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Digital transformation is an imperative, but security risks must be managed

The world of business has been in a state of flux for some time now, with the situation only exacerbated by the events of the past few months. In this setting, digital transformation has become more of an imperative than ever. For many organisations, it's no longer a matter of attaining a competitive edge, but of survival.
Linda Misauer, Head of Global Operations at Striata
Linda Misauer, Head of Global Operations at Striata
At the same time, however, it’s crucial that organisations ensure that their digital transformation initiatives are implemented as securely as possible. Failing to do so doesn’t only put employee and customer information at risk, it has the potential to undermine the very gains an organisation stands to make from embracing digital transformation in the first place.

The power of digital transformation

Research shows that the higher an organisation ranks for digital maturity, the higher its revenue growth and profits, regardless of the industry in which it operates. That shouldn’t be surprising. The most digitally mature organisations displayed four characteristics associated with financial performance: a clear vision and dedicated leadership, engaged employees who are intrinsically motivated, an ability to leverage data for insights and convenient and effortless digital interactions.

But in order to reap tangible benefits from digital transformation, organisations need to understand that digital technology is not a cost centre, but rather a driver of stronger margins and productivity. To do so effectively, organisations must understand where they are in their digital journey - this will enable them to focus on the specific elements/characteristics that will drive revenue and fast track their transformation efforts.

Staying secure

But as organisations embrace digital transformation, their security needs also change. Among the things they need to be aware of are an expanded attack surface (more applications, data and processes in the digital realm means more opportunities for hackers and bad actors) and higher potential for damage (the more connected devices and networks in an organisation, the higher the potential for damage).

Add in the growing prevalence of networks which have some form of connection to the publicly accessible internet and the challenge of keeping up with changing security processes in a world of constantly evolving software, and it’s easy to get a sense of the security challenge that comes with digital transformation.

Small wonder then that a survey by Nominet found that 53% CISOs, CTOs and CIOs from large organisations viewed increased cybersecurity risks as their biggest concern around digital transformation.

Integrating security from the start

With that in mind, it’s important for organisations to realise that security needs to be built into their systems from the ground up.

When it comes to document security, for example, there is some onus on the end user but organisations must, at the very least, take steps to encrypt and protect the sensitive documents they make available on the web or by email.

But security isn’t just about using the right tools and protocols. Digital transformation is as much about a mindset shift within the organisation as it is about embracing new technologies. Security should be a part of that mindset shift at every level.

Best of both worlds

With the right approach, organisations can enjoy the major benefits that digital transformation clearly offers without compromising on security.

In fact, the positive impact will only be magnified if employees and consumers alike know that the digital tools and processes at the heart of the organisation’s transformation have been designed to be as secure as possible.

About Linda Misauer

Linda Misauer, head of Global Operations, Striata
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