Cybersecurity is an Afterthought to Digital Transformation Activity, Study Shows

July 19, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
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Vast majority of respondents in new survey say companies are investing in mobility, cloud and IoT.

Despite all of the talk of cyber technology safeguards being built in versus bolted on, security remains an afterthought for a vast majority of digital transformation activities such as mobility, cloud services and the Internet of Things, according to a recent industry survey.

While 97 percent of the global respondents are investing in technologies to enhance the digital transformation (DT) for their companies, only 18 percent said security is involved in all of their organizations' DT efforts from the onset. That is because security is viewed as slowing down the business rather than enabling it. Half of the 631 information technology professionals responsible for security noted that security has a reputation of blocking projects, according to the survey conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Dell. The survey, released today, sought to capture data on experiences with and attitudes toward the impact of digital transformation on IT security.

“Some of the interesting takeaways are that many IT executives feel as though security has been added on to a project later and it's causing a lot of risk by doing that,” says Andy Vallila, general manager for Dell Security's business in the Americas. “If it were included and considered as a foundational building block, it could add more value and provide a greater level of threat protection.”

Security solutions must share intelligence among three susceptible threat vectors: The network, individuals’ identity credentials and the devices employees use to access the network, he says. “Those three today, based on how vendors deliver technology, … are three different things in most projects. The security for each of those three areas that require protection is perhaps dealt with by three different vendors, with three different approaches—and that creates risk.”

Of the respondents, 89 percent said their industry was in the middle of a DT, with 56 percent stating that more than half of their new technology initiatives are DT technologies. Yet few fail to realize the full extent of the transformation. The result was not surprising, Vallila says.

“When you think about digital transformation, and you think about initiatives that deal with device management, cloud computing, social networking, what we’re seeing in the business is internal IT is no longer the sole determiner of the direction the company is taking,” he explains. “The business is now going outside of internal IT to investigate options and potentially undertake projects for digital transformation. That is why a lot of survey respondents weren’t fully aware of every digital transformation project in their own organization and why their concern about an important foundational point like security is being considered too late in the process.”

The respondents worked at companies with more than 1,000 employees and the online survey was offered in English, German and French.

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