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November 2018
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Digitalisation: Businesses must mitigate against new, invisible risks

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

By Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn 

Digital transformation is happening everywhere at breakneck speed. Each year brings a new development or a new technology that increases and evolves digital strategies worldwide. Of particular exposure to emerging risks are organisations that use cloud services or solutions connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). As organisations digitalise more processes and data, the number of potential security gaps is surging, increasing the risk of damaging data breaches.

If the full benefits of developments such as cloud services and IoT are to be realised, digital data must be protected at all times – but most security strategies and policies are no longer fit for purpose, being traditionally ad hoc and limited point solutions. In this age, information security must become a key strategic priority if organisations are to have any hope of mitigating the risks of digitalisation while enjoying the benefits.

Cyber security has become a much-discussed topic in recent years, and the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has only served to heighten the conversation. So why are so many organisations embracing the future of digitalisation while their security strategies are stuck in the past?

Ease of use 

As we have all seen in the wake of GDPR, there is a tendency to associate heightened cyber security and data protection measures with a worsening user experience. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. When security is an integral part of a business strategy, and not incorporated as an afterthought, there is time to formulate the easiest and most effective processes for employees to follow. Building security into your strategy should also mean it is adaptable to new and emerging technologies.

Once thought to be squarely an IT concern, with the advent of data protection laws and greater digitalisation across organisations, security is now a cross-departmental issue and should be something the board regularly reviews.

The speed of digital transformation

Often the thought of bolstering security practices seems antithetical to the pace of digital transformation. Updated security measures are associated with regulations, best practice processes, training and awareness. These associations can make security seem like a hindrance, rather than an aid to achieving digital transformation.

The truth is that on the contrary, security is moving to the forefront of digital innovation. When built into new technologies and devices from the outset, security enables wider, secure and more seamless access to data in the IoT.

The landscape of digital technologies 

As the Internet of Things becomes flooded with newer and faster digital technologies the breadth of “things” available can seem incompatible with a comprehensive digital strategy. As with most strategies data is key. Gathering, synthesising and analysing security data from across the landscape will keep organisations alert to risks and allow the development of an adaptable strategy to protect against these risks.

Developing effective security requires strategy and, most importantly, must be prioritised in a time of such rapid digital change. While there is no set template for such a solution, investing time and money in the process is a good way to start. Depending on the requirements of a specific company, an effective security strategy will look at integrating different technologies, the handling and protection of data, and organisation-wide training in best practice processes to minimise risks, regularly.

Business security strategies must keep pace with the speed of their digital transformation programmes. This means carrying out data audits at regular intervals, and reviewing policies to check that they remain fit for purpose. Security systems must be up to date – particularly encryption and authentication technologies –, tested regularly, and adjusted to defend against evolving cyber threats.

The most important aspect of a successful security strategy however is consistency. Build security into your organisation’s digital strategy from the beginning, make sure it is observed across the board, and you have the best chance of being protected against new and emerging security risks in the digital age.

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