The speed of digital transformation is rapidly driving forward business opportunities. The race is on for bigger, faster and more innovative offerings and solutions. And when there’s a race, short cuts can look attractive. However can result in a difference between what’s needed and what’s finally delivered, this gap is known as ‘technical debt’ and can lead to significant security weaknesses. It is important that your digitisation strategy looks to minimise technical debt.
Whether it’s cobbling together solutions, downgrading components or not getting round to completing phase B, poorly executed projects can open the door to intruders and attackers. And whilst taking the cheapest, easiest, or fastest way to progress a project may seem like the right thing to do, over time the technical debt can grow as the odds of an attack continually increase unless security vulnerabilities are identified and rectified.
Minimise Technical Debt To Avoid a Cyber Shortfall
To reduce the cyber risk you need to reduce the size of the potential cyber debt, here’s our top 10 tips for minimising technical debt and making sure you don’t suffer a cyber security shortfall:
- Cyber security is a ‘must do not a nice to do’, make it a priority, encourage and embrace a culture where robust cyber security measures are non negotiable. Having CISO representation at board level can help drive forward a collaborative and cyber secure culture.
- Make sure cyber security is fully considered when undertaking technical and digital developments, put it at the forefront of your change management programmes and development practises by engaging with cyber security personnel early on in your design and development process. Security by design is cheaper, quicker and more effective than retrofitting as an afterthought.
- There can be a tendency to ‘shave’ resources off many project elements when looking for budget and time savings, however don’t cut corners on cyber security, always identify risks and only downscale plans if/when those risks are deemed acceptable.
- Don’t let your security standards drop even when resources are tight. Older technology and software still needs to be maintained, always update software and install patches, and replace outdated legacy systems when they can no longer be supported.
- Testing should always be integral to any project, and plans must include appropriate cyber security testing. Test throughout the development process to ensure that any security gaps are identified and fixed as part of the ongoing project progression.
- Compliance and legislation requirements must be considered for projects. Whether it’s GDPR, PCI DSS or the recently launched PSTI bill to name just a few, ensure you are meeting the standards set by all relevant regulatory bodies.
- Risk assessments need to be regularly undertaken and maintained for all projects as they move through the development cycle to launch and beyond into normal business operations.
- The scope of your security monitoring needs to be broadened to encompass any new software and infrastructure through the transformation process and post launch.
- Your security policies may need updating as a result of digital transformation strategies, don’t just see this as an admin task, your cyber security policy outlines the standards of security behaviour within your organisation and prioritises areas of importance.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Source external expertise and guidance if need be. Flexible resources such as a virtual CISO service can be invaluable for guiding strategy and aiding decision making.
If you are looking for guidance and support to minimise technical debt and secure your digital transformation projects, get in touch with the Infosec Partners team for expert impartial cyber security advice.