Business Security

How to experience modern workplace advantages without compromising security

Avast Business Team, 11 May 2020

Part 2: Understanding the cybersecurity risks of digital transformation

Whether it’s improved processes, new revenue models, or even full automation of operations, digital technologies are enabling small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) to scale, drive productivity, and compete effectively in their markets. In fact, 82% of SMBs cited reduced costs as a result of cloud technology.

We also see an increased number of businesses in various stages of digital transformation — even some going fully digital. SMB Group noted it as a top ten trend this year, with research showing that nearly half of SMBs are planning to adapt their businesses for a digital future. Other data shows that by the end of this year, 30% will have completely automated their business’ processes and workflows. 

Yet, as this work shift gains momentum, it exposes cybersecurity risks. This is no surprise when you consider the same SMB cybercrime factors that existed prior to digital transformation are still constant today — lack of resources, IT knowledge, and budget. 

The question becomes, how do you take advantage of digital transformation and keep your operations secure, without adding complexity and costs? 

In our “SMB Guide to Secure Digital Transformation,” we look at how digital transformation and its adoption is creating new cybersecurity risks and challenges for SMBs. We discuss strategies, approaches, and best practices to ensure security keeps pace with digital innovation.

The vulnerabilities of Cloud, BYOD, and remote work

The reality is, if a company’s attention to cybersecurity doesn’t match its expansion in digital initiatives, it can result in security gaps that will expose SMBs to unauthorized access, cyberattacks, and data breaches — it can even impact the success of these investments.

As we become more virtual, connected, and cloud-enabled, cybercriminals have also changed up their game — targeting this growing digital workforce with a volume of email-and web-based attacks

The digital technologies that help us work from any location unfortunately also introduce security risks and demand strong cybersecurity.  Attackers just need entry to a network to launch attacks like denial of service (DDOS), account hijacking, financial redirection, and more. Investments in cloud apps and systems, mobile workplace strategies, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and remote work all introduce potential for cyber attacks.

Here are just a few of the factors that drive new cyber risks:

  • Cloud apps:  Misconfiguration, insecure interfaces and APIs, account hijacking, malicious insider threats, and DDoS attacks are among the top cloud security threats. Cloud computing assets that are not set up correctly or secured, including anything from unmanaged permission controls, unrestricted access to services, patched systems, and more, can create security vulnerabilities. One example of this was the Capital One data breach in July 2019, compromising over 100 million accounts — the result of a misconfigured setting on a system that allowed the bank to communicate with Amazon Web Services, the bank’s cloud provider.
  • BYOD: As the workforce becomes more mobile and dispersed, employees are increasingly using a mix of business-issued and personal devices. While security policies such as BYOD provide safe guidelines for accessing company networks using personal laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more, these can be challenging to enforce — especially for SMBs with limited time and resources. Yet if devices are not secured properly, it leaves employees, IT infrastructure, and company data vulnerable to cyber attack.  DDoS attacks and data theft are just some of the risks. 
  • Remote work: A study by Global Workplace Analytics showed that even before COVID-19, remote work had already grown by 173% over the last 15 years, with nearly 5 million telecommuters in the U.S. alone.  Now as remote workforce numbers continue to grow, so have the number of email and web attacks, including new phishing scams. Securing remote employees is more critical than ever before, as data is now being accessed and shared from multiple devices across a range of applications and services.

Experiencing digital technology advantages, safely and securely

It’s easy for security to be an afterthought in this new fast pace. To help you pursue digital transformation safely and securely, we created The SMB Guide to Digital Transformation. Download a complimentary issue today and start ensuring that your cybersecurity strategies are keeping pace with your cloud strategies and initiatives.