Protecting your data during digital transformation

These six steps can help protect your organization’s assets, data and reputation

by AT&T Business Editorial Team

Digitization is rapidly transforming business by creating greater agility, improved efficiencies and ever-more opportunities. Wanting to harness these benefits, small to large organizations are taking advantage of the cloud and software defined networks in ways that are revolutionizing their business and processes.

Yet, without an edge-to-edge risk management strategy guiding the evolution, an organization could end up increasing its cybersecurity exposure.

Companies can act proactively to avoid becoming a cybercrime statistic. By updating their cybersecurity strategies, they can help to reduce their opportunities for cyberattacks as they move forward with their digital transformation.

Organizations, though, may be unsure where to begin, given that the move to a software defined infrastructure is veering into uncharted waters for many of them.

Which departments should they include in the process? Should outside experts be a part of the mix? How can the organization’s assets be protected throughout the transformation and beyond?

These questions and more were tackled in AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Vol. 7: Cybersecurity for today’s digital world, where six defined steps were outlined:

1. Get buy-in

The C-Suite is key to driving your strategy; get them on board early through narratives showing the benefits inherent in digital transformation.

In addition, all employees and consultants should be involved in risk management duties. Without everyone’s adherence, the strategy is doomed to failure.

2. Identify your valuable assets

You can’t confidently know where your most important assets reside without a data and vulnerability assessment. Only after you have determined the value of your data and other assets can you prioritize cybersecurity procedures, knowing that you are best protecting the organization.

3. Avoid confusion

All company assets—traditional and virtual—should be tagged similarly in your asset portfolio.

For example, a virtual machine should be linked to its business unit and cloud provider. This process helps reduce chances for cognitive dissonance when managing your digital transition.

4. Test. Then test again

To avoid problems that could affect your core business, your transition should be rolled out gradually.

Start with a section that doesn’t involve a customer-facing department and follow up with a poll to determine what does and doesn’t work. Once you are ready for a full transition, you should have many of the main issues worked out.

5. Not one and done

Your transition to a software defined infrastructure must be part of an ongoing cybersecurity strategy.

Risk mitigation evaluations should be held quarterly, with reports outlining the good, the bad and the ugly for the C-Suite. This process will help to strengthen the board’s continued financial support of the cybersecuity strategy by showing how the organization’s valuable data is protected.

6. Rely on outside expertise

An organization’s IT team can’t be expected to have an in-depth understanding of how best to transition to the cloud and software defined networks.

Outside cybersecurity providers and consultants can bring their extensive experience and knowledge of how best to go virtual based on your specific industry, security and governance profiles. Even when the transition is complete, consultants can help with upgrades that may be needed in the evolving threat landscape.

A cybersecure future

Transforming to a digital business model requires a thorough understanding of its possible effects on your cybersecurity environment. Only by implementing a carefully planned, multi-layered approach can your organization take full advantage of the digital world’s growing opportunities, knowing that you have a framework for highly securing your data in place.

To learn more about how you can help secure your business, view our latest cybersecurity report.