With Data Insecurity Looms Digital Obsolescence

In our Work AHEAD study, we uncovered the monetary benefits of adopting a digital strategy. The impact of new technologies, including intelligent automation, IoT, big data and cloud, on all aspects of business will be immense, with fortunes being made off the back of the digital build-out. The real impact of these technologies, according to our study, will increase from 4.6% of total revenue in 2015 to 11.4% of revenue by 2018. Extrapolating this data out, global digital revenues in 2018 could amount to $6.6 trillion, making it, by revenue, equivalent to the third largest country in terms of GDP.

Pursuing a digital strategy isn’t merely a pursuit of bolstering the bottom line. Today, digital adoption is quite simply a matter of survival. Think to the Kodaks, Blockbusters and even Myspaces of this world; these companies offer a stark reminder of what happens when organizations fail to see the genuine threat of new technologies impacting their industries. Many leaders will say they’ve done enough to avoid such catastrophe. That might be the case, but as in Dante’s Inferno, purgatory remains for those that don’t go “all in” or act fast enough. The laggard penalty for slow adopters is very real; in our Work AHEAD study, we calculated that for firms lagging behind in digital adoption, the dollar penalty between 2015 to 2018 amounts to $692 million per company, on average.

So the message is clear, you need to act, and you need to act quickly. Many organizations, however, are being held back by a lack of data security, which came up as the second largest inhibitor to digital adoption by organizations in our Work AHEAD study.

Cybersecurity in the Digital Age

So what can organizations do to shore up their defenses and avoid the digital chop?

Well, providing adequate budget is a good place to start, but leaving it there is trivializing a complex issue. Many organizations have attempted to improve cybersecurity measures by placing increasingly sophisticated defenses around their perimeter. The unfortunate reality is, however, that a motivated hacker will find a way to get over, under or around these walls, often through an employee.

Forward-thinking organizations are beginning to reorient security processes from devices and locations to roles and data. So, plugging your laptop into the network in your office should allow an individual to reach publicly available websites but prohibit access to corporate data and enterprise applications unless the right identity authentication credentials are present.

By adopting the “who are you, where are you, what are you, and how are you” rules, businesses can add a next-level nuance to data security. A caveat here is that data migration across the organization needs to be as free-flowing as possible to deliver on digital initiatives effectively, and therefore, data security needs to be addressed in a way that does not impede this flow.

The distribution of data across security architectures also makes a hacker’s job infinitely more difficult. For example, if a customer’s banking details reside in a single database, a cybercriminal would only have to breach one defense. Separating out these banking details across various databases significantly complicates the task.

The bottom line: In the effort to evolve in the digital era, businesses need to also advance their cybersecurity strategies by protecting their data, not just their perimeters.