As companies adopt digital innovation, including the automation of their operations, the potential for a cyberattack grows. Despite this potential risk, retreating from digital transformation is simply not an option in today’s modern business marketplace. Instead, leaders who want to stay competitive need to understand and implement a variety of new digital concepts, from web application development to the use of digital tools to obtain and keep customers. Keeping your expanding workspace secure means there are plenty of decisions to make when working towards digital maturity.
Along the way, cybercriminals are hoping that organisations will be too busy thinking about the business advantages of digital transformation to prioritize the cybersecurity components of that process. And they are watching and waiting to exploit any of the security gaps created when new technology is introduced to the network.
Addressing cyber threats from all angles
Whether it is new apps, new cloud services, or entirely new infrastructures, cyber risks exist in every new endeavour, leaving organisations vulnerable right when they are wrestling with all of the issues that inevitably crop up when making changes to their digital environment. This is especially dangerous when security is left as an afterthought, leaving networks wide open to new threat vectors and that can lead to the introduction of malware into the network, stolen data and compromised systems, and reputational damage.
To improve their defenses, it is important for organisations to create a security-driven networking strategy from the ground up that automatically expands into any new networking environment, application strategy, or device deployment. Saving security matters until after the network has been developed only increases the odds of new security gaps being introduced and a resulting cyberattack. To prevent this from happening and to create a security-driven network, here are seven best practices that organisations can follow to better secure their digital transformation efforts.
1. Prioritizing cloud security
Organisations need to remember that cloud providers only secure the underlying architecture of a cloud environment, not the data itself. An organisation’s responsibility lies in protecting the data and the applications that are moved to the cloud, along with any virtual infrastructure that they build there. Cloud security can be complex, so choosing a trusted vendor to help design, build and maintain consistent security across your multi-cloud environment, and tie it back into core, branch, and mobility security architectures with a single console for holistic visibility and control is extremely important.
2. Use zero trust access protocols
As many data breaches are caused by individuals gaining access to unauthorised levels of network resources and devices, zero trust combined with strict access control is critical. To better secure those network environments even further, security teams must also introduce two-factor authentication and implement dynamic network segmentation to limit who sees what while also carefully monitoring devices.
3. Stay up-to-date on privacy laws
With the recent passing of the Data Protection Act in Kenya, Massive penalties await those who violate data protection regulations. Organisations should look for security tools that will offer guidance on remaining compliant amidst digital transformation.
4. Monitoring web presence
As cybercriminals continue to target vulnerable websites, security teams must take additional steps to ensure their websites and web applications are able to stand up against these threats. This includes securing SaaS apps, deploying web app firewalls, and implementing Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions and endpoint security tools for mobile users. Organisations should also only choose solutions that are designed to function as an integrated system for seamless coverage and no security gaps.
5. Securing apps
Software developers who build the apps used across organisations do not always prioritize security, especially in third-party apps that are typically installed on personal devices. For these types of apps, organisations should deploy endpoint security tools, while for in-house app development, be sure to leverage security tools throughout the development process, including container-based solutions designed for agile development strategies and DevOps teams.
6. Strengthening wireless connections
It is no secret that secure wireless access points play a critical role within modern organisations. Cybercriminals are aware of this reliance, meaning security teams must take a proactive approach toward securing their wireless connections – this can be achieved by running wireless traffic through a next-gen firewall.
7. Extending security to remote locations
In addition to securing connectivity to and between remote locations, organisations must also take care to secure and manage the local branch LAN as well. With no on-site IT staff, these locations need a simple, comprehensive solution that secures a wide variety of traditional and IoT on-site devices.
Digital transformation is a business-critical priority, but if cybersecurity is not rolled in from day one, organisations will leave themselves, their employees, and their customers open to serious cyber risk. Starting with security, rather than leaving it as an afterthought, is how organisations can harness the digital era a smart, safe, and secure way.
Moses Maundu is the Major Account Manager – Fortinet EA