Digital transformation changes how everyday business gets done, but the same new processes and technologies that raise productivity can also raise security risks.

Why? Because, as applications transition to new, more agile infrastructures, this change can create vulnerable gaps in protection that simply didn’t exist before. Like honey to a bear, these holes are too tempting for hackers to resist. And, leaving your data exposed to hackers is like leaving a bear with an open picnic basket.

As the transition continues, security challenges will mount. In fact, according to our research, 75 percent of IT decision makers identified security as one of the biggest challenges when driving digital transformation.

It is also a key benchmark: 41 percent of respondents identified security as one of the factors for measuring what a successful digital transformation looks like.

But what makes security management—protecting that picnic basket—during times of great change so hard?

A lack of skills. 30 percent of our research respondents said they lack the skills needed to maintain effective security across different IT systems. With an increasingly hybrid environment and new threats developing every day, these skills need to be built up, honed and expanded to keep up.

Tame the BearA technology-only approach. No security management plan is complete without addressing the people and processes involved in reacting to an attack. As digital transformation accelerates, assessing and testing the security technology involved is critical. But it’s also critical to review, adjust and communicate changes to who is responsible for responding to an event, what they need to do and when.

The language barrier. What makes the people and processes side of security management so tricky? In a word: Language. Departments outside of IT can be somewhat perplexed by the “techno speak” involved in IT security. Without a good understanding of security crisis terms, it can be nearly impossible to convey the role non-IT stakeholders need to play in maintaining strong security throughout a major transformation.

External influences. Managing your own security readiness isn’t enough: Vulnerabilities can happen anywhere along your supply chain, since you have little control over the security posture of your partners. Even if the processes and data flows you have in place today with your partners are fully secure, one small change can open you both up to threats.

Slow and low attacks. Today’s cyber attacks can lay low for months, slowly infiltrating your systems and stealing data without detection. So, the changes you make to your environment today may poke a hole in your security fabric as you make them, but you may not know about the true damage they’ve done until much later.

Security during digital disruption can be as hard to control—and just as risky—as letting an unruly bear run through your data center with scissors. Maintaining tight security throughout your digital transformation takes taming that bear, but the challenges involved in doing so can test the most patient trainer and the most diligent IT professional.

Find out more about managing IT at www.tamethebear.com

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[1] Research was conducted by Vanson Bourne, on behalf of Sungard Availability Services, and questioned IT decision makers (715) and wider business employees (1400) from across the US, UK, France, Sweden and Ireland in May 2016.