Digital transformation efforts are sweeping across the IT world. The pace of innovation is rapidly altering processes at organizations in every industry. Elements of digital transformation — such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things — have the potential to disrupt the way any organization operates. The Digital Transformation Initiative estimated in January 2017 that transformation efforts could unlock as much as $100 trillion in value through revenue increases and cost reductions.
As organizations look to introduce transformative innovations into their own business processes, they should pay close attention to the potential security effects of emerging technologies. This includes both applying new technologies to transform cybersecurity efforts and ensuring that processes undergoing digital transformation continue to protect security and privacy.
Deep Learning Takes Center Stage
Deep learning is driving digital transformation, leveraging decades of research into artificial intelligence to discover trends, predict behavior and develop hyperpersonalized products. Companies such as DNAFit now offer diet and fitness programs based on genomic sequencing, while marketing firms like 84.51º customize consumer experiences using a “market of one” strategy. These innovations are made possible through recent breakthroughs in inexpensive computing and storage capabilities that allow data scientists to design neural networks to tackle problems across a variety of disciplines.
Cybersecurity companies also see the potential in deep-learning technology to aid in the fight against sophisticated cyberattacks. Earlier this year, security vendor Sophos acquired Invincea in an effort to bring deep-learning capability to the anti-malware fight, joining efforts from firms such as Cylance and Carbon Black. These data-driven approaches to malware detection hold the promise of moving away from traditional signature-based approaches and adding the ability to identify previously unknown malware the first time it appears in the wild. That’s a powerful tool against advanced persistent threats.
Build in Security
Cybersecurity isn’t the only field where digital transformation efforts will make a tremendous impact, but cybersecurity should be a component of all transformation initiatives. As organizations roll out initiatives that incorporate Big Data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies, they need to pay careful attention to the protection of information and processes. The same power that enables these technologies to radically transform business processes also gives them the potential to cause massive disruptions and loss of information if not properly secured.
Security assessments should be an integrated component of digital transformation initiatives. A look back at the history of cybersecurity clearly demonstrates that attempting to “bolt on” security to existing designs yields mediocre results, at best. Including cybersecurity teams in the planning and design phases of transformation initiatives provides the best chance of success, incorporating security from the start.
Digital transformation initiatives hold great promise. As organizations launch initiatives designed to realize part of the $100 trillion in value out there, they should keep cybersecurity concerns front of mind. These disruptive technologies can quickly turn destructive if not properly secured and, when harnessed, can deliver tremendous cybersecurity value.
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