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Digital transformation, or the process of integrating technology across your business, can offer a number of critical advantages to productivity, efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction. As you integrate digital technology into your business, however, it can expose vulnerabilities that cyber threat actors might exploit. Your business may face a number of potential threats during that process, including potential third-party risk, the risk of phishing attacks, and more. Working with an experienced cyber security and digital transformation consultant throughout the digital transformation process can help ensure that you protect your business during this essential transformation and accelerate your digital transformation.

What type of risks is my business vulnerable to when undergoing a digital transformation?

The digital transformation process can, in some cases, open your business up to unexpected threats. As you update and manage your technology, you may naturally uncover some of those vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, if you are not prepared for those possibilities, you may uncover them as a malicious threat finds its way into your system.

1. Outdated or misconfigured systems

Outdated, misconfigured systems can be a substantial risk to your overall cyber security. When software is first released, malicious individuals may attempt to breach that software by looking for potential exploits. Most of the time, software developers will patch those problems in updates, often starting soon after the initial release. If your system is not configured properly or it is out of date, however, you may not have those essential updates, which means your system may have open vulnerabilities that attackers can quickly take advantage of.

Furthermore, outdated systems may not have the same security protections in place that you can expect from new software solutions. An outdated system may not, for example, meet the latest cyber security standards, or may not have the tools in place to withstand modern threats. As a result, it can prove incredibly difficult to protect that system.

2. Phishing attacks

During periods of digital transformation, especially if that transformation is made public, your vulnerability to phishing attacks may increase. Phishing has increased substantially in recent years, including mobile phishing attacks targeted toward employees.

A phishing attack occurs when someone claiming to be from a reputable source contacts your organisation and attempts to solicit information from its employees. Phishing can include phone scams, email scams, and even text-related scams. Your employees may assume that the request comes from someone legitimate within the organisation, including, for example, an employee of one of your new providers. Scammers may take advantage of the lack of knowledge that often comes along with new digital tools to attempt to exploit your system.

3. Insider Threats

During periods of digital transformation, the risk of insider threats may rise. An insider threat occurs when someone on the inside of your organisation, usually an employee, uses their access to cause damage to the system. Insider threats can fall into three potential categories.

  • Malicious threats. Malicious threats are deliberate attacks against the organisation. Someone in a position of trust within the organisation could use that period of transformation and change to access more information or to install malicious software in the system.

  • Accidental threats. In some cases, an insider may commit an act of negligence that results in the release of sensitive information: for example, accidentally clicking on a link that could pose a danger to the organisation.

  • Negligent threats occur when insiders are careless with their overall security and commit an error that leads to damage to the organisation.

Insider threats can be particularly problematic because when employees are negligent or cause an accidental breach, they may attempt to cover up their involvement, which means it can take longer for the organisation to respond.

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What does a secure digital transformation strategy looks like?

While there are a number of potential challenges that can go along with the digital transformation process, your organisation can remain secure and protect itself throughout the process. Follow these tips to increase your odds of creating a secure digital transformation strategy.

1. Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment.

Start by assessing your potential risks during the digital transformation process. Make sure you know what those possible threats look like so that you can set yourself up for success and increase your odds of keeping your business safe throughout this process. Working with an experienced consultant can offer a number of advantages as you conduct your risk assessment, since a consultant will have a better idea of what vulnerabilities your legacy systems may already have and how you can best protect yourself throughout this complicated process.

When you know what your potential vulnerabilities are, you are in a better position to protect them as you move through the digital transformation process.

2. Create a plan for regularly updating your software and installing security patches.

Regular software updates are a critical part of your organisation's cyber security defense system. If you allow too much time to pass between updates, you may end up missing essential patches that could help protect your organisation. Make sure that your IT team sets regular times for installing those patches and that they make it a priority. Employees should also be instructed to take care of updates as needed, rather than putting them off. You may want to handle updates as soon as they come in or, depending on your business, you may want to create a set period of time each week or each month during which you will take care of installing all security patches or updates.

Have your IT team pay attention to those updates as they come through, too. An urgent update may require a change to your schedule, even if you usually take care of updates at a specific time.

3. Institute employee cyber security training.

Your employees are one of the first lines of defense for your organisation's cyber security. They are, unfortunately, also one of its most vulnerable points. Make sure that you have extensive cyber security training, particularly if you are instituting new digital tools for your organisation. Employees need to know more than just basic password security. They also need to know things like:

  • How to spot phishing emails and calls, and how to respond if they are faced with one of those common threats. Phishing is a common tactic used by many people with malicious intent, and knowing how to respond is critical.
  • What to do about potential software updates.
  • What items are allowed to be connected to the company network. Hint: you may want to have a separate employee network for personal devices to help limit the number of potential vulnerabilities introduced to the system.
  • The method for contacting the IT team with any questions or problems.
  • How to report an incident. In many cases, employees will delay reporting when they think that they may have committed an error or when they do not know how to handle the incident.

When employees have the comprehensive training they need to help protect the organisation, they are in a better position to help you avoid threats and, as a result, you may find that you face fewer overall challenges.

4. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan.

As you take a look at the potential vulnerabilities your organisation may face during its digital transformation, take the time to create an incident response plan. An incident response plan lays out how you will respond to a threat or potential threat to the organisation. It might include things like:

  • Who is responsible for taking care of basic tasks during a cyber attack.
  • What tasks need to be taken care of during an attack. For example, during a ransomware attack, do you need to isolate the infected system or device? How will you ensure that it is removed from the network?
  • How you will handle informing employees, vendors, and customers about a potential attack.
  • What steps you may want to take to protect your customers following a potential breach.

A comprehensive incident response plan can go a long way toward helping to streamline your response in the event of a cyber security incident, which may mean less downtime, data loss, and other problems.

5. Make sure you have a solid security program in place.

Having the right security program can go a long way toward ensuring that your business is protected. Work with an expert to select the right security program for your business's ongoing needs.

Mitigate cybersecurity risks and drive your business' digital transformation forward with Canon Business Services ANZ

Digital transformation is an incredibly important time for your business, but it can also be a time with unexpected vulnerabilities. By identifying those potential vulnerabilities within your business, you will find that you are better prepared to deal with potential threats, protect your business, and step into the digital age with confidence.

Speak to an expert at Canon Business Services ANZ today to learn more about the protection we can provide during your digital transformation.

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