Are digital businesses better protected than traditional counterparts?
- 28 September, 2016 11:17
Sonia Eland - Director of strategic alliance eco-system and digital, CSC Australia and New Zealand
Purely-digital companies are creating cyber security advantages over traditional businesses in Australia and New Zealand, as the impact of industry change plays out across enterprise.
Today, cyber security forms a critical part of digital business with its broader external ecosystem and new challenges in an open digital world.
“Organisations will learn to live with acceptable levels of digital risk as business units innovate to discover what security they need and what they can afford,” Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst, Paul Proctor, said.
“Digital ethics, analytics and a people-centric focus will be as important as technical controls.”
With digital transformation chatter now controlling the boardroom agenda, digitally driven organisations are deploying modern software and infrastructure that is more resistant to the ongoing wave of cyber security threats.
Yet pre-digital businesses make up the vast majority of companies, and frequently rely on older systems, out of support software, and have multiple physical locations, making them much more vulnerable to cyber security attacks.
“As emerging digital businesses show, robust digital connections underpin a strong digital economy,” CSC Australia and New Zealand director of strategic alliance eco-system and digital, Sonia Eland, said.
“For new digital markets and economies to thrive and grow, these digital connections must be seamless, frictionless, and always-on, to meet users’ basic expectations.
“Cyber security can play a key role in underpinning economic growth by making businesses and their customers feel confident about their digital interactions.”
For pre-digital businesses looking to compete in the digital economy, Eland believes it’s essential to upgrade out-of-date and poorly-secured infrastructure.
“To delay these upgrades invites a raft of cyber security risks,” she explained.
These risks range from damage to brand image, non-compliance with regulations governing personally identifiable information (PII), and loss of customers.
In the past, outdated and vulnerable systems led to a cyber security breach at Target.
As explained by Eland, an older, but still very common, version of Microsoft Word, combined with email phishing via one of the retailer’s suppliers, enabled hackers to penetrate Target’s fortress walls and steal the credit card data of tens-of-millions of customers.
“Cyber security and technology are among the most important issues for today’s businesses,” Eland added.
“For example, it’s clear that infrastructure complexity damages cyber security. Also, with mobility on the rise, the secure perimeter is not as clear.
“Further, businesses need greater visibility into when and how they have been attacked to reduce detection times, and be able to quarantine attacks before malware spreads to other devices and hackers have time to do damage.”
By addressing these infrastructure upgrade challenges today, Eland believes organisations will be better placed to harness digital opportunities in the future.
“In many ways, we are only scratching the surface of connectivity, and its impact on our economy,” Eland added.
“Soon we will need to connect securely to billions of sensors, millions of devices and thousands of business networks, while enabling entire eco-systems of technologies, both old and new.”
Looking ahead, Eland said becoming digitally-capable is a necessity for all companies.
“Cyber security is no longer solely the responsibility of IT departments,” Eland added.
“It’s also a leadership issue that requires active involvement from the Board and the entire executive leadership team.
“Addressing security as a key challenge will not only create a safer environment for businesses and their customers, but will unlock a raft of digital opportunities that can stimulate growth throughout the economy.”