'Put identity and security at the heart of digital transformation'

04 October 2020 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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The coronavirus crisis has accelerated digital transformation for many Australian businesses but the benefits may be lessened if digital identity isn’t integral to the process, writes Ashley Diffey, Country Manager Australia, New Zealand and Japan at enterprise security specialist Ping Identity.

Has the pandemic given your organisation the push it needed to embark on digital transformation in earnest? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Industry watchers expect the upcoming year will bring a wave of high tech activity, as Australian organisations across all industries parlay recent experience with communication and collaboration technologies into enterprise-wide initiatives.

Accelerating the transformation process is a sound strategy for many enterprises, according to Guy Holland, Partner in Charge of KPMG’s Digital Delta and Technology Advisory practice. “With 80% of revenue growth predicted to come from digital offerings and operations over the next three years, IT leaders should continue transforming their operating models and investing in key enablers, like integrated cloud platforms, agile ways of working, intelligent automation, AI, blockchain and advanced data and analytics,” he noted earlier this year.

Ashley Diffey, Country Manager ANZ & Japan, Ping Identity

Making it pay

Sound advice – but embarking on information technology programs and deriving a measurable return on the time and money expended have always been two very different things, as any project manager who’s been around the block a few times could attest.

Digital transformation is no exception. A recent global study by McKinsey & Companyshowed only 16% of organisations believed their efforts had resulted in sustainable, improved performance. That’s hardly a compelling argument for loosening the purse strings at a time when funds have never been tighter.

The same ‘Unlocking Success in Digital Transformation Survey’ found that giving employees access to the digital resources and information they require to function more efficiently more than doubled the chances of transformation success.

Making it secure

Making that access streamlined and secure can be a challenge for enterprises which don’t include a rethink of cybersecurity strategy, protocol and processes in the digital transformation planning process.

Implementing multiple digital solutions and requiring employees to use a unique log-in and password to access each of them is no recipe for productivity; in fact, the reverse. It can impede their ability to operate efficiently, to the point that they revert to old ways and workarounds, rather than making full use of transformative digital infrastructure and technology.

Conversely, erasing multiple sign-ons and making workforce identity central to your security strategy allows employees to access those systems swiftly and safely. A strong, centralised authentication service which works across all applications, clouds, directories and devices is an essential component of this transformation.

An identity-centric zero trust approach

In addition to the productivity boost such streamlined access can provide, the model enables organisations to redirect their IT resources away from routine tasks, such as resolving password reset requests, and onto initiatives which can help the business move forward.

Identity based security can also provide better protection than the traditional perimeter-based model, particularly if digital transformation involves an increase in remote working and, ipso facto, an increase in the potential attack surface.

Given the well documented threat posed by cybercriminals in today’s uncertain times strengthening security posture should be an imperative for Australian enterprises of all stripes and sizes.

Positioning for growth in post-pandemic Australia

For businesses which survive the Covid-19 crisis and the slump in customer activity and demand that shutdown regulations have engendered, the next couple of years will be challenging ones. Digital transformation is likely to be central to the recovery journey for many. Making simple, secure access a priority will up the odds of this investment delivering cost savings and productivity improvements that facilitate survival and growth.