Can CISOs redefine themselves in digital transformation

As the pace, scale, and impact of technological innovation and disruption have exponentially escalated, technology has become a primary influence on business strategy and value-creation models. CISOs, as technology leaders, have a tremendous opportunity to be relentlessly proactive in identifying how technology can create new value for the business. There is widespread recognition among leaders in most industries that the role of digital technology is rapidly shifting, from being a driver of marginal efficiency to an enabler of fundamental innovation and disruption.

Digital is reimagining the human experience. Most companies recognise that they cannot turn a blind eye to such a powerful force shaping human behavior. What worked yesterday to attract, engage, and retain customers may be fast becoming obsolete. Digital transformation is the strategic adoption of digital technologies to improve processes and productivity, manage business risk, and improve customer service.

During the last couple of years, most enterprises have been accelerating the pace of their digital transformation, based on the adoption of leading-edge ICT technologies like cloud and edge computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things. At the same time, organisations are still suffering from security attacks, which are amongst the most critical barriers in the implementation of their digital transformation agendas.

As organisations pursue digital transformation and adopt new technologies and business processes, we can expect to see a corresponding increase in security related issues and concerns. New technologies, such as IoT and multi-cloud environments, have dramatically increased the attack surface and the number of entry-ways into a network.

In speaking with top CISO leaders in the Middle East, the following challenges seem to be top of mind for most:

  • increased surface
  • sophistication of attacks
  • skills shortage
  • government regulations
  • compliance
  • budget
  • resistance to change

As enterprises race towards digital transformation, CISOs must redefine their role in the digital business team. By enabling infrastructure agility and visibility, they can create business value and become a trusted partner. Critical skills would include: communication skills, collaboration and conflict management skills, decision making skills, planning and strategic management skills, incident management, knowledge of regulation and standards compliance, risk assessment and management.

Despite the promise of digital transformation to drive business initiatives, security concerns are a primary worry for technology executives at the helm of these projects.

Digital transformation is altering security needs in some fundamental ways. It is expanding the attack surface, increasing the potential for organisational damage and as a consequence making it imperative for organisations to take a continuous improvement approach to security. Cybersecurity defenses and processes need to be continuously monitored and evolved to adapt to the changing threat landscape.


Key takeaways

  • Despite the promise of digital transformation, security concerns are a primary worry for technology executives.
  • As enterprises race towards digital transformation, CISOs must redefine their role in the digital team.
  • By enabling infrastructure agility and visibility, CISOs can create business value and become a trusted partner.
  • New technologies have dramatically increased the attack surface and the number of entry-ways into a network.
  • Security attacks, are amongst the most critical barriers in the implementation of digital transformation agendas.
  • Technology has become a primary influence on business strategy and value-creation models.
  • CISOs have an opportunity to be proactive in identifying how technology can create new value for business.
  • The role of digital technology is rapidly shifting, from being a driver of marginal efficiency to an enabler of fundamental innovation and disruption.
  • Digital is reimagining the human experience.
  • Everything is being rethought, simplified, and improved, even things people have taken for granted throughout their lives.
  • Most companies recognise they cannot turn a blind eye to such a powerful force shaping human behavior.
  • What worked yesterday to attract, engage, and retain customers may be fast becoming obsolete.
  • Digital transformation is the strategic adoption of digital technologies to improve processes, productivity, business risk, customer service.

There is no doubt that digital transformation is key to future innovation, provided security threats are managed by CISOs.