Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

5/15/2019
03:30 PM
Jordan Blake
Jordan Blake
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

Introducing the Digital Transformation Architect

Bet-the-company transformation that expands the attack surface requires close alignment and leadership across executive, IT and security teams.

For companies today, digital transformation poses a "do-or-die" proposition — in many cases, literally.

Two-thirds of organizations are actively pursuing a transformation, as annual worldwide spending on the technologies and services that drive these transformations will reach nearly $2 trillion by 2022, up from $1.25 trillion this year, according to separate research reports from TechTarget and IDC.

The stakes are high because established companies are being pressured by startups that seek to disrupt markets by exclusively promoting mobile apps — instead of physical stores/locations — to target customers. In response, large brands are inventing immersive apps and online services to deliver new features and redefine the customer experience.

They're doing so because they feel they have no choice, as staying on the sidelines could result in their eventual demise: Nearly two-thirds of C-suite, IT, and business decision-makers feel that a failure to launch new digital services will lead to reduced revenue, and 55% say it will eliminate their company's competitive differentiation, according to research from Oracle. Half say a lack of these services will cause both a loss of customers and brand perception/relevance. It's no wonder, then, that 85% believe that the launch of new digital services is critical to their business strategy.

What's more, they're in a hurry to get into the game: Nine of 10 prioritize speed to market, with half of decision-makers believing they should be able to launch a new digital service in just a few days, according to the Oracle findings. Subsequently, the entire commerce landscape has evolved to the point where three-quarters of companies either offer "inherently" digital subscription services (like Netflix or Airbnb) or digital subscription services positioned around physical products (such as connected cars, home security systems, or Internet of Things-connected services).

Although consumers benefit from the intensified competition, the bet-the-company nature of these transformations demands alignment and leadership across executive, IT, security, and other functions. To address this need, a job role called "digital transformation architect" is emerging as a business reality — a senior professional who performs as a hub interface for CISOs, CIOs, CEOs, the C-suite, marketers, and developers. This architect objectively weighs these experts' input in pursuing the transformation mission while making sure that overarching strategies and execution are not tripped up by unexpected security and risk issues.

For certain, acting as the prime ambassador for digital strategic goals while seeking to minimize cyber threat issues requires a skillful balancing act. Here are two core areas on which the architects must focus to lead their organizations to a digital transformation that is not only successful but secure.

1. Enforce Access and Identity
In the online world, trust is too often broken, such as when cyber thieves swipe user credentials and hijack accounts for their own gain. By deploying effective identity and access management (IAM) programs, transformation architects put a stop to the exploitation of their customer-facing digital presence and offerings. As defined by Gartner, IAM is the security discipline that enables the "right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons." It ensures appropriate access to resources across increasingly heterogeneous technology environments while meeting increasingly rigorous compliance standards, according to Gartner.

Digital transformation architects play a prime role in helping organizations tailor identity and access safeguards according to risk tolerance and requirements. Depending on organizations' industry, customer base, back-end security layers, and regulatory responsibilities for spotting fraud or intrusions, architects confer with security and IT team leaders to make sure new digital interfaces and investments do not stretch risk beyond what is necessary to measurably capitalize on transformation opportunities.

2. Keep the Consumer/User Engaged
Yes, organizations must invest in IAM tools so that only authorized users are accessing their products and services. It just takes one significant breach, after all, to inflict devastating brand reputational damage and the resulting lost customers and revenue.

However, if businesses set up too many authorization barriers, they risk overwhelming their users and the ensuing friction can lead to customer churn. Thus, digital transformation security architects are tasked to oversee the development of authentication requirements that are as unobtrusive as possible to eliminate the friction. They have to go beyond traditional (and often vulnerable) approaches such as enforcing password complexity, relying on tokens, captchas, and PIN codes.

Digital transformation amounts to a very big bet. It takes large investments to reinvent a company through new apps and online services — a transition that expands the attack surface and, therefore, invites greater risks. Yet, introducing too many protective measures to "tighten up" the environment will turn away the very customers who drive success. That's why the architects must work with both the security side and business units to engage users while safeguarding their experiences. With this, the path to a fully realized transformation appears much clearer and easy to navigate — for the architect, the CISO, the CEO, and everyone else with a stake in the game.

Related Content:

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

As VP of Products at BehavioSec, Jordan Blake is responsible for the product strategy and vision of the company's cyber safety solutions. His more than 20-year career in product management include both consumer and enterprise roles with security industry leaders such as ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
US Turning Up the Heat on North Korea's Cyber Threat Operations
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/16/2019
MITRE Releases 2019 List of Top 25 Software Weaknesses
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/17/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "He's too shy to invite me out face to face!"
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16649
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-21
On Supermicro H11, H12, M11, X9, X10, and X11 products, a combination of encryption and authentication problems in the virtual media service allows capture of BMC credentials and data transferred over virtual media devices. Attackers can use captured credentials to connect virtual USB devices to the...
CVE-2019-16650
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-21
On Supermicro X10 and X11 products, a client's access privileges may be transferred to a different client that later has the same socket file descriptor number. In opportunistic circumstances, an attacker can simply connect to the virtual media service, and then connect virtual USB devices to the se...
CVE-2019-15138
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-20
The html-pdf package 2.2.0 for Node.js has an arbitrary file read vulnerability via an HTML file that uses XMLHttpRequest to access a file:/// URL.
CVE-2019-6145
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-20
Forcepoint VPN Client for Windows versions lower than 6.6.1 have an unquoted search path vulnerability. This enables local privilege escalation to SYSTEM user. By default, only local administrators can write executables to the vulnerable directories. Forcepoint thanks Peleg Hadar of SafeBreach Labs ...
CVE-2019-6649
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-20
F5 BIG-IP 15.0.0, 14.1.0-14.1.0.6, 14.0.0-14.0.0.5, 13.0.0-13.1.1.5, 12.1.0-12.1.4.1, 11.6.0-11.6.4, and 11.5.1-11.5.9 and Enterprise Manager 3.1.1 may expose sensitive information and allow the system configuration to be modified when using non-default ConfigSync settings.