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The Critical Role of Cybersecurity in the Digital Transformation

Cybersecurity and privacy should be priorities for every company when pursuing a digital transformation to maintain security and privacy in the modern digital marketplace.

As DevOps teams develop software solutions and reorganize operations", the focus is often on speed, automation, and business optimization. Security and regulatory compliance can be overlooked as overhead costs when those initiatives are in fact critical, fundamental necessities.

That kind of oversight -- both in practice and in process -- can be costly.

A Costly Oversight with Serious Implications

As far back as 2012, then FBI Director Robert Mueller commented on our vulnerability to cyberattacks, saying that there “are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”

While that statement was made nearly a decade ago, it’s meaning hasn’t lost any of it’s value. Development teams that don’t take seriously the place of security in their systems are at risk.

Today, cyberattacks lead to tangible, costly disruptions in our everyday lives.

On May 7, hackers conducted a ransomware cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, shutting down computerized equipment that managed the pipeline and halting the delivery of 45% of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel consumed on the East Coast. The pipeline resumed delivery on May 12.

JBS Holdings, the world’s largest meat company in terms of sales, experienced widespread service interruptions after a ransomware attack halted production at the end of May 2021.

In both cases, the attacks led to panic buying, widespread uncertainty and increased prices for the public. The companies paid a high price as well. Colonial Pipeline paid a $4.4 million ransom to bring operations back online. JBS paid $11 million to cyber attackers, something CEO Andre Nogueira referred to as a "very difficult decision to make."

"However, we felt this decision had to be made to prevent any potential risk for our customers,” Nogueria told NPR.

In late Sept. 2020, a cybersecurity intrusion shutdown the computer network of Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 250 hospitals and other clinical facilities in the U.S. This event hit the healthcare system during the weekend and left nurses and doctors using pens and paper to get by.

In the same month, a cybersecurity attack caused the IT network to fail at a German hospital and a woman who needed urgent admission died after she had to be taken to another city for treatment. It’s speculatively the first known death from ransomware.

In December 2018, the International Telecommunications Union estimated about 3.9 billion people or 51.2 percent of the world’s population have become internet users. That fact reveals just about every individual in the world who can afford electronic devices are using web-based services.

And the security of those services isn’t always certain.

Understanding these cultural shifts helps companies meet growing demands. However, as internet usage grows so do risks.

An Increased Importance of Cybersecurity

Internet usage is ever increasing. Innovations that make life easier are connecting us to a quickly growing number of networks with questionable security.

To this end, cybersecurity measures should be seen as an imperative for corporate responsibility.

Infrastructure costs to achieve specific goals should include cybersecurity solutions and regulatory compliance at the onset of any digital transformation project.

That’s accomplished by bringing together security, development, and operations under a DevSecOps team to ensure all aspects of the transformation are managed. Once the correct strategy is assembled, it will have assessed security vulnerabilities and prioritize an organization’s critical processes and systems.

Once vulnerabilities are identified, the DevSecOps team can then determine the solutions and organizational changes required for the digital transformation. Please keep in mind, the best practices and methods for these kinds of projects must respect user experience, performance, and agile software development.

Achieving this kind of cohesion, collaboration, and fluidity is no small feat. That’s why most companies seek out partners to assist with the process.

While implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity solution is not an easy process, the greater ROI generated from the transformation is safeguarded.

Cybersecurity: Not a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy

Unfortunately, there are no comprehensive off the shelf cybersecurity tools.

Every company requires a custom solution based on industry space, ecommerce platforms, records storage, and other considerations.

For example, a health-related company might need to consider HIPAA laws. An accounting firm must navigate specific tax laws. Energy utilities are overwhelmed with consumer and environmental concerns.

Although many companies rely on internal departments to take on cybersecurity challenges, keeping up with new solutions and laws can prove daunting to even the most knowledgeable professionals.

This post originally appeared this blog where we cover devops consulting services.

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