From physical to cloud-based security: how digital transformation changes the risks your business faces

June 27, 2024 Chris Alberding 3 min
Digital transformation has had a staggering effect on business growth and innovation. But with new technologies come new threats and a need to balance digital solutions with digital security.

Digital transformation has had a staggering effect on business growth and innovation. But with new technologies come new threats and a need to balance digital solutions with digital security.

Approximately 89% of large companies globally have a digital and AI transformation underway, and those who are already progressing in this evolution consistently outperform digital “laggards.” But what does this mean for your company?

Digital transformation is the process by which corporations seek to utilize new and emerging technologies to provide a better customer experience, reduce costs and increase revenue.

But this is nothing new. Digital transformation in the workplace began in the ’50s when the microchip and semiconductor transistor allowed for a shift from analog to digital computing. Adoption and integration of digital technologies in business, however, didn’t truly take hold until the 70s, with the first data entry jobs popping up as companies started to move on from physical record keeping.

Today, the ongoing evolution of physical to digital technologies also means a shift from physical to digital security. In fact, 82% of IT security and C-suite executives believe that digital transformation initiatives contributed to at least one business data breach — security cameras and key fobs just aren’t enough anymore.

Here’s how digital transformation may affect your risk of cyberthreats:

Smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT)

From smartphones to printers, we’ve seen a big shift to devices connected to each other — and the Internet — over the last 20 years. Automation, ease of connection and near-limitless capacity and application have allowed companies to increase productivity exponentially, but the Internet of Things (IoT) has created some new challenges as well.

As “mini-computers” with serious hacking potential, those same smart devices represent real threats. Every device connected to a network is a potential weak link, and smartphones themselves can be used to deliver malicious payloads.

Additionally, remote work often requires employees to connect their business devices to home networks. So organizations need additional layers of security on both ends to protect company data, as well as the end-users and their devices.

From on-premises to cloud computing

Previously, most companies stored data on secure servers in their own data centers. Now, data migration to the cloud is becoming the norm, thanks to the many benefits it delivers. Smart devices allow users to access apps, accounts and data wherever they go.

This ease of access is unarguably convenient and allows for increased flexibility, but the challenges presented can be daunting. Unless your company invests in setting up its own cloud servers, trusting third parties with your data protection and accessibility is unavoidable. While it may be easy to take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach, this amazingly convenient technology still needs active protection.

Companies need to ensure unified security across all users, locations and devices. Multi-point solutions provide cost-effective answers to individual problems but are unlikely to be useful for new issues that arise over time. The other option is a single platform with a user portal, which is more complex and can handle a multitude of issues but at a greater cost, both financially and in setup.

The rise of AI

Artificial intelligence is everywhere, both as a stand-alone service and embedded in the tools we use every day. It’s helping businesses reduce human error, more effectively implement automation and improve overall efficiency.

But, while AI may be useful and convenient, it’s clearly changing the threat landscape. When it comes to the creation of new programs and software, AI usage leads to code vulnerabilities, which can be devastating if not caught before production.

Criminals even utilize the dark potential of AI to create realistic malware and phishing attacks, resulting in data breaches and exposure.

Securing your digital transformation

Smart devices, AI and connectivity software and services are all amazing tools for digital transformation. But it is crucial that you protect any newly adopted tech by implementing the right security measures.

These can include Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which provides security controls as a cloud computing service, and multi-factor authentication. You should also ensure that your security teams are performing both regular risk assessments and active threat monitoring.

Cybersecurity teams are lean, and it can be hard to know where to start securing your digital technologies. But a trusted partner like Windstream can help guide you toward the solutions that will be most impactful — and cost-effective.

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Key Takeaway
Digital transformation helps businesses scale quickly. But while new technologies like smart devices and IoT, cloud computing and AI have amazing potential, they have shifted the threat landscape into digital gear. Secure your transformation by working with experts like Windstream.

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