Aligning cyber resilience and digital transformation: one for the board (part 2)

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by Torsten Jeungling (GM, BT Security)

The days of talking about security and infrastructure as two separate entities are over

For organisations seeking digital transformation, it is important to ask yourself whether you are cognisant of the risk associated with these new technologies, according to Patrick Grillo, a senior director at Fortinet, when speaking at the most recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. Grillo added that firms should know how they can take their existing structure and extend it seamlessly into this new hybrid environment. The coming of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has made it clear that the days of talking about security and infrastructure as two separate entities are over.

Security must now be built in by design, not by default.

So, how can companies mitigate the cyber risks posed by hybrid technologies and reach the final stage of the digital transformation journey? Primarily, this can be achieved by prioritising cybersecurity at board level. In doing so, the onus falls on security professionals or CISO to make the issue tangible for the board and articulate its impact for the entire organisation. Taking the board through live exercises by picking an area of vulnerability and demonstrating the catastrophic impact of a serious attack is one way to achieve this. The next step should be to adopt a proactive, rather than reactive approach to cyber-attacks: accept that the hybrid environment makes a catastrophic event likely and prepare a thorough response plan in advance.

A more holistic approach to cybersecurity is needed

Overall, a more holistic approach to cybersecurity is needed as the word ‘cyber’ can suggest that the problem can be delegated to IT, when in fact board conversations should treat this risk in the same category as any other. Realising and acting on this will allow organisations to give cybersecurity issues appropriate weight, and they will emerge stronger as a consequence.

Prioritising cybersecurity will set you apart from the crowd

Trust is the glue that binds banks and other financial companies into the fabric of customers’ willingness to invest, bank and borrow, and cyber security breaches have the potential to corrode this trust. But with the appropriate steps, it is possible to manage a catastrophic event in a way that shows customers and shareholders that the utmost has been done to manage the situation and mitigate risk. As such, prioritising cybersecurity as a board level issue is part-and-parcel of a digital transformation strategy that will strengthen reputation and set financial services firms apart from the crowd.

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Steve Coakley


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