Canadian Security Magazine

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Security is crucial for digital transformation and here’s why


Gregg Ostrowski

In the digital age we’re in, businesses must innovate to stay ahead while balancing security measures at the same time. Yet, the rapid push for digital transformation over the last year made strong security measures an afterthought for many enterprises. The role of the CIO has been changing to be more focused on business outcomes. In the past, a CISO might have been considered a ‘CI-NO’ but not anymore. It is now necessary for CISOs to also have a seat at the table.

Considering the urgent need to ensure business continuity during the pandemic, this survivalist mindset could be forgiven for a time but we have come to a point where that is no longer feasible. Technological innovation combined with the shift to remote work means businesses had to reorganize people and data, quickly and securely, or risk losing their competitive edge in their respective markets. Failure to have the right processes and solutions in place to protect personal data not only puts brand reputation and consumer trust at risk, but could also cost organizations millions of dollars if there were a breach. Now that we’re a year into the pandemic, it’s time to review your internal processes that needed to change over night and see what worked and what needs further refinement.

As organizations continue to become increasingly dependent on digital tools, particularly applications, to engage with and deliver services to customers, large amounts of personal user data is stored within them. Because of this, enterprises become increasingly at risk to security incidents and cyber threats. This issue intensifies as more employees work from home and connect their computers and other company devices to the public internet.

The problem is not all firms are equipped with adequate security solutions to protect their IT environment, or they aren’t sure where to begin retrofitting security products into their infrastructure. The answer to this is innovative solutions to make security a priority from the beginning. To match the pace of innovation and protect business and customer information, IT teams require a new approach that protects their digital tools and assets, like mobile and desktop applications, from the inside-out.

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Building a strong foundation for enterprise security

Data drives most, if not all, decision making in modern businesses. The insights gained from monitoring user experience, customer behaviour and application performance are what guide many lines of business to be proactive, validate improvements and reinvent their product or service offerings. This led enterprises to implement big data environments that house all of the business’ collected information, increasing the overall vulnerability and potential of a cyberattack.

Building a strong enterprise security architecture and process is a key factor to seamless security management. Implementing strategic, comprehensive security solutions protects an organization’s assets, user data, and brand reputation. To protect your business from cyber threats, educate stakeholders about protecting the corporate network, implement a clearly defined access control policy, develop a strong encryption strategy, and manage endpoint security with a comprehensive monitoring solution.

Integrated solutions offer the best of both worlds

With applications now running on-premise or from multi-cloud and cloud-native microservices, coupled with accelerated innovation, the need for an application-led approach to security is essential. This critical shift will enable IT professionals to identify vulnerabilities within the application during production, correlate vulnerabilities and breaches with business impact, and bring together IT and security teams to ensure a speedy resolution. However, what’s most important is the ability to automate the response to prevent the vulnerability from causing significant damage.

This creates a valuable synergy within the enterprise, where IT, security teams and business leaders can innovate and work proactively to achieve business goals. This modern approach provides both cost gains and time efficiency. It’s also better than the outdated tradition of keeping security teams separate and only capable of reacting to cyberattacks when they could be preventing them instead.

As organizations continue to invest in the digitization of business, new enterprise applications will continue to be deployed in record numbers. In order for continued digital transformation efforts to be successful, organizations must position security as an enabler, not a barrier to innovation and progress. And with an application-led approach to security, enterprises and their IT teams will no longer have to sacrifice security for velocity.

Gregg Ostrowski is a Regional CTO at AppDynamics. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation. Prior to AppDynamics, Ostrowski held senior leadership positions at Samsung and Research in Motion.