The role of Cybersecurity in accelerating digital transformation

Prior to diving into the role that cybersecurity is playing in digital transformation, let us start by truly defining what digital transformation is. In my personal view, digital transformation is defined as the act of leveraging technology to disrupt global markets and transform the way a regular business operates. In this day and age, we have two options, either we disrupt or be disrupted. 

The acceleration of technology 

Our world was undoubtedly bound to transform and be revolutionized by technology one day, and today, this process has been accelerated due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Is remote working a surprise to me? No. In fact, I believe that the future will enable anyone to work from anywhere; we may not need offices, simply shared workspaces, or to ‘work on-the-go.’ Are some organizations struggling to continue carrying out their routine business matters? Of course, but humans are adaptable to change, and our businesses must evolve with us. 

Breaking down misconceptions 

A common misconception I see when it comes to digital transformation is defining it as the act of leveraging technology to simplify the way typical businesses operate. This is the difference I want to make clear. Take Fintech, for example, where we have financial services being enabled by technology. I do not consider this as digital transformation. I believe that this is merely using technology to simplify and automate processes and lacks the very aspect of innovation, transformation, and disruption. Rather than that, I consider ‘TechFin’ to be digitally transformative. This is where technology companies disrupt their field and enter a different area altogether to deliver financial products and services. You can see this method portrayed by many tech giants such as Alibaba or Apple in the form AliPay and ApplePay. These companies are so successful because they have been able to scale across the globe, disrupt global markets, and transform their business line by leveraging technology.

Relying on Cybersecurity

With this massive reliance on technology, and mass digitization of products, services, education, healthcare, and more, we urgently need to rely on cybersecurity to ensure safe and secure use of enabling technologies. The ramifications of lacking to keep cybersecurity in mind when catering to every organization and individual on this globe can be catastrophic, which is why we cannot risk leaving security as an afterthought. Think of it this way, people usually only think of security after they’ve been compromised. Similarly, people only think about their health when they are unwell. But why must we wait until we are sick? Why must we put ourselves at risk?  

With this typical mindset, we can see that cybersecurity is treated as a hurdle, a tedious task that gets in the way of moving forward. The truth is, it is the only way to move ahead and promote longevity. We cannot guarantee that any technology is 100% secure and immune to any vulnerability, but we must be more proactive rather than reactive when it comes to cybersecurity.

While our societies aim for a more digitally connected world, it’s crucial for us, more specifically large enterprises and government entities, to place cybersecurity at the forefront of digital transformation. Both public and private sectors need to collaborate towards securing our future generations in cyberspace. By doing this, it will ensure that our digital world is progressive, technologically advanced, and secure, thus minimizing risk to all individuals worldwide. As organizations, small, medium, or large scale enterprises - we need to balance cybersecurity with our transformative missions and objectives.

In the coming years, we will see many people who will be hesitant or resistant to change out of fear of a transformative process. This can be due to several reasons, such as cybersecurity issues, job security, and fear of the unknown. In terms of cybersecurity issues, we must look at technology and digitization as a double-edged sword, it can be used for good to make our lives easier or contrarily, for bad intentions. We need to realize that cybercriminals are already leveraging technology, but we need to stay ahead of them in this race to secure ourselves. This aspect is what I kept in mind when building my first startup, CTM360. I want users to be able to identify potential threats in cyberspace and neutralize them before an attack is initiated. Additionally, in terms of job security, digital transformation may close off a few jobs, but it will open several more opportunities. As for the unknown, humanity has many unknowns, and yet we still adapt, adjust, and overcome all challenges.

Ultimately, digital transformation is nothing to be afraid of - it is merely going to enhance our lives for the better. The most important thing to remember is that, while we advance rapidly, we need to ensure that our cybersecurity is proactive enough and included throughout all entities, departments, and future developments.

The Real Estate industry saw sizable investment activity over the last 5 years, with a total of 16 investment deals from 2015 to 2019. Access more trends and data in our 2019 Real Estate Venture Investment Report.