The digital transformation is an inevitable paradigm shift that changes the way businesses deliver value to their customers. It’s been an active trend for many years now and only recently been accelerated by COVID-19.
Studies have shown that investment into digital transformations has gone up in recent years as management teams everywhere leverage modern tools to solve old problems. What is a digital transformation? What are some of its risks? What are some best practices? And how should you approach it from a cybersecurity-focused perspective?
What Is Digital Transformation?
As its name suggests, digital transformation involves replacing manual processes and tools with digital alternatives. Thanks to improvements in automation technologies, digital transformations result in better efficiency and accessibility for the business.
A proper digital transformation process can be lucrative over the long-term but also complicated to implement. The switch should ideally be led by upper management and involve the entire organization. Communication among the departments should have the business’s overall goals and the expectations of the consumers in mind throughout.
All these efforts focus on the goal of rapid application development and new business models that adopt digital technologies, resulting in lower costs and higher revenue streams.
What Digital Transformations Look Like
Simple examples of such a transformation are stores and retailers using algorithms to calculate new logistics, ensuring the business does not run out of stock or order too much. You also see IT groups adopting cloud-based communication solutions like video conferencing for social distancing measures.
Another implementation that’s a little trickier is using the hybrid cloud to add new third-party services to the business. For instance, machine learning has become popular with enterprises to help manage products going through the supply chain.
Digital Transformation Best Practices
While it may sound daunting to change how your business operates fundamentally for the digital shift, here are some tips and practices to let you hit the ground running.
Start with a Broad Scope
This process should be a paradigm shift for your business. While you shouldn’t expect huge results instantly, do look forward to a significant return on your investment. Involve the entire organization in the process.
Work Closely with IT
Information technology teams are no longer just a tech support hotline. Have the IT department work closely with business executives to help solve digital transformation problems. For best results, integrate the initiative into the company culture.
Don’t make your key performance indicators too rigid. The more flexible you are, the more you can adapt to new situations as your digital transformation develops. Many companies find that weekly changes to the strategy are required, necessitating a reallocation of resources every now and then. Encourage the staff to take risks and learn from mistakes.
Get the Right Team on Board
You obviously need software engineers and cloud computing specialists, but what other staff members should you have on hand to make the entire process streamlined?
- A DevOps/DevSecOps team will help integrate your development, operations, and cybersecurity work together.
- A data scientist team helps you analyze vast amounts of data during the transformation.
- Don’t forget AI specialists since machine learning is becoming a common theme too.
- There may be other roles to fill in as well, such as UI designers, compliance managers, and brand strategists to keep you on track.
You overall want to align your digital transformation objectives with the goals of the business. Keep the outcome for the customers in mind as well.
Pitfalls To Look Out For
Some organizations struggle with digital transformation and even fail occasionally. The cause can be anything from weak leadership, inefficient operations, or insufficient communication.
Remember that a transformation is a process the business as a whole must work toward, including all the people, processes, and policies. You especially want to make sure the business side and IT side are talking with each other.
However, the most significant pitfall for most enterprises is cybersecurity.
Digital Transformation Security Challenges
Going digital has the obvious downside of introducing cybersecurity attack vectors. Digital security is starting to become a responsibility of the entire organization that’s no longer limited to just the IT department.
Here are some tips for approaching digital transformation with cybersecurity in mind.
Secure Your Digital Core
With malware, ransomware, phishing, and other cyberthreats impacting businesses of all sizes, maintaining a secure digital core is the best step forward. A digital core is any scalable platform for rapid business application development. Having a secure core increases your resilience to cyberattacks and helps you recover from any incidents that do occur.
One of the more important issues in securing the enterprise is ensuring you have a secrets management platform that protects, stores, and rotates your credentials, keys, and certificates. Using a SaaS vault for secrets management improved your security posture significantly by enabling you to centralize and manage all your sprawled credentials.
Develop with Security In Mind
Don’t just look at security after you finish software development. Today’s developers work on a cycle of constant new integrations and continuous delivery practices. For this reason, the DevSecOps team must maintain security policies throughout development, including secrets management.
Analyze the Data
A digital transformation requires you to go through a large amount of data to analyze cybersecurity risks. Enterprises often use algorithms, machine learning, and other applications of artificial intelligence to build insights from this vast amount of data.
Automate the Process
Automation is a popular new way to approach incident response, as it provides faster response times than manual methods. In fact, a whole new group of solutions has arisen, better known as SOAR—or Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response.
Serve Your Market
Not all businesses go through the same cybersecurity protocols or digital transformation processes. The exact steps can differ depending on your industry. Healthcare and manufacturing, for instance, can have immensely different processes.
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