Digital transformation: Engage cybersecurity experts before ramping up

By Wong Joon Hoong


THE adoption of digital transformation in Malaysia accelerated dramatically in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but we still have a long journey ahead of us. In fact, forecasters predict that Malaysia’s digital economy will to grow from last year’s RM31 bil to RM222 bil by 2030.

As organisations continue to expand their digital footprint with greater use of public cloud infrastructure, so too comes new cybersecurity risks and threats.

Remote workforce opens up vulnerability

The current decentralised workforce across different industries also posed a challenge to cybersecurity. Our latest Sophos Threat Report 2021 suggests that IT departments would face security challenges in view of the widely varying levels of security caused by work from home arrangements.

Wong Joon Hoong

Moreover, remote desktop tools and VPN networks continues to be a focal point for cybercriminal – making it more difficult for organisations to safely protect their data while operating on a remote workforce.

With a whopping 82.5% increment in cybersecurity incidents last year, the dramatic increase in cybersecurity incidents serves as a timely reminder that organisations of all sizes across industries must integrate cybersecurity measures into all their business procedures and processes along their digital transformation journeys.

Any cybersecurity incidents will have more than financial implications with the reputation of the business seriously impacted making winning back customers’ trust a challenging task.

Moving to cloud is great, but can be dangerous if not careful

Digital transformation projects such as hybrid cloud and virtualisation, customer experience and analytics, digital infrastructure projects that use a combination of data and analytics, and creating tomorrow’s workplaces, are expensive and multifaceted. 

To enable this digital transformation, security teams must support teams with a “shift left” approach to integrate security and compliance best practice checks early in the development pipeline.

And, if well managed, these projects play a key role in developing a resilient business – one that can swiftly respond to attacks and protect its assets from cyberthreats. This means embedding cybersecurity right from the beginning.

IT team to drive transformation     

Unfortunately, cybersecurity professionals often aren’t consulted when critical decisions are being made regarding a business’ digital transformation journey.

Not having the consultation of these security professionals results in organisations leaving their businesses vulnerable to business-critical risks that could damage the brand.

This in turn creates new challenges for the business and if cybersecurity solutions aren’t embedded early on opens the door to cybercriminals. Thus, it is imperative that organisations make cybersecurity the starting point, and not an afterthought.

An overview of today’s digitised landscape shows that cyber-attacks are on the rise and getting increasingly more sophisticated and damaging.

Therefore, integrating cybersecurity into an organisation’s digital transformation journey is a critical competitive advantage, one that should cut across technologies to be embedded in organisational culture.

It is essential for organisations to understand the fact that no digital transformation project should commence without considering its cybersecurity repercussions. – April 20, 2021


Wong Joon Hoong is the Country Manager of Sophos Malaysia.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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