Protecting the enterprise with cybersecure IT architecture

As digitization creates new cyberthreats, businesses should make security an integrated part of their IT infrastructure.

Digitization of data, products, and processes is an increasingly important driver of economic growth, but it also creates a host of cybersecurity challenges and vulnerabilities. The push toward greater multichannel integration, for instance, adds significantly to the customer experience but introduces many more interfaces that intruders can exploit. Likewise, companies’ closer colla­b­oration with business partners, customers, advisers, and other third parties can enrich everything from product development to recruiting but can also result in more complex, conjoined supply chains and information flows. Hybrid delivery models, in which some business services and processes are moved to the cloud and managed by external providers, extend the security perimeter and add to the sweep of activities that companies must monitor to detect attacks on their environments.

Not only does digitization introduce more openings for hackers and others to exploit, but it also increases the value of an organization’s data assets. Within the banking sector, for instance, the use of big data and analytics may greatly increase a bank’s ability to target and serve high-value clients with specific cross-selling offers. The value of the data rises as customer information is aggregated and cross-referenced—allowing companies to track names, demographics, and purchase histories (with due regard for customer privacy)—but so does the attendant risk. A breach can expose the bank and its clients to severe financial and reputational harm.

IT organizations should help the business take advantage of robust analytics capabilities while also ensuring that the information and application architecture adequately protects sensitive data. The trouble is, they’re in a race against time. A joint study by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum in 2014 revealed that 71 percent of global banking IT executives believe that attackers will continue to move faster than banks in modifying their skill sets and spotting potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, 80 percent of respondents believe that the risk of cyberattacks and compromised data will have major strategic implications for their businesses over the next five years.

To stay ahead of attackers, companies need to design processes, platforms, and IT infrastructures with security in mind and incorporate secure architecture principles into their security programs. Read more here…

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