Around 3 years back, many companies embarked on their digital transformation journey. Others were forced into it later with the pandemic. Pandemic pushed companies to move ahead on their digital transformation journey at breakneck speed.
Many organizations jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon without much thought about how to bring security in the picture. How does digital transformation affect security? Well, in a nutshell it affects security in a profound manner. Digital transformation is altering security needs in many fundamental ways. Here are some of the important aspects that you need to be aware of:
- Increased attack surface – This one should be a no brainer, but is often overlooked. More applications, data and instances (servers, virtual machines, containers) create more opportunities for cyber attackers. It creates more entry points as well and simplify lateral movement in the organization network.
- Blurring of boundaries between corporate networks – Earlier enterprise networks were completely in control of IT and security teams since many businesses had hosted all their IT equipment and applications on-site. As part of digital transformation many organizations leveraged elasticity of public clouds without understanding the shared responsibility model. To add to this, public cloud setups (virtual private cloud aka VPCs) were connected back to on-site or corporate data centers.
- Higher potential for damage – As more organizations exposed applications & APIs to the internet, this increased the risk and potential for damage. This was driven by business requirements and necessitated by the fact that most of the workforce went remote in the pandemic.
- Attackers have matured – Attacks are getting more sophisticated with time. Dynamics of the whole attack model has changed with Ransomware as a Service (RaaS).
- Speed of change has increased – With DevOps and CI/CD, developers are pushing out new features at a much faster pace. This increased speed makes it easier for security vulnerabilities to slip through.
With this background, let us now look at what organizations needs to focus on security front during their digital transformation journey:
Keep pace with increased risk
Increased attack surface directly correlates to increased risk. Security teams need to gear up to handle this increased risk.
- Integrate security systems – Security teams end up using multiple disjoint systems and this results in a fragmented view of the landscape. Integrating security systems helps improve visibility into the network.
- Provide training to staff – It is critical to upskill staff to keep them equipped to defend against sophisticated cyber attacks.
- Automate cybersecurity processes – Adding automation into security processes can help organizations continuously monitor for threats, result in increased productivity and improved cyber security posture.
Security teams need to transform
Security teams cannot afford to be left behind in the digital transformation journey, they need to transform too.
- Proactive approach to cybersecurity – What worked perfectly fine yesterday, may not lend itself for the future. Organizations are still stuck with a maturity-based or risk-based approach to cybersecurity. I talked about the drawbacks and need for a proactive approach to cybersecurity in an earlier article.
- Take a holistic view of the landscape – Organizations have diverse attack surfaces ranging from virtual machines in the cloud, containers, corporate infra, remote workforce to serverless code in the cloud. Security teams need to take a holistic view across these attack surfaces. If security teams leverage different solutions to cater to different attack surfaces, then they get a fragmented view without an integration which can help provide a unified view.
- Bake security in (aka shift left) – Most organizations build many applications in-house and it is critical to build security into these applications during development itself. There are many aspects to building secure software like: avoiding secrets in code, code analysis to detect security weaknesses in source code, identifying vulnerabilities in 3rd party dependencies (like packages, jars, modules, etc.) and more. Read more about it here.
- Perform regular testing – Plan for regular penetration testing to uncover potential vulnerabilities and opportunities to improve security.
ThreatWatch is a proactive cybersecurity solution which uses an agent-less and scan-less approach to secure multiple attack surfaces (cloud, container, corporate, code) by leveraging AI-aided prioritization for planned proactive remediation.
For more information on how ThreatWatch can help you proactively secure your organization write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org