How to Manage Cyber Security Threats and Risks in the Age of Digital Transformation

Cyber security is by far the biggest source of concern for business leaders and customers alike. As we enter into the post-digital decade, digital transformation driven by machine learning, cloud computing and Internet of Things (IOT) will continue to disrupt our lives. Managing cyber security threats and digital risks in the age of digital transformation remains a top priority and in this brief we highlight important steps to take to strengthen cyber resilience and improve the digital safety of your organization.

If there is one word that best captures the events of the last decade it will be digital disruption, nearly every sphere of life as we knew it was completely altered by the massive waves of digital transformation.

Heading into the new decade one thing is certain, digital technology will continue to define the way we live and conduct business. Advances in cloud computing, blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum computing will push us further up the road of digitalisation.

As we wade into what has been rightly tagged the ‘post-digital’ era[1], the principal concern for businesses and organizations is the ability to thrive and equally survive in the face of fiercer cyber threats and attacks. A greater exposure to digital technology means a greater exposure to system vulnerabilities, ‘as the tools being used by businesses to innovate, like AI and machine learning, could be vulnerable to attack and are also being used by hackers[2].

Cyber security is by far the biggest source of concern for many top executives, decision makers and customers likewise. When asked to prioritize their top concerns, 53% of respondents listed cyber security as a top-three threat. In fact, the vast majority of respondents (95%) in Nominet’s survey expressed some level of concern around cyber threats[3].

No doubt managing cyber security threats and risks in the age of digital transformation is an issue that keeps executives awake at night. In this brief we highlight important steps to take to strengthen cyber resilience.

  1. Start with security in mind

Cyber security is a strategic decision, one which requires careful planning and thinking hence it is expedient that it is given serious consideration in the conception of every digital transformation project. At the current rate with stakes so high, to stay ahead of the constant threats leaders, CIOs, and CSOs have to be preemptive and proactive in digital safety and data security. Forensic analysis of what wrong after a breach won’t be enough to save lives or C-level careers[4].

Managed and executed well, digitalisation projects promise great dividends for business growth and better customer experience in this era. And to manage them well means embedding cybersecurity from the outset, resulting in a more integrated way to manage broader business resilience[5].

  1. Focus on securing applications and data

Digital transformation characteristically leads to a massive increase in the data volume and touch points, the implication is increased vulnerability which demands stricter and more agile protection systems. In the digital world of today, the classic, contained enterprise network no longer exists. For that reason, security must be embedded into all applications as the first line of defense[6].The use of self-defending applications, encryption of data in transit, role-based access control and two-factor authentication are a few examples of measures that focus on securing both application and data.

  1. Encourage cross-pollination and collaboration between teams

Successfully managing cyber threats and the attendant risks of digital transformation, is an initiative that requires collaboration especially between IT and the cybersecurity teams.  The various teams must be able to establish a common ground, and develop a unified way to secure data and infrastructure. When it comes to their organisation’s overall security posture, Nominet reported that companies that integrate IT and digital transformation teams are much more likely to be very confident than those with separate transformation teams (85% vs. 14%)[7]. It is essential therefore that leaders create systems that fosters collaboration between the different organs of the digital transformation structure.

By 2020, 60% of digital businesses will suffer major service failures due to the inability of security teams to manage digital risk[8]. Ensuring that cyber risk management is part of your business resilience plan is not something that can be added after the event. It must be included from the outset and embedded across the organization, from your technologies right through to your culture[9].

This year the Digital Risk Conference initiated by BIS GROUP and supported by 16 banks, Financial Services and Markets Authority, International Banking Federation, insurance companies and other players in the BFSI market will focus on managing risk and security in digital age. On 19-20 May 2020, in London, the challenges of digital transformation for BFSI and new measures that can bolster cyber resilience and cyber security will be addressed, with concrete examples on mitigating threats from KBC Bank, BNP Paribas Wealth Management, ABANCA, Starling Bank and more.











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