Digitalisation is a catalyst for change and for industry, digital transformation has been the harbinger of massive productivity, resilience and sustainability benefits of the Industry 4.0 era. The transition from manual to digital systems bolstered by access to high performance connectivity, exponential increase in computing power and data storage have irreversibly changed the complex landscape of business operations in the last two decades.

Modern day organisations have come to universally accept that digital transformation is not merely the embracing of computer systems or copying what a Google or Microsoft does but it is the adoption of mission critical, well integrated software and hardware coupled with a mindset and cultural shift towards technology that will provide the desired agility, efficiency, productivity and safety of business operations. In today’s speed-of-thought paced world, digital transformation is widely considered the key to business survival.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) enumerates people, data, insights, action and results as the five essential components of Digital transformation to becoming a data centric organisation. Relationships between these components can be best understood from the under mentioned diagram.

Cybersecurity is the cornerstone on which the foundation of digital transformation is built. Globally, the embrace of digitalisation has opened up a number of digital touch points which has made the organisations vulnerable to a host of activities aimed at data & identity theft, compromise of IPR and copyright information as well as leakage of actionable business intelligence for decision making.

Closer home, the cybersecurity products and services market in India touched USD 3.05 Billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 15.6 %(1.5X of global rate). Govt demand itself is expected to touch USD 581 Million at 13% CAGR. Rising internet usage, together with millions of smartphone users, growing mobile data traffic, vulnerability to cyber-attacks have resulted in a greater focus on rapid digitisation, increasing cyber threats and regulatory focus on cyber security across sectors and enterprises resulting in 3X increase in cybersecurity requirements.

In this of backdrop of digital transformation, Cybercriminals are finding creative new ways of misdirection and obfuscation. Hackers have recently been using PDF/DOC/DOCX/IMAGE files in new and very lethal ways. Additionally, Ransomware groups have been responsible for infecting hundreds of servers with malware to gain corporate data or digitally damage systems, essentially spreading misery to individuals and hospitals, businesses, government agencies and more all over the world. Weaponisation of PDF/DOC/DOCX is one such new threat.

Advanced monitoring solutions converged Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and user and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) would need to be implemented at the corporate digital end points to bolster protection and ensure the digital roll out proceeds smoothly. In addition, with zero trust approach, companies build a defence that is “perimeter-less”, with protection and trust measures for every aspect of that ecosystem, including assets, workloads and other resources.

To conclude, a data driven CISO as also the C level in a corporate will need to keep the above in mind whilst framing the contours of a cyber security framework at the digital transformation design thinking stage itself. Digital Transformation without cybersecurity is a recipe for disaster and many have paid a price for neglect of it.