By Julia Wiltshire, Senior Marketing Manager at Imperva 

From appearing on IT budget sheets to being discussed in every board meeting, digital transformation is crossing the minds of the majority at enterprise-level organisations. While most have become familiar with the term digital transformation, its definition has become ambiguous, varying from person to person. Digital transformation refers to how organisations re-examine optimising people performance, processes, and evolving technology strategies that enable digital innovation.

Transforming financial services

Julia Wiltshire
Julia Wiltshire

The financial sector has changed significantly. The lines between financial and technology services are blurring together and these distinctive sectors are now colliding. The emergence of neobanks has redefined customer expectations and revolutionised the way people manage their money in today’s society. At the same time, as the amount of data being collected continues to grow, coupled with strict and complex regulations being enforced, the industry must turn towards the latest technological solutions.

 In most financial services industry (FSI) organisations, digital transformation initiatives not only drive new digital innovations in technology, they also expose new privacy and security considerations. Financial organisations are amongst one of the most targeted industries for cyber-attacks. As such, these financial must look for solutions that enable them to strike a balance between digital transformation and securing the organisation’s most valuable asset: data.

These financial organisations want to provide a seamless user experience to customers as they access the websites, mobile and web applications, and the content they need, to conduct business. Meanwhile, organisations must take steps to secure the data, information, and the network in order to keep adversaries at bay.

Much more than moving to the cloud

As part of an organisations’ digital transformation initiatives, they often turn to cloud migration. According to Forrester, nearly three-quarters of businesses are running a hybrid and/or multi-cloud strategy today. To make cloud transformations as efficient and successful as possible, it is vital these organisations ensure these processes remain secure and compliant throughout.

Today, innovation means much more than just moving technologies to the cloud. The innovation comes from enabling technologies that ensure users have exceptional digital experiences and access to data, while also mitigating risks with data security, security analytics, and insights.

Driving the C-Suite towards cybersecurity strategy and investment

According to a study released by the official registry for UK domain names, Nominet,“Life Inside the Perimeter: Understanding the Modern CISO,” approximately 75 percent of the US and UK-based CISOs surveyed said that their boards and executive management do not have an understanding of the nuances and implications of cybersecurity issues.

Empowering the C-suite with proactive, actionable insights can help them understand the marriage between digital transformation and cybersecurity. With increasingly sophisticated threats, the proliferation of technology platforms and devices, and a consumer base that demands a secure and seamless digital experience, the C-suite must embrace risk-based security strategies that are rooted in data, and the security investments that should be prioritised.

Securing your data

Security leaders often use the castle analogy when discussing data security. If you think of valuable, sensitive, and personal data as a castle high on a hill, the traditional approach to protecting it is to build a moat around its perimeter. But the moat alone isn’t enough, especially as apps and data move to the cloud and customers access financial services anytime, anywhere. Multiple layers of defence and contingency plans must be layered against vulnerabilities that can be exploited both inside and outside of the moat.

Unfortunately, as many FSIs deploy their digital transformation plans, security gaps remain in their defences. According to the “2019 Thales Data Threat Report,” 44 percent of respondents see data security implementation as a complex barrier on their digital transformation journey. As a result, they leave themselves open to threats.

 Looking Forward

Businesses must turn to security solutions that can protect applications regardless of where they reside, that are integrated to share important data, that can analyse complex attacks and find patterns, and that make life easier for scarce talent, such as security analysts.

It is these solutions that will provide true defence-in-depth from the edge to inside the application itself. The ideal approach is a “layered” security model where malicious actors must pass through several gates in order to execute an attack, without introducing latency or jeopardising essential business processes.

Knowing that folding security into digital transformation initiatives can be complex and overwhelming, but there are solutions to help ease the burden. Whether it’s application or data security, it’s vital your digital transformation processes are secure, without disrupting user experience, innovation or growth.