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Network Security in Digital Transformation Initiatives

Vighnesh Rege, Senior Platform Engineer, bp

Having completed his engineering degree from Rajiv Gandhi Prodyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Vighnesh is a passionate tech professional boasting of a successful career spanning 13 years. Prior to joining bp in 2022, he has successfully handled key positions across various companies such as Deloitte, IBM, Tieto, SunGard Availability Services, and Tech Mahindra, to name a few.

With an increasing number of cybersecurity incidents occurring in the passing days, infrastructure security is now among the most discussed topics across boardrooms meeting globally. Some of the common network security threats are mostly assumed to come from outside the enterprise. But over the last few years, I have seen that 30-35 percent of these threats have also happened internally. Thus, it is the primary responsibility of every personnel in the organization to ensure that their cyber perimeter is intact and minimizes the chances of a breach as much as possible. Additionally, we are also witnessing an increasing number of DDoS, phishing, malware and ransomware attacks recently. However, this is being mitigated to some extent now due to stronger cyber posture that most organizations have in place. Companies must also ensure that not only their network perimeter, but their internal assets, end points, applications, and SD-WAN paths must be secured in such, not letting any chance of their IP addresses or application data can get spoofed or become visible to hackers.

Successful Network Implementation in Digital Transformation Projects
For every organization, planning and having the end goal in mind are critical aspects in their digital transformation journey. Also, the company must carefully document and communicate all the challenges/risks to its stakeholders - be it vendors, service providers, or the employees. Additionally, companies must stay focused on what the customers expect from them in terms of digital transformation and accordingly establish new processes or make changes to existing processes. The more agile a system is during any transformation, the more robust and strong its security perimeter will be. Another important aspect that businesses must pay close attention to

during their digital transformation journeys is to choose the technologies wisely without focusing just on CAPEX. Most importantly, it is paramount of every organization to make sure that they undergo digital transformation in such a way that all their systems and application become more robust, agile and secure. Lastly, the digital transformation must ease the process of operating all the systems/applications and not complicate it even further.

Transformation is not just about integrating new tools, but also about reshaping the processes, culture and mindset to adopt a ‘digital-first’ approach. IT and network infrastructure plays a crucial role in ensuring and advancing any digital endeavors that foster innovation, enhance operational effectiveness and alleviate customer interactions. Also, network infrastructure is the fundamental base upon which applications and systems are built and customer applications are hosted. However, there has to be a proper documentation and tracking of all the system data so that we can tangibly measure the benefits that the transformation has brought-in.

Transformation is not just about integrating new tools, but also about reshaping the processes, culture and the mindset to adopt a ‘digital-first’ approach.

Challenges in Integrating Legacy Systems with Digital Technologies
While transforming any application, system or network from legacy to being digitally equipped, compatibility is the major and common challenge that most enterprises face because of their existing applications and systems not being at par ITU global standards. Lack of proper documentation and tracking is another key challenge, wherein if the company does not have proper change management and governance policies in place; it will not be possible to track how the older legacy systems were installed. Additionally, due to the unprecedented advancements in cyber-attack techniques in recent times, there are chances of security concerns arising while connecting old systems with newer networks. Furthermore, people, process and systems not being agile to operate alongside modern day techniques and application is another area that is posing serious concerns for organizations while integrating digital technologies into their legacy systems. Lastly, and most importantly, scalability is another aspect that hinders the enterprises’ digital transformation efforts due to their existing legacy systems not being as scalable as the new ones.

Enhancing Network Security through AI/ML
Earlier, due to the various complexities involved in the process, there used to be tens of people working on building a single application from scratch. But today, we are able to build an application within a few clicks thanks to the advent of cutting-edge technologies such as AI/ML. While this is indeed proving very advantageous for companies, they need to ensure that they are using proper technical standards and automation tools. AI/ML significantly enhances the network scalability and expansion by analyzing the data patterns, predicting the traffic demands and optimizing the allocation of resources. This proactive approach enables efficient provisioning, automatic adjustments and faster decision making. In terms of network security, AI/Ml systems store the data, analyze it and derive a pattern for any application identification so that we can easily pinpoint if any rogue malware application that is trying to interact with our internal systems. Due to this, tech teams are now able easily comprehend the pattern and store the database of various standard applications.

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