BLOG: Putting Cyber Security at the heart of your Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is being embraced by organisations the world over as they seek to make sure every piece of process is modernised, and that the culture is embraced by staff and customers alike.

However, to get the recipe just right, cyber security must be integrated as the key ingredient to long term success.

“It’s a given that a successful digital transformation often starts with the underlying technology that supports the wider vision and mission of the organisation. Anything that is connected is vulnerable to attack and therefore cyber security must form a key part of any successful implementation from the beginning.”

Steven O’Sullivan, Head of Cyber Security at SA Group

So what benefits can digital transformation bring to an organisation, and what strategies must be implemented to make sure the journey is a safe and secure one?

 

WHAT IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

There is no one agreed definitive description of Digital Transformation, but here at SA Group we like to view the concept through a broader lens.

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to your customers by enhancing their experience whilst mitigating disruptive threats to the enterprise.

Digital transformation often involves migrating some or all of an organisation’s ICT structure from a hardware based server system to the Cloud. It can also integrate a variety of third party applications that streamline processes and enable flexible or remote working practices.

Digital connectivity is increasingly expected as a common baseline to be able to do business and communicate globally. The commercial and organisational benefits are clear. But your organisation needs to ensure that these benefits don’t come at the expense of cyber safety.

 

WHY IS SECURITY SO CENTRAL TO DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

Simply because, anything connected is vulnerable to cyber attack. Every point of connectivity also creates a potential area for attack and breach. With connected devices, these attacks could come in the form of personal data theft, device manipulation – think hijacking of screens at a major sporting event or mass outages of devices like security cameras – and other catastrophic events. The consequences can be widespread and hugely expensive to remedy in terms of time, budget and reputation.

By embedding cyber security thinking into the scope and design of your Digital Transformation roadmap from the outset, you can greatly reduce your risk and improve your digital resilience.

 

7 KEYS TO INTEGRATING CYBER SECURITY INTO YOUR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ROADMAP

For each step of digital transformation, a business needs to think about how it can be built securely and how that security can be maintained going forward. Effective cyber security relies on both good set-up AND consistent, ongoing vigilance.

  1. Keep your customer data safe. Digital transformation projects are often customer-centric and data-driven, so understanding where your customer data comes from and where it might leak to are key considerations.
  2. Don’t rush it. You can make things happen quickly in the digital world, but delivering new technologies in a speedy manner should not be at the expense of cyber safety. Taking shortcuts can increase security risks and expose you to cyber threat. For each step of digital transformation, your organisation needs to think about how it can be built securely and how that security can be maintained.
  3. Establish and introduce the concept of minimum viable security as early as possible in the programme. This means ensuring you have a baseline set of cyber and privacy controls and requirements that your organisation sets in place internally, and especially for any vendor supplied products and services.
  4. Risk Assessment. Begin with an assessment of the new risks being introduced by digital transformation and then implement new processes and tools that focus on the most critical threats and risks while reaping the benefits of your digital transformation.
  5. Whole company thinking. Develop a digital risk management strategy that permeates the entire organisation. Done well this should be business-wide, with the potential to breaks down the barriers between IT, security and the wider workforce. This is about culture change, so you’ll need to consider how to combine smart technology, strong processes and employee education.
  6. Get the basics right. Security flaws can undermine the positive progress an organisation makes with all its digitisation efforts, and could also cost you the ground you gain with employees and customers. Ensure that simple steps like proper password conventions are followed by everyone.
  7. Ask an expert. Put cyber expertise at the centre of your roadmap for your digital transformation. Smaller organisations often simply don’t have the highly experienced resource they need to comprehensively scope their cyber status. Consulting a cyber specialist at an early stage in the planning process can pay dividends later in terms of time, expense and possibly even reputational damage.

 

At SA Group we’re passionate about the benefits of digital transformation for organisations of all shapes and sizes. We offer a no strings FREE Digital Health Check Assessment to help you scope the process and identify the risks. Please get in touch for more information.

 

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