Phase 2 of digital transformation: increased efficiency and increased security risk

As digital transformation takes hold, organizations must employ zero trust to fully secure the extended threat layer that drives efficiency.

Picture: Adobe

Digital transformation includes a variety of phases, and most organizations have taken their digital transformations one step at a time. The first stage of digital transformation centered on adopting business applications and moving to managed services. This has been the driver for increased cloud migration and usage and adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies. Today we are in a new phase of digital transformation where organizations are taking old, often manual processes and converting them into new, automated processes that are more digital by default. With the availability of large-scale digital data management platforms, the use of multi-cloud infrastructures and even artificial intelligence technologies, IT managers are able to quickly modernize old business processes, such as processing claims and loans, to increase business efficiency and get the most out of data. that the organization generates.

Businesses will now ask themselves: how can we leverage digital technology to streamline processes for our business units and customers? But they must also ask themselves: how can we guarantee the security of our new digital processes? When an organization shifts to a digital process, malicious actors take notice and follow this new approach, exposing your organization to increased risk and more threats, not less.

SEE: Cybersecurity: Organizations face major obstacles to adopting zero trust (TechRepublic)

Examples of digital process transformation

Many organizations have made significant progress in digitizing their business processes for back-office operations, collaborations with supply chain partners, and customer experiences. On the customer experience front, we’re seeing organizations leveraging AI chatbots to answer questions, retrieve information, or even allow customers to easily download files. For example, consider Lemonade, a relatively new insurance company that has new and existing customers engaging with a chatbot — Maya and Jim — rather than a human agent. Lemonade’s chatbots even help customers handle complaints in an easy-to-use app and digital format.

When it comes to back-office processes and supply chain collaborations, organizations are leveraging automation and advanced technologies to streamline business workflows. Consider your organization’s accounting department, many companies are investing in API-based software and technology that automates payroll processing functions, allowing these employees to focus on more important tasks.

These new processes allow companies to reduce manual workloads and improve operational efficiency. Yes, they save time, increase productivity, minimize errors and even reduce costs. But, they also come with a host of security risks that can have devastating effects on an organization if not addressed properly.

The expanded attack surface and increased risk

One thing these digital processes have in common is that they will require an increased reliance on new API-centric software and services, the deployment of digital collaboration platforms, and the adoption of customer-facing portals, which all hackers power. . Every time your organization implements a new digital process, hackers take notes. Do you integrate more APIs? Exchanging file content from new sources? Onboarding more partners and third-party vendors? Growing use of cloud and other content-rich applications? More than likely, hackers are already actively looking for ways to compromise your digital interactions through these new avenues.

SEE: Get CompTIA cybersecurity training online for an in-demand career (TechRepublic Academy)

Now more than ever, businesses are at increased risk of unknown and evasive malware compromising new digital processes. In recent months, we have seen malicious actors develop advanced obfuscation techniques, allowing them to transfer hidden and unknown threats through these processes and services. Researchers have already identified several groups leveraging some of these techniques, including threat actors linked to Russia. Earlier this year, Gamaredon launched cyberattacks against the Ukrainian government using many of these techniques. The group delivered malicious macro attachments via email and web download portals to target recipients who evaded detection, as well as using a dynamic Windows function hashing algorithm to map the necessary API components.

Zero Trust Content Security is the Answer

The Zero Trust model has rightfully become a popular security framework, especially within government and highly regulated enterprises that handle sensitive data and intellectual property. The Biden administration has issued executive orders requiring federal agencies to commit to moving all government systems to a zero trust strategy by the end of fiscal year 2024. However, Zero Trust is not just for the federal government, and is a step in the right direction that all organizations should be working toward.

A Zero Trust framework can help organizations create a more holistic approach to security and mitigate risk from new threats posed by digital process transformations. However, there is no single technology that secures all aspects of a company’s IT infrastructure, and organizations must discover and implement the right set of security solutions. Organizations should ensure that they deploy security as an API-centric service that addresses content security, identity and access management, endpoint security, application security, and data security. Through the collaboration of these security controls, organizations can develop a robust security posture that responds to the dynamic nature of the threat landscape. When implementing new processes, organizations should ensure they have a Zero Trust Content Security solution that can easily integrate with the new business process to ensure user productivity and business continuity. while proactively protecting against emerging threats targeting your business’ digital transformation.

Ravi Srinivasan, CEO, Votiro
Ravi Srinivasan, CEO, Votiro

Ravi Srinivasan, CEO, Votiro – With over 25 years of experience in cybersecurity and technology transformations, Ravi leads Votiro as CEO. Votiro’s mission is to secure user access to every digital file, no matter how it reaches them. Prior to Votiro, Ravi held several product and marketing leadership positions at Forcepoint, IBM, Synopsys and Texas Instruments.

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