More success for lower costs

Too good to be true?

The ambitious IT security officer is caught among hugely conflicting priorities. On the one hand, they should ensure that all business processes and software used meet the latest security standards. On the other, however, it is expected that employees should learn safety-conscious behaviours, always be prudent and not make mistakes. In addition, management and sales personnel want to be able to try out new ideas as quickly as possible with “real” customers. They want to achieve additional business, digital proximity and greater loyalty from existing customers.

In addition, there are various regulatory guidelines, industry-specific compliance requirements and new market needs, which can sometimes be subject to draconian penalties; for example, up to four percent of sales in the case of the GDPR. A complex variety of challenges, and a big and seemingly impossible task for the IT security officer. The effects of the advancing digital transformation are felt not only in the IT and business sectors, but also in the IT security sector. In order to be successful today, management and communication skills, as well as willingness to cooperate and entrepreneurial thinking, are just as essential for security managers as is expertise in the area of IT security.

Digitisation project with a sense of proportion and customer orientation

Imagine a company, for example an insurance company, that wants to set itself apart from the competition by means of digital innovations. A new digitisation initiative is launched with the aim of attracting new customers. All parties are anxious to fulfil the common goal: be on time and on budget. All project staff work in an agile manner, and a minimum viable product (MVP) is created within a short time, which is visually quickly convincing and inspires management through the early use of user experience (UX) design.

Technical questions regarding modularisation, performance and future extensibility, or even the potential integration of third-party services, are overlooked or intentionally ignored. While anticipation and euphoria about the rapid innovation abound in many places, IT security puts the brake on and complains that this MVP can in no way go live like this.

Why the scepticism? Critical industry standards were not met, there is no possibility of auditing and user identity management was left out – to say nothing of rigorous user authentication. Numerous unforeseen risks are lurking in the background.

Goals of IT security collide with higher-level business interests

The objectives of IT security stipulate that business-relevant processes should, without exception, fulfil all the relevant security requirements: be it a bank, an insurance company, an authority or an industrial group. The business side does not want to hear about inadequate security, a slowdown or even an increase in the cost of projects. The goal is to impress customers in the shortest possible time.

The demands are rising steadily. There are few architectures and solutions that meet the highest security requirements, that can be operated in a flexible and multifunctional manner, and that enable companies to quickly implement new ideas and initiatives. Many pure security solutions are solely a kind of protection system. Additional budget requests for retrospective security measures are undesirable and problematic. However, if you find a solution that brings with it measurable additional benefits, security can turn from a burden into an accelerator of digital opportunities.

Anyone digitising without IT security risks image, sales and the future of the company

Careless behaviour can have negative consequences. High costs may be incurred, for example, for paying fines or lawyer's fees, through regulatory sanctions, data recovery, disruption of operations, loss of confidential data or even cyber blackmail. Most serious, however, are the costs of a damaged reputation and the associated financial consequences. In addition to their innovation agenda, businesses should, therefore, also place crucial importance on protecting the privacy and integrity of their customers, partners, suppliers and their own employees. In short, a significant security incident can drive a company into insolvency.

Defence is not everything

IT security measures alone are not enough to fend off web attacks. In addition to the challenge of having to instantly recognise attacks in order to respond adequately, nowadays multifunctional tools are also required.

The right tool against cybercrime can be both a protection and an aid simultaneously. On the one hand, it serves as a defence and, on the other, as a valuable tool for facilitating new initiatives. Thus, modern security architectures provide lasting added value for the business, as well as compliance with the security guidelines.

Reach new heights in style

In order to keep pace with the growth of new web technologies, and at the same time not be slowed down by legacy systems, IT professionals make do with a consolidated view of relevant questions:

 

  • What can I contribute to support business initiatives?
     
  • How can I support the business as a consultant in order to implement safety measures early on?
     
  • How do I reduce the risk to the company that internal users can consciously or unconsciously present?
     
  • Is there a sustainable security architecture that allows us to respond quickly to new business demands without affecting our own processes or security policies?
     
  • How does my application landscape remain agile, or do I have to start an analysis project with every new requirement, checking whether the business logic is affected and resulting in high complexity, effort and risks?
     
  • Which tools can I provide for my team in order to be able to adequately respond to such questions and the legitimate wishes of the business?
     
  • How does the onboarding of a new customer succeed using a low-threshold and simple user experience?

The business logic or the target applications must be secured, and central and secure user management and authentication must be reliably guaranteed. Moreover, this is required across all existing and future services that are necessary for achieving business goals.

It is right to consider IT security as a relevant business risk. Foregoing experiments or relying on principles of hope through the use of isolated solutions because of this risk, however, is not a sustainable option.  It is better to gain a competitive advantage by means of long-term, resilient IT security solutions: after all, the pressure for even greater digitisation and for being ever faster and more flexible will not abate in the future either. Solutions must withstand the conflict of priorities of business agility, IT security and compliance. Today and tomorrow.

 

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