The world continues to evolve and change. Digital transformation is not a one-time thing, but rather an ongoing process. Cybersecurity is a key part of your digital transformation and protection from malicious actors.
The Dynamic Landscape of Digital Transformation
Nothing remains still in our world. Current trends include automation on tap, changes in monitoring processes to better support and protect cloud-native infrastructure, and the invasion of AI into every part of life and business.
All of these have their own implications for cybersecurity, bringing new opportunities as well as concerns and risks. Improved monitoring, for example, improves data protection, but what are the cyberseucrity implications of LLMs?
Cybersecurity Concerns and Risks
There are two areas which bring very real concern.
Singapore’s Cybersecurity Act
Passed in 2018, the Cybersecurity Act was designed to help protect critical information infrastructure such as healthcare and finance from cyber-attacks. At the end of 2023, a draft bill was put in to update and improve the act to support digital transformation. The draft bill substantially expands the coverage of the law to cover third-party vendors, such as cloud providers, services that support availability and security of digital services, and entities that are considered particularly attractive. Systems can also be added to the list temporarily, such as systems set up to support high-profile international events.
The biggest change is the addition of cloud providers as well as systems owned by the covered entity. Overall, this should improve the data security of cloud-native systems, but you will need to be careful to ensure the cloud providers you are using are in compliance.
Increased Cybersecurity Risks in Digital Transformation Initiatives
AI is the big mover of 2023, and while it may be somewhat overhyped, more and more systems are having generative AI integrated into them. This can produce significant cybersecurity risks. For example, employees using third-party generative AI may inadvertently be inserting your sensitive data into the model’s training materials, to emerge who knows where. Employees should not be allowed to use these programs. Generative AI used in coding may insert backdoors the human coder didn’t notice. And, of course, AI itself can be used by malicious actors to enhance attacks, making it easier to brute force systems or find vulnerabilities.
Ransomware continues to be one of the most significant threats. Ransomware fell in 2022, but came back in force in 2023. Most ransomware is still distributed by phishing and spear-phishing attacks, meaning employee training is the best defense. Multiple backups and the ability to quickly isolate infected systems remains the best defense against ransomware, and proactive monitoring (possibly using AI) can make a huge difference to resilience.
Cybersecurity Framework as a Cornerstone of Digital Transformation
A common mistake by organizations is initiating efforts to enhance cybersecurity measures only after experiencing a security incident. Instead, every system you develop should have it baked in. Role-based access and multi-factor authentication will continue to be the cornerstone of your cybersecurity framework to minimize leaked credential attacks. The secure-by-design approach ensures that security is considered throughout, and risk assessment is key. Whenever significant changes are made to your digital infrastructure, it’s crucial to conduct a security audit to ensure everything is safe and sound. Establishing cybersecurity is not a one-time task; instead, it requires ongoing efforts for continuous improvement.
The Strategies of Cybersecurity Continuous Improvement
As the world becomes more connected and digital, how can you make sure your cybersecurity keeps getting better? Well, here are some effective strategies to follow.
- Continuous monitoring and threat intelligence. Your environment should be constantly monitored for suspicious logins and activity, and to find holes that you need to fill. You need to stay up to date on new threats, especially zero-day exploits.
- Regular security audits and risk assessments. Audit your cybersecurity any time you make a major change, and also at intervals. Consider making the audit timing hard to guess. This way, it’s harder for threat actors to figure out the usual patterns.
- Strong authentication and access controls. Always use multi-factor authentication, have remote workers use a VPN, and use role-based access so an account breach is less damaging. Make sure you have systems in place to swiftly secure a compromised account.
- Robust network security. Again, use VPNs, and make sure that your physical network is secure. Engage with cloud providers that prioritize security as their primary focus.
- Data protection, privacy, and compliance. Keep up with changing compliance requirements or choose a vendor capable of assisting you in navigating these changes. Given the addition of cloud providers under the Cybersecurity Act, select providers that are current with these stipulated requirements.
Successful Digital Transformation with NCODE Consultant
Digital transformation should have cybersecurity built in. For example, let’s take a corporate secretarial and loans firm who was bound by stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations. We helped them develop a Customer Due Diligence System to streamline through improved risk assessment of customer profiles, integrated e-signatures, and other cybersecurity measures. NCODE Consultant is also excited to becoming officially ISO27001 certified by 1Q2024. The ISO2700 certification is a global standard for IT security. This shows our continuous commitment to delivering high-quality solutions and services for our clients.
If you are working through digital transformation and want to make sure your cybersecurity keeps up now and in the future, contact NCODE Consultant today. We are your trusted IT consultant and software partner for nearly three decades with offices in Singapore, Malaysia, and India to help you navigate through this challenging and ever-changing world. You can also call us at (+65) 6282 6578 or chat with us on Whatsapp (+65) 9735 0193.
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