Digital Transformation, two simple words that when combined carry a lot of meaning. Often abbreviated as DT, but within these two letters lives an entire ecosystem of business evolution. It reminds me of the term “cloud” 20 years ago. It meant different things to different people and to every business that was impacted by it. The cloud impacted 100% of enterprises and I would venture that Digital Transformation is doing the same.
What is Digital Transformation?
The wiki definition is pretty straight forward:
“Digital Transformation is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology.”
In theory, Digital Transformation is straightforward, but in practice it is very complex, and it impacts every business uniquely. Much like how Zero Trust is a security mindset, DT is a growing business culture that drives people, process and technology. A quick internet search will show the endless articles on DT: the “three approaches to DT”, or “four main pillars of DT”, or the “four approaches of DT”. The evidence is mounting, that in order for a business to compete in today’s world, Digital Transformation must be at the heart of business strategy or at a minimum underlie every decision.
DT Brings New Technology and Security Concerns
When a business is undergoing this transformation, the adoption of more and more digital technology and digital processes is at the core of the transformation. Yet there are considerable and complex implications in that simple word “digital”. When I think of digital, I think of bits and bytes or ones and zeros. And once data is stored as ones and zeros, it is can be attacked by bad actors with malicious ones and zeros.
With new technology comes new risk and security concerns. It might be fitting to review DT in terms of people, process, and technology. These three considerations are relevant and can be applied to the increase in newly implemented digital “things” that are a result of this business strategy. All of which will need to be secured. The more tech or processes that are deployed, the more potential for risk of digital attacks. As a result, there is a direct correlation between the adoption of DT and the increase in the number of digital attacks and the sophistication of threat operators. Let’s look at each of these three aspects in more detail.
Train Your People About DT
As with anything new, be it process or technology, training is required to stay ahead of the curve and to thrive. DT is no different. Organizations must continually ask themselves when making decisions if they are evaluating through the lens of DT to stay current. Every contributor must embrace a DT mindset, understanding the underlying reasons for change and the benefits of making changes while believing change is necessary. Furthermore, security training is imperative to help employees adhere to enterprise policy, use these new DT technologies and processes safely, reduce risk, and safeguard critical business data. Poorly trained employees are a leading cause of breaches, if not the leading cause.
Integrate Security directly into DT Processes
Implementing new processes are a huge part of operationalizing any Digital Transformation. Process incorporates everything an enterprise is and does. Things like interactions with customers, prospects, vendors, contractors, supply chain, etc. It even extends beyond that to all things that define a brand and its reputation. All of these factors and more can help drive innovation, efficiency, compliance, improve speed to market, or whatever goals drive your unique DT strategy. Many of these new processes will become part of daily workflows and business systems. Not having to design a substandard process to work around security technology limitations, but ideally integrating security directly into the process. A secure access solution that is programmable and adaptable to work within the optimal process can accelerate the success of Digital Transformation.
Secure Your DT Technology
All new technology that results from an enterprises DT journey must be protected and secured. Zero Trust can provide secure access throughout this evolution.
Last year, the Forrester report “Future-Proof Your Digital Business with Zero Trust” stated:
Security and risk (S&R) leaders can use their organization’s mandate for digital transformation to escape from legacy networks full of security debt stemming from tradeoffs and competing priorities. Security can take advantage of this migration to build in — rather than bolt on — Zero Trust security architectural principles1.
Omdia, a global provider of technology research, concurs. In a recent paper it says to:
Think ZTA (Zero Trust Access) for your Digital Transformation” and that “Digital transformation and the move to cloud is on the mind of most enterprises, and if it is on yours, you should study the range of platforms and services available to enable zero-trust access.2
Zero Trust Access (ZTA) or Software-defined perimeter (SDP) can quickly scale to protect newly implemented technology on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid environments.
The evidence is clear that in order for businesses to have a competitive edge in today’s world, digital transformation must be part of your overall business strategy and long-term goals. And with that comes the responsibility to secure and protect it above all else.
Appgate SDP can be applied to secure new Digital Transformation processes and technology by:
- Making everything invisible to attackers
- Providing identity-centric Least Privileged Access (LPA)
- Creating dynamic just-in-time access to the right tools
- Integrating directly with new business processes
Learn more about how Appgate SDP connects the right people and devices, at the right time, under the right circumstances, to the resources they need. Find out why our customers say Appgate SDP is the solution that makes their Digital Transformation journey more secure every step of the way.
1 Forrester: Future-Proof Your Digital Business With Zero Trust Security by Jeff Pollard, October 4, 2019
2 Omdia Market Radar: Zero Trust Access by Rik Tur