While digital transformation brings about significant changes in everyday life and has enormous benefits for businesses, it also generates several new challenges. Therefore, it’s not an option but a need to prioritize cybersecurity as digital transformation generates an unprecedented threat surface and cybersecurity risks for organizations.
According to a recent survey by ThoughtLab, which examined the security policies and operations of 1,200 businesses across 13 industries and the public sector in 16 countries, 41% of the executives believe their security measures have not kept up with the digital transformation. More than a quarter of respondents cited new technologies as the primary security risk.
As new technologies like cyber-physical systems (CPS) and the IoT are used, enterprise IT infrastructures are progressively increasing in size and complexity. These paradigms are frequently built on systems and devices that link the physical and digital worlds. It includes sensors, intelligent machines, implantable medical devices, intelligent buildings, automated cars, robots, and others.
These systems expand the range of potential risks while also offering chances for increased productivity and better decision-making. For instance, popular websites like Amazon, Twitter, and Spotify were recently targeted by a large-scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that took advantage of IoT device vulnerabilities.
Let’s move on and see how digital transformation has continually impacted the cyber threat landscape and information security programs.
Impact of digital transformation on the cyber threat landscape and the cybersecurity world
Increased Cyber Risk
The adoption of digital transformation has accelerated, changing cybersecurity as we once knew it. This is because cyberattacks, data breaches, and other cyber events are becoming more frequent as the threat surface expands and companies use more digital technologies across a broader range of business functions to create novel business models and improve customer experiences.
Such cyber attacks have an increasingly negative influence on business operations and incur high costs.
Therefore, businesses must develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that aligns with their business goals. They must improve collaboration at senior and operational levels while maintaining effective communication to guarantee the security of all digital assets.
Higher Dependence On Third-Party Services
Businesses rely on third parties, such as cloud providers, robots and process automation, and IoT to support their projects as businesses accelerate their digital transformation.
A Ponemon Institute study found that 44% of companies experienced a data breach within the preceding year, with 51% of enterprises have experienced a breach brought on by a third party. Out of this 44% of the companies, 74% of data breaches were brought on by granting third-party excessive, unchecked access.
Even though third-party collaboration has several advantages, like enhanced speed, high efficiency, and more adaptability, several risks are involved.
If your business does not effectively handle these risks and challenges, it may suffer financial loss and reputational damage.
With the advent of digital transformation, it is crucial to handle third-party risks with the same effort as internal ones. Businesses are ecosystems, not islands, especially in this digital age.
The complex regulatory settings in which many firms now operate necessitate compliance with several security laws and standards. Financial institutions in the United States, for instance, are subject to rules relating to the Financial Services Modernization Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Cybersecurity systems are developing to assist firms in adhering to the necessary rules and standards.
Therefore, cybersecurity strategies are constantly evolving to help businesses comply with these mandatory cybersecurity regulations.
Occurrence of more advanced attacks
Cybersecurity threats are becoming more sophisticated over time by becoming asymmetric and unpredictable. Ransomware attacks, for instance, have been added to the list of phishing, DDoS, and social engineering attacks. Cybercriminals’ tactics are continuously changing due to the usage of more sophisticated phishing and encryption techniques.
Many companies do not have the means, knowledge, or capital necessary to combat contemporary cybercrime. This is especially true for SMBs, small to medium-sized businesses constantly looking for cost-effective solutions.
Ensuring security and mitigating cyber threats in this digital age
No doubt, digital transformation is a long-term trend. In actuality, businesses must develop secure digital transformation strategies that take into account all security concerns. They must also provide resources that curb the dangers of cyberattacks and data breaches in order to support these strategies.
These strategies include:
- Keeping security in mind in the context of digital transformation
- Aligning IT and cyber risk with business goals
- Ensuring regulatory compliance
- Monitoring and continuous evaluation of your cybersecurity measures
To guarantee an effective and secure digital transformation process, C-level executives and IT staff must also collaborate.
Companies may align employee experience with digital transformation goals by improving communication between C-Suite executives and IT security professionals.
However, many of these cyber attacks are absolutely avoidable. While hostile employees or ex-employees can pose cyber threats, many internal attacks result from poor access controls or a lack of staff training.
Additionally, businesses need to be aware of the level of risk posed by a cloud service or an unreliable third-party service provider, both of which raise the possibility of reputational harm to your company.
Implementing secure digital practices can help you stay ahead of the curve as digital transformation processes spread across many industries.
These digital practices include:
Encryption is essential in keeping data secure and is most effective when used consistently throughout an organization, meaning that all emails, documents, and other data are encrypted, not only those deemed “essential.”
Data encryption is the first step in ensuring that data is more difficult for someone with malicious intent to utilize, even if it is stolen or intercepted.
- Secure passwords
Remote users logging on to retrieve or upload data almost always have access to data stored in the cloud. Individuals and organizations must use secure passwords at all times in this setting.
- Ensuring all software is up-to-date.
Maintaining the most recent versions of all of their software is another best practice that businesses may do.
To access private data, cybercriminals frequently hunt for software exploits. The threat level rises as soon as these vulnerabilities are identified.
Software developers usually respond swiftly by releasing software patches; end users should apply these fixes as soon as they are made available to stop hackers from exploiting the flaws.
The security measures that a cloud services provider offers should be considered when evaluating them.
Also, ensure you manage important applications rather than the device itself.
In the era of digital transformation, it is insufficient to focus on basic cybersecurity alone to safeguard your organization’s crucial data stacks.
You require a standardized and strategic approach that can comprehend the complexity of the cyber threat landscape, provide alternate solutions, and prioritize best practices for data protection.
In other words, the cybersecurity strategy you deploy needs to be based on a systematic approach that is carefully prepared and flexible enough to be integrated with other security solutions such as cyber security automation, network security, and access management.