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It’s no secret that we are living in the age of digital. Digital-first approach are no longer nice-to-have but a necessity. Organizations across industries are integrating digital technologies into their operations to drive innovation, streamline processes and deliver engaging customer experiences. So much so that the ones failing to get on-board on the digital bandwagon risk becoming obsolete.

However, ensuring a successful digital transformational initiative is easier said than done as going digital opens new, unforeseen attack vectors for enterprises. Adoption of cloud, mobile, IoT, Big Data and hyperconnected networks means data is everywhere and can no longer be protected with traditional firewalls and perimeter security approach. Digital transformation technologies, in fact, demand a fundamental shift in how security is done in enterprises.
Experts believe that successful digital transformation and security transformation go hand in hand. So how can organizations prepare their security to be an enabler of digital rather than being an obstacle for digital-led innovation? The key lies in integrating security into all areas of digital technology.

Here are top 5 Do’s and Don’ts that will help organizations lay a strong security foundation to support effective digital transformation:

Digital Security Do’s

1. Include security experts right from design phase

Make sure that your organization’s digital security strategy has a cybersecurity plan integrated in it right from the start. Involve security experts from the beginning to ensure that security is consistently deployed across all ecosystems and measured in a uniform way, using the same processes. As data in modern enterprises is located across heterogenous environments, security needs to be tied to the dynamic nature of the network itself.

2. Use Threat Intelligence:

Threat intelligence is a critical element of a holistic security strategy. Leveraging threat intelligence capabilities enables organizations to understand their vulnerabilities and weak spots and take corrective actions. Organizations can gain specific intelligence on hackers, such as IP geolocation and reputation details, user-agent information, attack type and methodology, which helps them identify their potential hackers and plan their security strategy accordingly. Empowered with real-time intelligence and correlation aligned to current business risks, organizations can be better prepared to safeguard themselves.

3. Adopt emerging technologies:

To stay ahead of potential cyber threats, organizations need to keep pace with emerging technologies. A combination of emerging technologies as well as a team of security experts can help organizations effectively address cybersecurity risks. For instance, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help organizations eliminate false alarms, enabling analysts to focus only on relevant data. Behaviour-based detection and predictive analytics are other technologies that are gaining traction in the security space as they enable organizations to understand their weak spots, identify security threats and behaviour, and neutralize new and unknown threats in near real-time.

4. Never trust, always verify

The rise of cloud and mobile means that data is everywhere. In this scenario, only focusing on outside threats for preventing data breach and hack can prove to be a costly mistake. Organizations need to accept that addressing insider threat is equally (if not more) important. Zero trust security model based on the principle of ‘never trust, always verify’ is a need of the hour for today’s business climate. This model ensures that correct user credentials don’t guarantee access to site, app or device users are requesting. For robust protection, users and devices are always verified and authenticated and then granted access.

5. Take an outside-in approach to security

As technology gets democratised, different stakeholders in the organisation start leveraging cloud and SaaS without necessarily complying to corporate IT policies. This leads to a sprawl of Shadow IT and therein lies the risk of creating gaps in the security posture. The security team cannot protect what they don’t know . Organisations need to take an outside-in approach to determine all types of Shadow IT usage and use this as a continuous monitoring to approve or take-down unathourised usage that keeps coming up on a regular basis. This will lead to better visibility into technology use by different teams within the company and consequently a better handle on the risk posed by these to the organisations’s data, reputation and business.

Digital Security Don’ts

1. Don’t focus too much on perimeter:

As data, applications and users are no longer confined to the corporate perimeter, focusing your security strategy only around securing the castle walls will not help. Organizations adopting digital transformation technologies need to look at security in a different way. The emphasis needs to be on access management, multi-factor authentication, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and encryption.

2. Don’t ignore user training

Users continue to remain the weakest link in an enterprise’s security strategy. They can fall for sophisticated scams, accidentally click on a malicious link, open phishing emails or leak business-critical information unknowingly. Conduct regular staff training sessions and make sure that employees are aware of the security best practices and policies. Including engaging techniques like gamification and rewards and recognition can help raise staff’s interest.

3. Don’t look at security in silos

As data in the digital world lies across heterogenous environment, organizations need to move away from silos of security tools focusing on isolated devices. Organizations need to view network as a whole. They should look at utilizing security tools that can be seamlessly stitched together to ensure complete visibility into the entire distributed network.

4. Don’t ignore security monitoring

Modern enterprises can’t afford to be complacent about security. Proactive and round-the-clock monitoring is imperative to identify suspicious activity in the network and take rapid action to stop them. A Security Operations Center (SOC), which serves as a centralized platform to monitor, prevent, detect, analyse and respond to cyber security incidents is extremely relevant in this aspect. A SOC, comprised of a highly skilled team, is the backbone of an effective cyber strategy. A shared SOC model is a win-win as it allows organizations to gain from 24x7 support and access to security experts at a much lower price point.

5. Don’t disregard security testing

In the digital world, regular security testing is a must to uncover the vulnerabilities of the network and applications. Periodic tests through deep-dive penetration testing and automated vulnerability scanning enables organizations to identify flaws in security mechanism and fix them. Using ethical hacking to uncover potential threats can greatly help to better secure your systems.

In absence of an accompanying security strategy even the most well-thought and planned digital transformation initiatives can fall flat. Partnering with a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) puts an organization in a better position as it enables them to concentrate on deriving business benefits from digital technologies, while leaving the security to professionals with deep expertise and experience.