What is security’s role in digital transformation?

Digital transformation is front of mind for many senior executives, but too often security is left behind.

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Digital transformation (DX) is about digitizing processes and services so businesses can be more agile and operate more efficiently, from delivering customer service to improving processes with supply chain partners. It is the marketing team that wants to transform how it promotes product, the HR division that wishes to improve recruitment, and the IT team that wants to iterate online services in an instant.

To initiate a DX project, organizations need to bring together people, process and technology in the planning and strategy phase, offering them an opportunity to see where technologies like data analytics, internet of things (IoT), mobile and social can make a difference. However, many believe that information security is too often left out of the loop.

Security-less digital transformation increases risk

As IT and business fast-track initiatives like agile and DevOps to improve speed to market, security’s role is confined to asking questions afterwards about the knock-on impact on risk and security. In short, digital transformation is so rooted in giving value to the customer (or equivalent) that little consideration is giving to the impact on core security functions.

The rise in data breach and vulnerability figures has led some to suggest that security-less digital transformation leaves organizations at greater risk. Gartner recently predicted that 60 percent of digital businesses will suffer major service failures by 2020 due to the inability of security teams to manage digital risk.

“Digital business moves at a faster pace than traditional business, and traditional security approaches designed for maximum control will no longer work in the new era of digital innovation,” cited the Gartner report.

Is security being left behind with digital transformation?

Existing DX projects often fall down because they involve security late or not at all. Research from Dell and Dimensional Research suggested this to be the case, with chief among the reasons that business executives feared their digital transformation efforts could be hampered or blocked by the intervention of the security team.

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