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How Digital Transformation Impacts IT And Cyber Risk Programs


The rise of smart devices and changing customer preferences have kicked global digital transformation into full gear. As a result, businesses are increasingly uncovering opportunities and high-end capabilities for competitive advantage and growth.

The pandemic forced organizations to shift to remote work, which propelled a rise in the adoption of new technologies. This was when digital transformation shifted from a long-term aim to reality.

According to a study by the SMB group, all the small businesses investing in digital transformation in 2020 are 1.9 times more likely to increase their revenue. 

But the increase in digital transformation initiatives across businesses of all sizes is uncovering specific vulnerabilities for most organizations, which are only being catalyzed with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning, internet of things (IoT), big data, social media, and other operational technologies, the threat is continually increasing.

This has made it essential for CISO’s and security teams to manage digital transformation risks by augmenting and enhancing IT and cyber risk management functions to support this new paradigm. 

Let’s move on and see how digital transformation is changing the IT and cybersecurity programs.

Increasing Cyber Risk

The increased adoption of digital transformation has changed cybersecurity as we know it. This is because cyberattacks, data breaches, and other cyber events are increasing as the threat surface grows and businesses adopt more digital technologies in various areas of their industry in pursuit of new business models and enhanced customer experiences. 

Most security teams complain that their corporate leaders do not recognize the threat level that insecure digital assets pose to their brand assets. Ponemon’s Digital Transformation and Cyber Risk study indicates that 82% of IT security and C-level executives experienced at least one data breach when implementing new technologies and expanding the supply chain.

This is increasing the impact of such data breaches resulting in huge costs and a considerable impact on business continuity. 

This is why the role of the CISO and the risk function at large is given more importance so that they can craft an organization-wide cybersecurity strategy that aligns with your company’s goals. They need to communicate effectively to ensure that all the digital assets are secure while enhancing the collaboration at both the senior and operational levels.

High Reliance On Third-Party Services

With enterprises accelerating digital transformation, organizations rely on third parties to power these initiatives such as cloud providers, robotics and process automation, and IoT. The ease with which business units outside of IT can adopt new technologies has led to an increase in shadow IT, making assessing the organization’s risk profile exponentially more difficult. While third-party products and services can greatly enhance an enterprise, without a strong third-party/vendor risk management program in place, the new risks can be more trouble than the benefits are worth. 

A survey by Aravo shows that 22% of respondents experienced a data breach caused by a third party in the past year. 

Although third-party collaboration offers a host of benefits such as increased speed, high efficiency, and greater agility, several risks surround this collaboration.

One of the biggest challenges includes adopting cloud services that increase data exposures for organizations globally. In such circumstances, the service providers are used as baits to infiltrate the enterprise’s network and enable the hacker to get sensitive data and other business secrets.

If your business fails to manage these threats and risks, your company might face financial loss and even reputational damage. When looking for ways to manage risks in digital transformation, know that it starts with a robust IT security strategy. Your IT security teams need to create a clear policy for vetting all the third-party services and analyzing the sensitivity of your data handled by these services.

It is essential in the wake of digital transformation to address third-party risks with the same care and diligence as internal risk management practices. In the digital age, businesses are ecosystems, not islands. 

Conflicts Between IT Security And C-Suite Executives

With an increase in digital transformation, we are experiencing a growth in conflicts between It security personnel and C-level executives when it comes to ensuring digital assets' security.

On the one hand, security leaders’ core responsibility is to secure the enterprise. Historically, this role has been seen as a roadblock for leaders that are measured on the growth of the company. Growth and innovation take risks.  However, as we are seeing the bottleneck of technology adoption across the enterprise weaken, there has been a rise in shadow IT as business units no longer need to go through IT to procure and deploy new technologies. 

While CISOs have made great strides in recent years toward becoming business enablers - by leveraging real-time data platforms and presenting risk and compliance data in business contexts, security leaders have been able to shift the narrative of their role from one of slowing progress to an innovation and growth enabler. The new challenge following digital transformation is ensuring that they can scale a risk-aware culture across the entire enterprise to combat the rise of shadow IT and increase in technology adoption across other business units. 

CISOs and other security leaders must align themselves with other business leaders and executives to make this possible. This means leveraging the advanced analytics and risk management capabilities at their disposal to create compelling narratives that help the other executives understand the importance of secure digital transformation for both consumers and the business. 

By enhancing the communication between these two groups, the company can connect employee experience and communicate your goals when it comes to digital transformation.

In Conclusion

We know that digital transformation is here for the long run. In fact, organizations need to craft secure digital transformation strategies that consider all the security implications. They need to support these strategies with resources that eliminate the risks of cyberattacks and data breaches. 

It is essential to bring the IT personnel and C-level executives together to ensure an efficient and secure digital transformation process. Moreover, they need to realize the level of risk inflicted by an insecure third-party service provider or a cloud service that increases the chances of reputational damage to your organization.

As digital transformation processes are adopted across different industries, you must implement secure digital practices to stay ahead of the crowd. 

See why security leaders of the Fortune 500 and beyond are choosing CyberStrong to support their programs following digital transformation and automate cyber risk for the digital age

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