasons to Place Cybersecurity on Top of the List
Let’s explore the main reasons an organization should place cybersecurity at the top of the priority list when undergoing a digital transformation process.
- Extended threat landscape – Modern technologies such as the internet of things, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, shared resources, cloud computing, the remote workspace, collaboration and communication systems, and other technological stacks expand the attack surface, which may lead to complete business devastation in case one of them gets compromised. According to the projection by Gartner, just 50% of the companies would have the resources to deploy sophisticated end-to-end cyber threat detection and response systems to replace traditional cybersecurity methods like antivirus, anti-malware, or firewalls by 2023. Because of this, and the fact that the attack surface keeps expanding, numerous companies may fall victim to more devastating cyberattacks in the near future.
- High-tech adversaries – The malicious actors of the modern digital world are highly skilled and powered by sophisticated tools and technologies. They use diverse techniques and innovative approaches to breach into the digital ecosystems of businesses. They exploit the vulnerabilities in your newly deployed digital systems and infrastructure through numerous ways and points of billions of connected devices worldwide.
- Code replacing everything – Computer code has become the backbone of modern digital transformation and automation. Almost, every physical product and tool traditionally used in our daily business and social life has either become a software-defined asset or gone under the control of software code to a certain extent. Vulnerabilities are almost everywhere in software code that defines assets and process automation. Threat actors can easily exploit those vulnerabilities in software code to launch cyberattacks on digital systems.
- Organization culture – According to a recent research report by Verizon, more than 82% of data breaches occurred due to human factors such as repetitive passwords, carelessness, human errors in configurations, temptation, and others. Thus, the level of security awareness in your organization matters a lot for maintaining a high level of cybersecurity in digital business systems. A zero-trust policy should be adopted in the organization and regular training and refresher sessions regarding the importance of cybersecurity are very crucial during digital transformation.
- Regional and international regulations – You need to place cybersecurity as the top priority because numerous standards and regulations at the regional, as well as the global level, have been adopted to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of the users of the services. The main regulations include the general data protection regulation (GDPR), the health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA), the act on the protection of personal information (APPI), and many others. Without quality cybersecurity, you cannot achieve compliance with the relevant data protection and privacy standards.
- The huge cost of a data breach – The average cost of a data breach to businesses in 2022 is a whopping $4.35 million. A data breach affects businesses multi-dimensionally and results in loss of loyalty, reputation, sales, and trust. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) would not be able to sustain such a huge economic impact of a data breach and may vanish from the market altogether. Those who manage to survive would likely suffer from a substantial loss of competitive edge in the market.
Useful Tips to Maintain Robust Cybersecurity
In a modern business environment, cybersecurity should be an integral part of every process, application, activity, policy, culture, and any other component used in your organization.
- Stick to the 5C cybersecurity principle – Compliance, Cost, Change, Continuity, and Coverage in the digital ecosystem.
- Always adhere to the defined security policy without any exceptions.
- Adopt continual monitoring for emerging threats.
- Maintain continual risk assessment processes to figure out vulnerabilities in all stages of the digital transformation processes.
- Keep software applications and firmware up-to-date.
- Hire skilled and qualified cybersecurity professionals to maintain a robust security policy.
- Make sure your remote employees always use a VPN suited for their device’s operating system.
- Network, as well as digital workspace, should be layered and modular to keep the potential risks at bay.
- Adopt a zero-trust approach for the entire workforce without any exceptions.
Companies may often be distracted by the sheen and shine of the benefits of modern technologies such as increased efficiency, productivity, and others. But, they often forget that those new technologies need extensive security and care because new additions to the company infrastructure are always the main targets of hackers. The impact of cyberattacks is multi-pronged and overwhelming for the business and can lead to either a complete collapse of your company or a huge loss of revenue. Keeping cybersecurity at the top of the priority list can help achieve the desired business goals of digital transformation.
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