New Study Highlights Security Risks of Digital Transformation


Organizations are rethinking their operational models, finding new solutions to problems, and enhancing the customer experience by integrating technology into everything they do. That’s the essence of digital transformation (DX). Rather than simply building on what you have with new technology, DX is intended to drive innovation and reinvent internal processes and the external markets you serve.

The problem with many DX initiatives is that they’re moving forward faster than they should to stay head of the competition. Lost in the rush to DX is a full understanding of the security threats involved.

Organizations love to talk about the Internet of Things, DevOps, the cloud, mobile, big data, and artificial intelligence. All have the potential to contribute to truly disruptive transformation. But they rely heavily on data, including sensitive corporate data and private customer information, to deliver desired outcomes. According to a new report from IDC, 97 percent of organizations will use sensitive data on DX technologies. This data must be protected everywhere it lands.

As DX brings new levels of technological sophistication to virtually every aspect of the organization, hackers are developing equally sophisticated attack techniques to access sensitive data.

Despite the rapid advancement of DX initiatives and an increasingly dangerous threat landscape, the IDC study found that only half of organizations expect to increase their security budgets. Though 86 percent of respondents admit they’re vulnerable to data security threats, half of organizations are spending just 6 to 15 percent of their security budgets on data security. Fewer than 30 percent are using encryption in these environments.

You might think, “We don’t skimp on security, so our defenses are better.” That could be true, but the IDC study found that the most sophisticated organizations are more likely to say they’ve experienced a data breach. This could be because these organizations are more aware of what’s happening in their IT environments, good or bad. Conversely, less sophisticated organizations tend to have a false sense of security (no pun intended) and are more likely to become complacent.

The prevalence of cloud applications and services is making IT environments more complex. Complex environments make it more difficult to maintain visibility into data and manage encryption, tokenization, and other security tools. This complexity is the top data security concern of security professionals, cited by more than 40 percent of respondents, followed by the potential impact on performance and an insufficient budget. Organizations recognize the importance of data security but need simpler solutions to overcome the challenges.

There are several key takeaways from the IDC study for organizations pursuing DX. First, make sure you understand where all threats are coming from, and continually monitor your IT environments for vulnerabilities. Second, focus security investments on tools that can reduce complexity and spot threats in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Effective privileged access management (PAM) is also critical. Legacy PAM solutions lack the scale to support DX, with growing numbers of users, applications, and potential access points. Organizations need a PAM platform that provides granular controls and consistent policy enforcement across the extended enterprise.

Security should be part of the planning phase of any IT initiative, especially one as far-reaching as DX. Let us help you develop a strategic approach to DX that reduces risk by accounting for data security from the start.


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