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5 key challenges for businesses as they head for digital transformation

Nov 17 2018 15:19
Lameez Omarjee, Fin24

There's a high risk of things going wrong when technology is involved, a conference heard.

Speaking at cyber security firm Fortinet's international media conference this week in Sophia Antipolis, France, senior director of solutions marketing Patrick Grillo discussed the importance of pairing digital transformation - a process by which businesses transition to using digital solutions - with appropriate security measures or security transformation.

"No matter how good technology is, no matter what promises it makes, there's always an implication that it could go wrong because somebody forgot to do something correctly or we were just not thinking of the consequences – certainly in the case of digital transformation," he said.

Grillo stressed the importance of changing mindsets when it comes to security. "It has to shift from protecting the network to protecting the data - or, rather, do both," he explained.

In his address, Patrice Perche, senior executive, vice president of worldwide sales and support, explained the importance of considering cyber security when a business moves forward in its digital transformation journey.

He highlighted five challenges businesses face:

1. Data: Huge volumes of data are being produced at an exponential growth rate. Excessive volumes of data also present a challenge for storage space.

Data must, additionally, be secured. For example, people can access data using mobile devices, among other things. "The complexity of securing data has increased due to innovation of technology and its access."

Perche suggested introducing segmentation, which allows businesses to determine who can access data as a means to control the process.

2. Technology: There's changing technology such as cloud services, among other things. There's also another challenge of using multiple products from different providers, which in itself creates complexities, Perche explained.

He suggested the consolidation of products from different service providers or vendors. This would save money, which could otherwise be diverted towards implementing cyber security measures.

3. Compliance: Systems are being put in place for both small and large companies to report and quickly escalate to relevant authorities any instances of security breaches. In Europe, for example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced earlier this year in an effort to protect the privacy of EU members, and requires businesses to report data breaches within 72 hours of them occurring, among other provisions.

Previously, Perche explained, data breaches were let under the radar, but the GDPR now exposes breaches within a short time frame.

4. Resources: There's a shortage of people with the required expertise and skills, Perche said. Companies who want to move forward with their digital transformation journeys are having a hard time finding the relevant experts.

Perche said that three years ago Foritnet started providing course work on the cyber security field to some universities in an effort to equip graduates appropriately to help meet the demand for skills in the industry.

5. Threats – Perche briefly touched on the cyber security threats which still persist and which need to be addressed. This can include old risks such as malware (malicious software), and new threats such as fuzzing (creating tools to crash computer code) being developed by cyber-attackers.

Perche told Fin24 in a separate interview that cyber security would likely be expanding into all sectors as data becomes the most important asset.

"The biggest challenge is we are living in a fast-evolving environment without too much understanding of the consequences," he said.

*Fin24 is a guest of Fortinet's international media conference in Sophia Antipolis, France.

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