In the rush to keep up with rapid changes and remain competitive—or even relevant—by transforming processes, many organizations might have neglected a key component of digital transformation: creating a strong cybersecurity program that defends them against the latest threats.
This is a big mistake.
Data, especially personally identifiable information about customers and employees, intellectual property, marketing strategies and other sensitive content, is among the most valuable assets a company owns. Leaving it less than fully protected is an enormous risk, opening up the organization to possible hacks, ransomware attacks, regulatory fines, lawsuits, system outages and other negative impacts.
It’s somewhat ironic that the very initiatives that support digital transformation—placing data and workloads in the public cloud, increasing the number of mobile and remote endpoints, expanding e-commerce platforms and building out IoT—are broadening the attack surface significantly and putting companies at greater risk.
With digital transformations, organizations deploy all kinds of new technology tools and services. Prior to these changes, the typical IT infrastructure was a centrally controlled environment with gated perimeters, enterprise-owned endpoint devices, and on-premises data centers in which much of the company-owned data was housed.
All of this has evolved into a sprawling, essentially boundaryless entity consisting of cloud services, mobile devices and apps, remote workplaces, edge computing components, and the IoT.
Much of the focus of cybersecurity efforts today should be on the endpoints within an enterprise, which oftentimes are the weak links of cybersecurity programs. Recent research has shown attackers often gain access to companies’ networks through endpoints such as PCs, smartphones, tablets, and the growing number of Internet-connected devices.
What organizations need is a comprehensive, effective cybersecurity strategy designed to protect valuable data resources in this modern environment.
It’s time for convergence
This is why organizations need to consider deploying converged endpoint management (XEM) platforms as part of their security transformation strategies. XEM can help organizations secure vulnerable devices and enable security teams to detect and respond to threats quickly and effectively. It provides a unified approach to endpoint management needed in today’s environments.
XEM platforms provide IT and cybersecurity executives and teams with real-time endpoint visibility, including how many devices are on the network at any given time, where they are located, who is using the devices and whether they are sufficiently updated and patched.
Modern security tools such as XEM can replace outdated legacy products that can provide an entry point for hackers to penetrate networks. That’s because in many cases support for these products has lapsed, and bad actors take advantage of those weaknesses.
In addition to deploying XEM and other modern solutions, organizations should ensure that there is close collaboration between the security and IT teams. This is especially important as infrastructures become more complex and diverse than ever, and it gets harder to know if critical security patches have been deployed effectively to all the systems that need them.
They should also take a proactive approach to security, via efforts such as threat hunting and analyzing threat intelligence. Ultimately organizations should aim for a zero-trust approach to security that helps to safeguard networks through continual verification of users and devices.
Another key practice is to promote cybersecurity awareness. Companies need to train employees not only in how to safely use their own and company-owned endpoint devices and other tools, but how to spot common attacks such as phishing.
Many ransomware attacks happen because employees click on malicious links they receive via email or other sources. For years, insider threats have been among the biggest security worries. Many of these are inadvertent and can be avoided through training programs.
Investments in security awareness should include training at all levels of the organization, including the most senior executives. It’s these executives who often are the targets of attacks such as phishing.
In order to digitally transform their business operations without introducing new security risks, organizations need to make security part of the effort from the beginning, focusing on data vulnerability. Then they need to maintain strong security throughout a transformation initiative—and beyond.
Once a company has been transformed into a digital business, everything relies on data—including information about customers, employees, business partners and others—and much of this data is sensitive. That means it will be targeted by hackers and other cybercriminals.By ensuring strong defenses through XEM and other new security technologies, policies, procedures and training, organizations can experience a security transformation that will enhance their overall digital transformation. Learn how Tanium can help.