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Securing digital transformation

One good thing this Covid-19 pandemic has brought is that it has catalyzed the digital transformation of organizations, and the adaptability of the digital way of life by the masses, which otherwise was a distant dream for at least about a decade.

The recent pandemic has changed both what and how in the operations of the businesses as well. The organizations have carried out digital transformation for their products and processes like never before. Digital transformation is the inte­gration of digital technology into all areas of a business, funda­mentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. Digital transformation has been done mainly for increasing productivity and profitability, improving processes or process automation, product value addition, customer experience, etc. The driving force behind digital transfor­mation is technological advance­ment like cloud-based techno­logies, blockchain technology, AI, ML, deep learning, etc.

However, with the rush to ensure business continuity by adopting various digital tools, cyber-security sometimes gets over­looked, giving a chance to cyber-criminals and hackers. According to a Gartner report, through 2025, 30 percent of critical infra­structure organizations will experience a security breach that will result in the halting of operations or mission-critical cyber-physical systems. This is all due to the incapability of their security teams to manage digital-related risks. Invest­ments in technologies would be completely meaningless if organiza­tions fail to protect their business due to cyber-attacks.

Organizations must understand the criticality of cyber-security and during the digital transformation process must take some of the following measures:

  • Building cyber-security into a company’s organizational structure and enabling regular security audits.
  • Identification of processes prone to cyber-attacks, i.e., find the essential elements of the successful process to mitigate the threat and then educate colleagues on preventing similar cyber-attacks, with a thorough strategy.
  • The organization should be agile enough to re-organize the cyber-security resources timely for monitoring of digital assets during the digital transformation process.
  • Organizations must embed cyber security professionals into the system and train them regularly with the latest trends and technology that will further induce the process into the system. This will create a network of cyber leaders throughout the company, which gives a sense of control in the digital space of a company.
  • Focus more on testing the hardware/software part before the actual implementation of any digital process.
  • Decentralize data storage at different places rather than at a centralized place.
  • Tie up with professional third-party organizations to avail end-to-end security services.
  • Take advantage of automated tools to catalog assets like IT infrastructure, applications, data, and people, which are exposed to different threat types and levels.
  • Train all the employees on regular basis on system security and conduct the periodic cyber drill to adhere to the defined cyber-security process.
  • Invest in emerging technologies to tackle cyber threats effecti­vely. The organizations should combine deep-learn­ing, analytics, and algorithms, to react to any threats in a flash. The deep-learning focus can predict anomalous behavior and identify the malicious behavior deviating from legiti­mate or acceptable behavior in terms of security. This in turn provides flexibility and rapid decision-making, which is the key to a secure digital-transformation strategy. Another technology that can be very useful for security is block­chain technology with its ability to decentralize the data. This feature removes the single target point that can be com­promised. As a result, it becomes impossible to penetrate the systems or sites whose access control, data storage, and network traffic are no longer at a single location.

Awareness about possible cyber-attacks like DDOS, ran­somware, etc., and methods to prevent and correct them is the key to have an effective digital transformation of the organization. Equally important is to have security mechanisms like the use of robust cyber-security software, Secure hardware and use of VPN, back up and encryption of data, promoting a security-focused culture, and investing in cyber insurance to minimize the possible losses. While doing digital transformation, the focus should be on the prevention of cyber-attacks and reducing the risk of data breaches, etc., to have a robust, safe and secure digital transfor­mation.

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