Digital transformation: 4 ways to build in security

How wisely have you integrated security practices into your digital transformation plan? Consider these four strategies
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With benefits from automating processes, streamlining work, and gaining better visibility into your organizational data, there’s no disputing the value of digital transformation.

But just because it’s essential doesn’t mean it’s easy. Change is hard, and successful digital transformation takes a village – from the IT partners and internal staff who help implement the tools to executives communicating the efforts to the team members interfacing with the new technology each day.

While migrating to new systems and following new protocols is hard enough, there’s another vital part of digital transformation strategy that often gets overlooked. While setting up infrastructure and training employees is typically the main focus, securing these new and exciting projects can sometimes take a back seat.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

Digital transformation strategy: 4 ways to emphasize security

This is a mistake that enterprise organizations simply can’t afford to make. There’s a lot at stake if you’re opening up your business digitally without properly protecting it. Here are four ways to make security a prime part of your digital transformation strategy.

1. Take a proactive security stance

It’s great to focus on the benefits of digital transformation, but it’s also necessary to look at the vulnerabilities it can present. With sensitive and personally identifiable company and customer data or the potential to actually compromise people’s health, these risks must be assessed.

Many effective resources – from safeguards like multi-factor authentication (MFA) for password protection to penetration testing – can help businesses beef up their security posture before attackers strike. Taking a proactive stance on security is the best way to seamlessly integrate security into your digital transformation vision and avoid headaches later. 

Taking a proactive stance on security is the best way to seamlessly integrate security into your digital transformation vision and avoid headaches later.

2. Remove silos and do audits

Securing your digital assets from the inside out is vital. Traditional security implementations struggle because legacy architectures are designed for specific compliance and governance initiatives, which can pose problems when organizations modernize their operations. To keep up with the pace of technology and new regulations like GDPR, organizations are walking a fine line between access and compliance.

Although it may seem labor-intensive, smart enterprises will take stock of who is accessing what information and continually audit themselves to balance ease of work and safeguarding privileged information so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. By putting systems in place to monitor this type of activity, you can ensure people are able to remain productive while your data stays safe.

[ Read also: 5 approaches to security automation and How to automate compliance and security with Kubernetes: 3 ways. ]

3. Prioritize executive communication on security

Like digital transformation, security is a team effort that requires collaboration across an entire organization. Consider all the departments and employees with different day-to-day duties and the access or permissions they all need to do their jobs.

Strong executive support is crucial to overcome potential points of friction and manage the speed bumps. Clear executive communication about the benefits of digital transformation and why new – sometimes cumbersome – security measures are necessary also helps teams understand the importance of these changes.

Rather than scaring employees into submission, explain the benefits a better security stance can bring, like the ability to streamline processes and compete more efficiently in the market.

4. Set users up for success

C-level buy-in is an important part of overall organizational acceptance, but ultimately, the people who use new tools and technology are the most important component to securing your digital transformation efforts. Learning a new system is just another item to check off a to-do list. Add an extra layer of verification to that, and you’re indirectly impeding people’s primary goal: getting their jobs done.

Consider MFA, which requires users to enter two or more pieces of evidence to prove they are who they say they are during the login process. It is extremely effective, but one of the barriers to MFA adoption that it lacks ease of use. So find ways to simplify the process: Perhaps it would be easier for users to receive a PIN from their mobile device than to remember a security question or carry around a physical token. Consider simple but impactful ways to lessen the burden of change and people will be more receptive to it.

Digital transformation inevitably involves growing pains, but that pain can be amplified if you’re not taking measures to safeguard your efforts. By keeping these four practices in mind, you can ensure that security is part of your digital transformation journey.

[ How do containers help manage risk? Read also: Ten Layers of Container Security. ]

John Milburn
John Milburn is CEO at Clear Skye, an identity governance and administration (IGA) software company. On the pursuit to drive Clear Skye’s vision into reality, John is dedicated to closing the value gap that has existed in the IGA market for the last 20 years.

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