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Why collaboration is key to securely digitising your business

Written by David Webb on Monday, 16 September 2019. Posted in Online, Sales & Marketing

As digital technologies continue to transform every part of today’s business, C-Suites across industries are defining more technology-focused strategies in order to innovate, accelerate growth, improve time to market and improve their performance.

Why collaboration is key to securely digitising your business

As digital technologies continue to transform every part of today’s business, C-Suites across industries are defining more technology-focused strategies in order to innovate, accelerate growth, improve time to market and improve their performance. Optimising business operations through technology can help streamline workflows, increase agility, as well as eliminate any dependence on legacy IT systems. In addition, with enhanced analytics, companies will be better equipped to develop their customer offering in a competitive industry landscape. 

However, this must be balanced against the prioritisation of cyber security to protect their strategic technology investments and company assets. To enable both of these priorities, the engineering and security teams will have to work collaboratively and while there are challenges to this new approach of working, businesses will reap significant benefits.

Historic hurdles 

Traditionally, the needs of both the delivery and security teams mean they are on a collision course with one another unless they find improved ways of working. Adopting new approaches and methods to technology delivery are therefore key to success. 

Senior technology leaders are feeling this pressure now more than ever, as they are crucial to the delivery of ambitious technology-driven strategies into the business. Engineering teams will be looking to implement an abundance of new technology and remove legacy systems that are either inflexible, costly to maintain, or impact the technical strategy. At the same time, security teams must manage the cyber risk to the business and ensure that the new technology introduced is secure from attacks or breaches. 

With both teams attempting to fulfil their responsibilities, issues have arisen historically. These include a lack of communication which has then led to shadow IT; the use of unauthorised technology and systems. The constant back and forth of teams discussing how best to implement new technology while adhering to the security requirements was often seen as restricting the speed and abilities of the engineering teams. This proliferation of shadow IT can and does easily becoming widespread, not only risking the security of the business but causing complications for compliance and risk teams as well.  

Overcoming the challenges 

These challenges are currently being addressed with collaborations between the engineering and cyber teams. Businesses are continuing to innovate and deploy new technology at pace which means both teams must now work together in order to deliver the transformation agenda. 

Digitising a business is a large-scale effort and communication roadblocks and unauthorised systems will only impede both teams from completing the business outcomes needed. Developing a joint strategy and maintaining an open and constant line of communication will help both teams to understand the factors, requirements and limitations of the work needed to be carried out. Issues can be solved quickly and ideas on best methods can be shared between the two teams to ensure that the implementation of the technology is secure and efficient. 

Sharing knowledge 

Education is the most important component of the collaboration between the engineering and cyber teams. Previously, teams would operate separately and when work would need input from one another, information would be handed back and forth multiple times with no integrated collaboration or discussion. This process would be disjointed, slow and inefficient for implementing change. 

To avoid this time-consuming approach, cyber teams now provide regular and comprehensive education to engineering teams. This comprises of the basic principles of secure coding and hands-on simulations to demonstrate everyday attack scenarios. By sharing their knowledge, approaches and tools with the engineering teams, the cyber teams can introduce security processes. This includes introducing lifecycle methodologies and security testing tooling into the software development cycle, automating security testing as part of the standard development lifecycle. Ensuring that the security architects and engineers are working together as part of the delivery team will support faster adoption of new technologies as well as providing a flexible and secure approach to innovation.

These approaches are part of the wider move towards agile working, allowing teams to work innovatively and flexibly. It signals an emphasis on eliminating delays and poor communication to improve efficiency and compliance standards across businesses. Not only will agile working help the transformation agenda but importantly it will evolve the cyber capabilities of the company in reducing the risk of attacks, and lead to better performance and competitiveness.

 

About the Author

David Webb

David Webb

David Webb is CEO of 6point6 is an independent, award-winning technology consultancy specialising in Digital Transformation, Cyber Security and Big Data Analytics. They work with clients such as the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Department of Education as well as the BBC and the Telegraph to deliver challenging transformational changes and deliver sustainable business value.

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