The traditional approach to cybersecurity where IT systems are protected from criminals by a steel fortress is no longer fit for purpose. Instead, organisations seeking growth must balance risk with innovation and find an alternative way to secure their environment.
Today, hack attempts on any device connected to the internet are reported to occur at a rate of one every 39 seconds. The average total cost of a breach has increased by nearly 10 per cent from 2020 to 2021, the largest single-year cost increase in the past seven years. Although many organisations are recognising the issues with traditional security solutions and collective spending on security is set to exceed $150 billion by the end of 2021, business leaders need to take a step back and consider security holistically before investing in additional systems and approaches.
A key flaw in the traditional approach to threat detection and response is that businesses often deploy point solutions to protect against specific security threats. This layered approach leads to far too much “noise,” overwhelming teams with alerts and information that they can’t react quickly to. A recent Gartner report revealed that 60 per cent of digital businesses could suffer major losses due to the inability of security teams to fully manage digital risks.
With increased remote working and larger attack surfaces cyber professionals are stretched. Vulnerabilities are compounded by the cyber-skills shortage and security professionals lacking visibility due to traditional methods. By focusing on policing the perimeter, it becomes easy to miss significant incidents and events on internal networks. Given this, it’s no surprise that IBM has reported that security effectiveness has in fact declined by 13 per cent. Instead, businesses should look to holistic, future-facing security approaches that embed security into the digital fabric of the business itself rather than fencing off operations.
To compete in today’s marketplace, businesses need to be agile and adapt to opportunities in real time. It’s no longer enough to just protect infrastructure, instead we need to be focused on protecting the applications and data inside of them. Businesses need an approach with the capacity to powerfully monitor and maintain the entire domain, surfacing threats before they become an issue and offer immediate telemetry.
An integrated solution that embeds security into every element of the business offers several key benefits. It enables digital agility by bringing a business context to the security environment and removes siloes to help businesses gain insights, spot opportunities and take risks securely. Furthermore, it empowers organisations to develop solutions for innovation and growth, and it permeates the digital ecosystem to combine flexibility with impenetrability.
Businesses can further unlock the value of strong security and use it as a business enabler by integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning into their approach. Taking burden away from IT teams, it can help to quickly sift through enormous volumes of data to flag threats and, with time, begin to predict and prevent them.
By taking a modern, holistic approach with security enmeshed in every element, businesses can strike the balance between cyber resilience, business objectives and strategy alignment, all whilst protecting key assets.
To turn cybersecurity from a barrier to an enabler, businesses need to move away from traditional, legacy security approaches that no longer serve modern business practices. By entwining a modern security approach into their digital fabric, organisations can move away from rigid processes and be empowered to leverage emerging opportunities, secure in the knowledge that all activities will be protected.
In turn, security can help to unleash trapped value in a business from helping to drive innovation through internet of things solutions with a secure and trusted network to unlock insights that will continuously improve security decisions. By investing for agility with proper security built into every element of operations, businesses will start benefitting from a manageable, adaptable, resilient, and responsive approach designed for long-term growth and success.
Mick McNeil is vice president of business development, and leads the Microsoft business unit at Logicalis
This article was originally published in the Winter 21/22 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.