How cybersecurity accelerates business growth
By Peter Bello
It’s no secret that the cybersecurity industry has grown exponentially over more than a decade due to the proliferation of high-profile cybercrime. Viewing cybersecurity as simply a necessary step to mitigate cyber risk leaves much opportunity on the table. Organizational leaders need to see cybersecurity as a business enabler that can accelerate growth.
Companies that view cybersecurity with the myopic lens of being a necessary overhead cost to protect data are losing out on opportunities to innovate and grow. In this age of continued digital disruption, companies that embrace cybersecurity to protect critical assets, empower mobile employees, modernize their IT infrastructure and streamline compliance will far outpace their competitors who view cybersecurity as just a means to protect data.
Protecting critical assets
In a digital-centric world, it’s more important than ever to protect critical assets. It’s typically the reason companies and government agencies devote resources to cybersecurity. Everything from user and device certificate provisioning, mobile device management, multi-factor authentication (MFA), role-based access control, privileged account management, single sign-on (SSO), enterprise and cloud identity management come into play.
Issuing strong identities to users and non-person entities while protecting your data at rest and in transit are critical to a strong cybersecurity posture. Whether it is in-house or cloud based, utilizing a public key infrastructure (PKI) with sound policies and practices will help institutions accomplish this. While this is one of the key elements when focusing on cybersecurity, it’s not the only element.
Empowering mobile employees
Simply focusing on security for PCs is outdated in the world of increased mobility. The mobile workforce is the new norm, enabling higher levels of productivity while geographically expanding your workforce— which is essential for innovation and growth.
To empower their mobile workforce, organizations face new challenges such as properly vetting mobile users, deploying digital certificates to these users, and implementing the right mobile security technologies, tools and policies.
Innovation requires flexibility, flexibility requires mobility, and having strong cybersecurity behind your mobile infrastructure is key to averting risk while enabling and accelerating growth.
Modernizing IT infrastructure
Increasingly, companies are migrating to the cloud to support enterprise and mobile workers and to enable stronger and seamless collaboration. Compared to on-premises solutions, hosted cloud environments offer significant advantages for employee collaboration and access to data from any location, which in turn, helps organizations innovate and grow.
Migrating to the cloud can also bring significant savings as organizations don’t have to maintain and continually modernize the IT infrastructure required for an on-premises environment.
Yet cloud migrations are fraught with cybersecurity challenges — data breaches, denial of service, insecure external applications, management of remote identities, etc. — that can hinder adoption and deployment. To be able to leverage the cloud to innovate and grow, organizations need expert internal or external resources to properly plan, design, architect, and implement strong cloud computing environments and supporting policies.
Complying with government and data privacy regulations is daunting, and the result usually ends up inhibiting business growth and expansion in an effort to avoid risk. Especially if there isn’t an internal cybersecurity expert to mitigate this risk and unblock the path to growth and expansion.
This can all be done while maintaining a strong security posture. It’s also hard to keep up with the evolving threats and protective standards and what they mean. For strong NIST approved encryption for resource protection, FIPS 140-3 changes are already established and underway. Next up, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and having the ability to properly identify the Things as either valid or a potential threat will bring heightened concerns.
In this ever-changing environment, it’s more important than ever to deftly navigate and streamline the compliance landscape so companies can focus on growth by innovating new offerings and extending business reach. However, developing an effective plan and deploying the right security technologies add layers of complexity. Successful organizations will need to conduct risk analysis, develop policies and procedures, select the right security technology, deploy a cloud, on-premises, virtual appliance or hybrid solution and test solutions to ensure compliance.
See cybersecurity with a new lens
Cybersecurity and innovation are inextricably linked, yet many haven’t made the correlation. To compile information for its 2019 Strategic Roadmap for Networking report, Gartner asked IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders about their most important goals for their organizations. Innovation wasn’t the first priority for any of the survey respondents and it was only ranked second or third in importance by 19 percent of those surveyed. Not surprising, improving network quality and lowering costs were the top two goals.
This aligns with a recent Cisco survey, “Cybersecurity as a Growth Advantage: Key Insights.” In that survey, 71% of C-suite company leaders agreed that cybersecurity risks impeded innovation in their organizations. Just as concerning, 39% of the leaders reported shelving mission-critical initiatives due to cybersecurity concerns.
Currently, the negatives associated with cybersecurity are typically where conversations start — the critical need to protect data and the overhead costs required. But the conversations shouldn’t end there. Cybersecurity is also a powerful business enabler that can accelerate growth at a time of intense competition and digital disruption.