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
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
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
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-13545
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In Horner Automation Cscape 9.90 and prior, improper validation of data may cause the system to write outside the intended buffer area, which may allow arbitrary code execution.
CVE-2019-13541
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In Horner Automation Cscape 9.90 and prior, an improper input validation vulnerability has been identified that may be exploited by processing files lacking user input validation. This may allow an attacker to access information and remotely execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2019-17367
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
OpenWRT firmware version 18.06.4 is vulnerable to CSRF via wireless/radio0.network1, wireless/radio1.network1, firewall, firewall/zones, firewall/forwards, firewall/rules, network/wan, network/wan6, or network/lan under /cgi-bin/luci/admin/network/.
CVE-2019-17393
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
The Customer's Tomedo Server in Version 1.7.3 communicates to the Vendor Tomedo Server via HTTP (in cleartext) that can be sniffed by unauthorized actors. Basic authentication is used for the authentication, making it possible to base64 decode the sniffed credentials and discover the username and pa...
CVE-2019-17526
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
** DISPUTED ** An issue was discovered in SageMath Sage Cell Server through 2019-10-05. Python Code Injection can occur in the context of an internet facing web application. Malicious actors can execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system, as demonstrated by an __import__('os').pop...