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Raising Your Cybersecurity Game Throughout the Digital Transformation Process

Ivan Cheung
Ivan CheungAP COO, CAP Regional General Manager and Vice President
I head up a fortune 500 company’s operations in over 13 markets across Asia Pacific, including ASEAN, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Korea. I've been a part of the team growing our business from a Chinese based company to a truly global player. I’m always looking to work with the next generation of customers, collaborators and talented people.

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Chaos comes hand-in-hand with the digital transformation process, often leaving your office struggling to keep up with the latest changes as you continue to adapt to the latest technology. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can allow your cybersecurity standards to fall behind–and in fact, cybersecurity should be one of the key elements of the digital transformation process for your business. By embedding cybersecurity standards and processes into your digital transformation efforts, you can better protect critical data and systems, allowing you to improve resiliency and prevent your business from falling victim to many of the most vicious cyber attacks on the market.

Technology’s Evolution and the Increased Need for Cybersecurity

As technology evolves both within your organisation and outside it, the need for increased cybersecurity becomes more apparent than ever. With increased technology, including larger networks and increased dependence on those systems, comes an increased demand for protection. As your systems improve, you need to consider:

Security for the Internet of Things.

The IoT continues to grow in size, with an incredible number of devices holding an important place on your company network. While this leads to incredible convenience across many organisations, it also increases the number of potential security holes across your network. Many IoT devices receive less regular updates and have less security than laptops, desktops, tablets, and other important devices–and as a result, as you add devices to your network, you may be adding security holes along with them.

Increased access to your networks.

Many offices are adopting a Bring Your Own Device trend, allowing employees to select their own laptops, smartphones, and more. Unfortunately, this also means that employees across the office have increased access to those networks–and as a result, there are more potential security threats.

Enhanced software updates. 

Because software developers are aware of the increased security risks, they’re taking the steps necessary to update software on an increasingly regular basis to patch holes and provide the protection with your business needs. Unfortunately, this also means that updates must be processed more regularly in order to keep your technology functioning smoothly.

Increased complexity of attacks.

As businesses become more security savvy, many hackers are adapting to keep up with them. Unfortunately, this leads to increased complexity of attacks, including many attacks from multiple fronts at the same time. Your digital transformation efforts, therefore, must include keeping up with the transformation on this front, as well.

Increased regulation standards. 

Today’s regulatory and governing bodies are more complex than ever–and they’re creating complex cybersecurity regulations that are designed to help protect your customers in the event of a cyber attack. Keeping up with those standards won’t just protect your business; it will also help you avoid heavy fines and even the potential to have your business shut down. Unfortunately, even the most complex regulation standards often fail to provide the full protection that your business needs. Compliance is not necessarily the same thing as security, and maintaining the balance between compliance and true security is a complex process that needs to be fully covered by your digital transformation strategy.

Maintaining Cybersecurity Across Your Organisation

When you’re in the middle of the digital transformation process, cybersecurity may not be a top priority. In order to truly raise your cybersecurity game, however, it’s necessary to keep track of those security measures throughout the digital transformation process and provide the high-level protection that your business and your customers require. These elements will help ensure higher levels of security across your organisation as well as helping you to meet compliance standards and other regulations.

Make cybersecurity the first part of your digital transformation process.

Don’t allow security to be an afterthought to your organisation! In all too many cases, cybersecurity is left to the end of the digital transformation process. It gets the leftover funding or, in some cases, is left short simply because the funds or the time aren’t available. Instead, as you begin the digital transformation process, start with that vital element of security. By allowing cybersecurity to drive the digital transformation process, you will create more effective security across your organisation throughout the transformation. Make sure, as you’re shaping the digital transformation process, that you ask:

  • How can security features help make users’ lives easier, rather than complicating them? Using multi-factor authentication, for example, adds a step to the login process, but it can also substantially increase the protection provided to your business.
  • Is the hardware you’re selecting designed to help enhance your cybersecurity? The right hardware can make a big difference throughout your digital transformation process. New hardware is faster, offers more features, and helps make employees’ jobs easier–but it can also provide those critical security elements that your business needs. From individual parts tracking that allow you to see exactly what’s in your machines to machines that allow for fingerprint recognition, considering security first will allow you to choose the right devices for your business.
  • Are you adding technology that closes security holes throughout your business, or are you using technology that creates security holes? What structure needs to be in place in order to prevent your new devices and strategies from causing potential problems throughout your business? By considering cybersecurity first, you can select new technology throughout the digital transformation process that will make your business more secure, rather than less.

Automate your security processes.

As much as possible, automate the security process. While it’s important to have staff members on hand to handle any potential attacks and deal with problems, artificial intelligence and automation can help add a vital element to your security protocols and help remove some of the potential for human error. Automating processes may include scheduled scans, automatic system monitoring, automatic updates, and more based on the specific security needs of your business.

Make sure that your organisation prioritizes security. 

In many cases, there’s a huge gap between the way your IT department views cybersecurity and the priority level placed on it by your board. While cybersecurity remains a trendy term that many organisations know needs to be prioritized, it’s also a concept that many CEOs fail to fully grasp. In order to underscore the importance of cybersecurity within your organisation, make sure you’re following these key steps.

  • Bring on the facts and figures. Point out, for example, that small businesses are just as much at risk for potential cyber attacks as bigger businesses–and how vulnerable they can be. Your board will be more likely to respond to clear statistics than they are to react to simple assertions of importance.
  • Share cost projections from the beginning. Before embarking on a new process, it’s important to know how much it’s going to cost the company as a whole. Those numbers, however, should be balanced with the information about how much those efforts can save the company in the event of a cyber attack.
  • Showcase the difference between compliance and security. All too many CEOs and boards assume that as long as you’re meeting compliance regulation standards, you’re providing your business with the security it needs to remain safe–and unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Annual security evaluations can help provide the evidence you need to ensure protection for your business.

Increase training in security across your business.

The people who work for your company remain your most dangerous security hole–not because they’re malicious, but because they fail to understand the potential repercussions of simply clicking on an email or failing to create a strong enough password. Appropriate cybersecurity training for all employees can substantially increase both the physical security and the cybersecurity of your organisation.

Create an action plan.

If your organisation is attacked, how will you respond? Do you have the tools you need in order to react quickly to an attack? How will you get your website back up and running after a DDOS attack? Do you have a plan in place for notifying customers if your data is breached? What about ransomware: can you quarantine your system and recover your data, or do you need new protocols in place for those processes? Without a dedicated action plan, your business may be left scrambling when you’re impacted by an attack–and that can be catastrophic. During your digital transformation process, it’s critical to make sure that your cybersecurity response plan keeps up with the demands of your new technology.

Maintain flexibility.

One of the critical elements of cybersecurity is flexibility. Your business needs to be able to respond quickly to the changing shape of attacks–and as cybersecurity grows increasingly complex, it’s critical that your business maintain the tools to respond. By maintaining flexibility, you increase resiliency and enable your technology to respond quickly as new threats are detected or changes are needed.

 

Stay on top of your transformation process

During the digital transformation process, your business gains a number of elements that will help increase convenience for both employees and customers. At the same time, however, increased technology opens the door for an increased wave of cybersecurity threats. In order to provide the security needed for your organisation, it’s critical that you keep security at the heart of the digital transformation process. If you’re curious about how to shape cybersecurity during your digital transformation, download our eBook!

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