Digital transformation is driving companies to process more and more data. Data is a source of information about customers, products, services, and markets. It helps to better understand customers’ needs and competitors’ moves, as well as create effective marketing and sales strategies. However, the security of data that digital businesses rely on raises serious concerns. A report prepared in 2020 by Cybersecurity Ventures forecasts that the global cost of cybercrime will grow by 15% annually, reaching $10.5 trillion in 2025.
Balancing digital transformation with data security – table of contents:
Cyber attacks, data leaks, and privacy breaches. These are just a few examples on top of the list of cybersecurity threats that organizations may face. If your company is developing as a digital business, you need to be aware of the potential risks and implement appropriate security measures to protect your data and reputation.
Digital transformations vs. data security
Digital businesses are especially vulnerable to such attacks. That’s because cybercriminals expect to find much more valuable loot in business databases than in the case of personal attacks. For example, in 2020, the number of ransomware attacks – that is, with software that encrypts data on a device and sends a ransom demand – increased by 150% when compared to 2019. The average ransom amount went up by 171%. The most common threats to digital business are:
- Spam. Budding entrepreneurs who are building their online visibility may be getting massive amounts of junk email daily. That’s why it’s a good idea to get equipped with cloud-based spam filters, such as Microsoft Defender for Office 365 or SpamTitan Email Security.
- Malware.These are all sorts of programs that try to make unauthorized changes to devices, meddle with data, or transmit it illegally. Business owners should remember to install antivirus software to protect the entire system and update it regularly.
- Phishing. It is about trying to steal user credentials. Cybercriminals pretend to be banks or other online services to obtain sensitive data. The easiest way to defend yourself is to be cautious and avoid links sent from unknown sources.
- Pharming. It works differently from phishing and involves taking a user directly to a fake website, which often looks exactly like the website of a bank or other trusted service. Pharming software typically tries to take control of the address bar in your browser. Then, even after entering the correct address, you land on a fake site. To protect yourself from pharming, it is wise to install anti-phishing software and avoid clicking on suspicious links.
- Cybersecurity gaps. Hackers may use security vulnerabilities in your operating system or email application to install malware on your device. Update your firmware and operating system regularly. Download software from official sources only to avoid the threat.
- DoS and DDoS attacks. These are attacks on websites or online businesses. A secure internet company can face a sudden, massive increase in inquiries that leads to a denial of service. To prevent DoS and DDoS attacks, it is advisable to use the services of specialized cybersecurity service providers.
- Scam. It is a creative way of phishing sensitive data. To protect yourself from scams, it’s best to stick to one rule: never share sensitive personal information with strangers.
- Rootkits. It is an extremely dangerous attack. It involves taking full control of a device connected to the Internet. To this end, cybercriminals use fake links or malicious websites that people visit when they feel safe online. To protect yourself from rootkits, it’s advisable to download software from reliable sources, stay away from suspicious sites, and regularly update your antivirus software.
Devices that are well-protected from external cyber attacks can fall prey to internal threats. Often, data is exposed by reckless employees who simply want to make their lives easier and bypass or disable security measures. Unauthorized disclosure of data by employees or any malicious activity are often overlooked in statistics. However, they have a great impact on data security. According to a report published by the Ponemon Institute in 2020, 60% of companies have experienced a threat incident from within.
Poor security policies
Data security threats during and after the digital transformation also come from improper data access management, a lack of encryption, or a lack of up-to-date antivirus software. If there is no cybersecurity manager in a company, hardly anyone feels obliged to remember about security updates and maintenance.
That’s why when planning your digital transformation, it’s a good idea to think about implementing data security strategies in your company right away. Today, more than 90% of organizations use data in their business strategy. However, a lack of well-defined procedures can lead to data security breaches. Companies should then pay attention to:
- data encryption,
- access information control,
- system audits,
- developing access control procedures,
- emergency response planning.
It is essential to ensure that such a strategy takes into account different types of risks, such as cyber attacks, insider threats, as well as natural disasters, and system failures. Training employees on data security is also very important. The entire team should be aware of the risks related to data management and know how to act in the event of a suspected security incident.
The conclusions are clear – data security is essential to a company’s success in the digital transformation process. Companies need to be aware of all the cybersecurity threats and adopt appropriate practices to protect their business information. Developing a complex security strategy, investing in employee training, and using advanced technologies are key steps that every company should take to keep its data safe.
Sticking to these practices will help businesses avoid financial and reputational harm, which is crucial to a company’s success today. Therefore, it’s useful to remember that data security is not only a technical issue, but also a business issue requiring top executives’ attention.
It’s a good idea to start the digital transformation process by creating a comprehensive security strategy that addresses all aspects of data security. It’s also smart to invest in advanced security technologies and train employees in this field. This will assure entrepreneurs that their data is safe and protected from the potential risks associated with digital transformation.
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