Today, all organizations are digital by default. Digital business inherently means utilizing new technology, connecting devices and operating platforms, embracing different ways of working, building large-scale data silos, and so on. The convergence of Internet of Things networks with what were once separate and self-contained — and therefore more manageable — systems represents a fundamental change. Coping with digital challenges and mitigating risks still represents a major burden for organizations across the board. The World Economic Forum now rates a large-scale cybersecurity breach as one of the five most serious risks facing the world today.
The digital revolution can be brutal, and companies that fail to keep pace with it will quickly find themselves replaced by one of their more technology-savvy competitors. That means companies need to step up their IT activities to avoid a competitive disadvantage — and they need to find the right technologies and ensure they remain secure along the way. Organizations must be prepared for worst-case scenarios while pursuing their digital transformation objectives. Cloud technologies offer a golden opportunity for any business that aims to fuel its digital transformation process.
Most IT security pros say that protecting an IT environment starts with safeguarding privileged accounts. The automation that is part and parcel of the cloud and DevOps mean privileged accounts, credentials, and secrets are being created at breakneck speed. If breached, these provide attackers with an ideal platform from which they can gain access to sensitive data across networks, data and applications, or cloud infrastructure they can use for illicit cryptomining activities. More organizations are acknowledging this security risk but nevertheless adopt a lax approach to cloud security.
If cybercrime were a country, it would have the 13th highest GDP in the world. The global crime economy has become a self-perpetuating organism — an interlinked web of profit where the boundary between the legitimate and illegitimate is often unclear. Today, engaging in cybercrime is as simple as legitimate e-commerce. The dependency on the availability and performance of IT infrastructure among legitimate enterprises is increasing heavily, which makes them more vulnerable to breaches that can wreak havoc on business. Cybercriminals are clearly adept at leveraging existing platforms for commercial gain.
In addition to protecting their organizations from external threats, IT leaders mustn't neglect the internal breaches — intentional or accidental — that still pose a major threat. Continuous trainings and clear instructions help build awareness among staff, and policy enforcement and monitoring can ensure that employees will pay attention to them. Instead of treating security as a bothersome cost, the smartest enterprises will make online security a regular part of doing business and use it to differentiate themselves from their competitors who are still behind the curve.
Digital champions utilize analytics strategically to better understand customer trends and preferences, and instantly respond to changing market conditions. Research shows that excelling in analytics cannot just accelerate time-to-market, but it can also be financially rewarding. To overcome the hurdles, organizations should focus upon organizational readiness, open data and interoperability, and well-honed orchestration of people and processes.
Forward-thinking business leaders are making sure digital is part of the overall strategy discussion, not just transformation but also keeping a keen perspective on the competitive and potential mergers or acquisitions. By being involved and understanding what is really needed to undergo digital transformation, boards can ensure that leadership is executing on its plan and steering the company toward a successful digital future. In response to shifts in the business landscape and changing business requirements, the role of the CIO is going to be reinvigorated and extended across a number of dimensions. Here are eight examples.
Business leaders in advanced economies see cyberattacks as their single biggest threat, even more so than terrorist attacks. This is no surprise because the business risks associated with cybercrime are growing along with companies' ever-increasing dependence on technology. Moreover, the massive growth in the use of smart devices has opened up a universe of new ways for cybercriminals to launch attacks through large-scale botnets. Modern corporate innovation and growth must be balanced against cyber-risk and IT stability.
Data breaches are causing companies and organizations everywhere to re-examine the things they procure, the services they use, the individuals they hire, and the people and firms with whom they partner and do business. Across the board, organizations have sunk money into staff, strategies, and equipment to comply with new, tighter customer privacy rules and sidestep major fines and other penalties. Privacy laws and regulations worldwide are evolving and expanding. And the ones that took early action to address security concerns are seeing positive results from their investments.
When talking with CIOs and other senior executives, cloud computing is often cited as the foundation of a given digitization strategy. Cloud computing and the costs don’t have to remain a love-hate relationship. When planned well beforehand and deployed in a smart fashion, the cloud will make perfect economic sense. This doesn’t just apply for possible cost savings but also — and perhaps even more importantly — for enabling top-line growth. Thinking along the categories people, processes, and tools, will enable companies to come up with a comprehensive game plan that helps overcome the challenges.