You Can Have Both! How to Maintain Your Cybersecurity Framework While Undergoing Digital Transformation
Dec 6, 2023
Digital transformation has undoubtedly revolutionized the way businesses operate, offering unparalleled convenience and efficiency. Yet with every step forward in embracing digital technologies and systems, organizations also wander into the dangerous realm of advanced cyber threats. In an increasingly interconnected world where cybercriminals lurk around every virtual corner and seek to exploit vulnerabilities, it is imperative for businesses to prioritize upholding comprehensive cybersecurity measures while pushing forward with digital transformation initiatives.
Unfortunately, just one successful cyberattack can result in devastating consequences for businesses—damage to their reputation, financial losses, legal implications, the loss of customer trust, etc. Instances of ransomware attacks have spiked in 2023, which threatens business continuity and can seriously impact revenue streams.
The threats are everywhere, and no industry is immune to the destruction. Earlier this year, computer systems at healthcare facilities in several states were forced offline for weeks after a crippling cyberattack caused emergency room shutdowns and left organizations resorting to paper documentation to monitor life-saving equipment and run records between departments. Countless examples like this exist, whether the hackers are going for notoriety, financial gain, or even so-called "hacktivism." The latter occurs as a way to fight for a cause, such as political or social issues. But that doesn't make it any less dangerous.
The Need for Constant, Careful Oversight
To make matters more complicated, governments worldwide are tightening data-privacy regulations, penalizing those who fail to defend against these relentless attacks with hefty fines and legal penalties. As such, recognizing the importance of cybersecurity in digital transformation is vital to maintaining stability and preventing cyber threats.
In recent months, we have seen a major shift in organizations of all sizes and across all industries taking advantage of all that artificial intelligence (AI) has to offer. Instead of relying completely on AI to monitor everything, however, it is important to have an individual or a dedicated team that is designated to handle cybersecurity issues and measures. Having someone in control of your organization's basic cybersecurity needs is vital to ensuring your business remains protected.
To ensure your organization is in the best position to move forward and tackle cybersecurity in digital transformation, it is important to have the right prevention plan in place.
The Growing Importance of the CISO Role
Over the past decade, a new role has emerged in the C-suite: Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and their responsibilities are increasingly important with each successive turn of the calendar. This expert handles enterprise risk management and cybersecurity, and Gartner reports that seven out of 10 company boardrooms will include at least one member with cybersecurity expertise by 2026.
Beyond that, half of large enterprise CISOs are expected to adopt human-centric security practices to mitigate cybersecurity-related friction and promote the adoption of controls within four years. But that's not to say that AI and automation won't play a significant role in protecting the cybersecurity of organizations that are undergoing digital transformations.
AI will allow CISOs and their teams of cyber technicians to do more proactive assessments and searches—think log monitoring and evaluating, often monotonous and prone to human error—which will allow individuals to work on higher value-added activities, while continuing to verify that AI's output is accurate and valid. AI won't replace human cybersecurity specialists; rather, the technology will complement and enhance what humans are able to do.
Tackling Cybersecurity at Development
Organizations often fail to think proactively when it comes to cybersecurity. This can be a costly mistake that leaves your company susceptible to issues later on. The time to act is now.
A better approach to the traditional security development and operations type of infrastructure deployment is "shifting left," where the security of a solution becomes the first and foremost thing to evaluate. Before ever spending time or money on a solution, organizations need to consider all of the security vulnerabilities and put controls in place before the development phase begins.
Once you decide that you want to implement a certain cybersecurity technology solution, it is critical to look at it from a holistic point of view. Consider its known and unknown vulnerabilities and look closely at the potential exposures associated with the implementation of the new system. Once you are able to identify the potential risks associated with the application itself, it is important to plan ahead for any specific vulnerabilities that may arise once it is implemented into the system.
Next, make sure to integrate an automated testing tool into the continuous integration and development pipelines to ensure routine static and dynamic security testing is conducted. Having reliable measures in place can provide you with a better understanding of the security at every phase. You also need a comprehensive cybersecurity maintenance plan to make sure your implementation measures remain reliable.
Performing Regular Health Check-Ups
After your application is properly implemented, it is important to perform specific steps now and in the future to ensure everything continues to function securely and correctly. You need to make sure all of the configurations within the tool remain safe and that the applications and servers are configured in a protected manner at all times.
Since digital transformations create an expanded footprint of applications that companies are trying to manage effectively, it is important to perform regular updates and consistently implement necessary patches. If you do not prioritize updates and patches, it can become a huge vulnerability for your organization. Having the right people in place to perform these tasks routinely will help guarantee that you remain protected.
You must also conduct regular security assessments to detect any potential vulnerabilities or issues before they escalate into larger problems. Establish an internal team to handle this task or reach out to a third party (such as our team of experts at CTG) who can come in and perform regular security assessments. Testing your security systems routinely will make sure that they are working as they were originally designed to.
In this digital age, enhanced cybersecurity is an increasingly important consideration for businesses undergoing digital transformation. While the advantages of embracing new technologies are undeniable, organizations must also take proactive steps to protect against potential malicious cyberattacks. Investing in robust cybersecurity measures is essential for reducing those risks, protecting valuable data assets, and preserving trust with customers.
To see how CTG’s cybersecurity measures can help protect your organization now and well into the future, contact our team today.
Chad Alessi is an experienced leader in the energy industry with over 20 years of experience in oil and gas operations, engineering, project management, and operations consulting. He has held various leadership positions throughout his career, including Director of Operations for Williams Energy and senior engineer and supervisor of operations at Kinder Morgan. During his time in IT consulting, Chad was instrumental in driving IT transformation in the company's regulated pipeline and gas processing business units. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering, an MBA from the University of Alabama, an MS in Information Systems with a concentration in Information Security from Syracuse University, and post-graduate certifications in leadership, full stack development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. Chad is known for his strong work ethic, integrity, resourcefulness, and service-based leadership, which he attributes to his time in the US Marine Corps.