Communication, Education and Shared Responsibility: The keys to security in the age of digital transformation

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IMAGE - Communication_Education and Shared Responsibility_The Keys to Security in the Age of Digital Transformation

Even in a world where technology is constantly developing, security is a major issue. Day in and day out, we hear of news about data breaches and other similar threats, so much so that they have become quite the norm. And this becomes a more relevant factor if you talk about the business industry. A big chunk of the businesses affected by these breaches are those that have embraced the digital realm or have decided to transform and digitize their processes.

While many may think that going digital will offer easier options, there are also others who are concerned about certain factors that go with the transformation. One of the most important is security.

Yes, we are already technologically advanced. The level of technology we are now enjoying has improved in leaps and bounds. What used to be just visions in the 80s and 90s have now become realities. But, security issues still abound. Even for the digitally transformed enterprises.

Lack of Communication

In the world of digital technology, the security scenario is pretty much the same as the ones we had back in the 80s and 90s, when offices had to keep thick folders and boxes upon boxes of files inside cabinets and drawers. Nowadays, instead of folders, boxes and cabinets, we have a vast network of digital files. And just like the old filing system, there are certain individuals or groups tasked with keeping the “key” of this network safe. An IT team or security experts may be tasked with keeping the network and the company safe, but as there are different departments headed by different supervisors and managers, the security people will not be able to properly work on the issues that matter because they have yet to coordinate with the department heads.

The problem here is lack of communication. These security teams are most often were not provided the information they need about a particular department’s network. Additionally, managers and supervisors are, more often than not, focused in making sales or creating profitable situations for the company. Many do not really know what digital security is all about, and many do not find time to learn about it.

Learning About Security

Not everyone in a company knows security and its value to the business, especially if it (the company) has fully embraced digitization. Therefore, there is a need to educate not only the employees, but also the management, about security. Even the most basic of information will help them realize the importance of all the company data and assets they hold. Moreover, they will also realize how vulnerable these valuable data can be.

Managers and non-IT employees need not become security experts, they only have to understand and know the simplest steps they should follow in case a breach is detected. Anyone who is an integral part of the company, no matter what the position or obligation may be, should be made aware about malwares and threats – internal or external – that can possibly harm or compromise valuable information.

Once everyone is well informed about security, communication lines between the management and the IT/security team will be better.

Shared Responsibility

The most essential thing that everyone in the company should remember is that when it comes to digital enterprise security, nobody can be totally an expert. Everyone can be a newbie. This may not sit well with some IT and tech people, but this can actually help make the scenario a little better.

Let’s say you and I have a small business. I’m the marketing expert and you are the best person to talk to about company management. To balance the situation, I need to learn how to manage the company, and you have to train how to market our products well. We have to acknowledge our weaknesses and then meet halfway to work on and improve them. It is the same in the case of digital transformation security. This is what shared responsibility is all about.

You cannot just complain and blame the security team when malicious threats eat up your system; you also have to do your part in keeping your data secure. You work as partners and share responsibilities. The minute that you notice something unusual, let the security team know. As part of the management team, you have to be actively involved in the company’s efforts to keep the business sound and secure.

The Challenges of Digital Transformation

For companies that are transitioning, or have transitioned, to the digitized system, knowing the possible threats that can put a dent on their security is essential. Knowing what to do is just as important. Here are some things that need to considered:

  • As mentioned several times earlier, security will be at risk. Data can be compromised. As such, it is important to come up with solid processes for data breach disclosure and end-user notification. Additionally, a detailed data retention policy will be useful.
  • Remember to keep APIs safe and secure. Go with stateless encrypted calls and API keys.
  • Strong securities for mobile apps, as majority of end-users use their mobile devices to avail of the services. End-to-end security is essential. Local storing of app data should be secure. You should also provide an app password or PIN to avoid unauthorized access if the device gets lost or stolen.

No Overnight Fix

Once a company embraces digital transformation, there is no going back. Your enterprise should move forward and stay in the game, or keep still and risk your business’ future. If you’re afraid of the security vulnerabilities that come with the transition, do not stop. Go ahead with your plans. What needs to be done is to strategize a good security program where every member of the company takes on a role. It should be a combined effort; a partnership.

Yes, there is no overnight fix for security threats, but businesses can find solutions to network/system safety concerns. Along with this, there should be efforts to formulate a program/project that will encourage company employees and the management to communicate, learn and share responsibilities for a more secure system.

Photo courtesy of gdsteam.

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