The pandemic has pushed companies to move promptly on everything from online collaboration tools to secure remote access for the manufacturing facilities – but the roots of success still lie in strengthening the cybersecurity framework.
The ability to move promptly drives competitive advantage and can have a significant impact on the bottom line that defines the company’s success. However, CISOs and CIOs have witnessed a massive disparity in levels of preparedness to adjust operations, depending on whether the companies actually fall on the spectrum of digital transformation or not.
Companies that still rely primarily on complete on-premise IT infrastructure, faced a more complex task, in both in enabling employees to do their jobs efficiently and also in maintaining the infrastructure. They quickly realize that they were operating in an environment that was not really sustainable. Forced into a new reality without taking advantage of proper systems architecture security and design measures, they struggled to maintain operations that are exposed to their business for greater risk.
So, what was holding companies back, and how can more firms start to accelerate digital initiatives is not actually a technology issue, but more of a human issue. Digital transformation goals may be inconvenient, but it is possible that the rewards can be game-changing.
Three recommendations can help foster acceptance for such digital transformation initiatives so that more companies can promptly drive business value – not waiting until the next crisis to compel the change.
- Communication and transparency associated with project risks can go a long way towards gaining acceptance for the digital transformation initiatives. It is the CISO’s responsibility to explain the relative impact of potential breach scenarios, for the executive team and board to understand the risk and can choose to mitigate or accept it. The operational technology (OT) environment allows manufacturers to make their money and tackle any threat related to availability or uptime to significantly impact or expand the information technology (IT) discussion to prioritize OT security. With security controls that allow OT and IT teams to look at processes and governance holistically advocating for secure digital transformation goals – the digitization journeys are now simplified.
- The person in charge of digital transformation – the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) or a combination of the COO, CIO, and CISO, need to garner support from the entire executive team for the success of the digital transformation projects. Budget is never the primary gating factor, but people and their supporters are more crucial. Meeting regularly to become involved at an operational level to guide during these challenging times, they have gained a greater appreciation to create a positive impact digital transformation can have on the business. It is important to have all stakeholders aligned to remove bureaucracy and complacency constraints that may have been holding them back.
- Security remains the foundational component of all digital transformation process, to ensure that the CISO is involved in every step of the process. In the early part of the digital transformation journeys, initiatives opened new connectivity vectors to the enterprise infrastructure to collect data from equipment, store and analyze it in the cloud to optimize processes and cut down the costs. They were moving further throughout the journey, as the devices on the edge leverage artificial intelligence, facial recognition, machine learning, and other technologies to augment the ability to monitor and manage the manufacturing processes. Each of the digital transformation projects can help drive competitive advantage. Still, all this data and the related processes must be secured from the start to provide stakeholders greater confidence to move ahead.
When faced with a crisis, businesses are willing to experience short-term pain for long-term gains. Leveraging this moment to build cooperations and coalitions, focusing on security with improved communication and transparency, to accelerate digital transformation goals for competitive advantage, even post the crisis fades.