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Justin TravisJan 5, 2023 12:00:00 AM8 min read

Digital Transformation Security

Digital Transformation Security


Digital Transformation Security

The World’s Best Bank

DBS: A Success Story in Digital Transformation

In 2019, DBS Bank was recognized by Harvard Business Review as one of the top 20 business transformations of the past decade. Just a few years earlier, DBS was struggling to maintain its competitive edge. In response, the bank decided to undergo a digital transformation, integrating technology into all areas of the business to deliver increased value to customers.

DBS Bank

DBS Bank

As a result of this transformation, DBS has seen impressive results. Between 2010 and 2020, annual revenue increased from approximately $7 billion USD to $11 billion USD, representing over a 50% increase. Today, DBS is widely considered to be “the world’s best bank” by global finance publications and professionals.[DBS] This can be largely attributed to their digital transformation efforts.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of using modern technology to fundamentally change how a business operates. At its core, digital transformation is about delivering increased value to customers. This transformation involves the integration of digital technology into all areas of the company. This can include changes to business models, processes, and strategies, as well as the use of new technologies, such as cloud computing, mobile apps, and internet of things (IoT) devices.

With Digital Transformation we’ve recently seen new technologies emerge to become mainstream:

  • 5G wireless technologies
  • Customer Data Platforms
  • Hybrid & Multi-Cloud
  • Artificial intelligence/Machine Learning

However, as businesses embrace these technologies, it’s crucial to prioritize security and privacy to protect sensitive data and ensure the success of the transformation.[ZDNet]

Benefits of Digital Transformation

A report by the Boston Consulting Group found that in 2020, companies that were digitally mature realized a valuation increase of 23%, compared to just 7% of those that were not digitally mature[Data Science Central]. While it is important to note that results will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the organization, all organizations can expect notable benefits when undertaking a digital transformation.

To list a few:

1. Increased Efficiency and Productivity

By automating manual processes and using digital tools to streamline workflows, organizations can improve their efficiency and productivity.

2. Improved Customer Experience

Digital technologies can be used to enhance the customer experience by providing more personalized and convenient services.

3. Increased Agility and Flexibility

Digital technologies can help organizations to be more agile and flexible, allowing them to quickly respond to changing market conditions and customer needs.

4. Enhanced Decision-Making

Digital tools can provide organizations with access to vast amounts of data, which can be used to inform better decision-making and improve business outcomes.

5. Greater Collaboration and Communication

Digital technologies can facilitate better collaboration and communication within an organization, as well as with customers and partners.

6. Increased Competitiveness

By adopting digital technologies, organizations can gain a competitive advantage in their industry by being able to innovate faster and more effectively.

7. Cost savings

Digital transformation can help organizations to reduce costs by automating processes, reducing the need for manual labor, and improving the efficiency of operations.

Staying Ahead of the Security Game

When it comes to digital transformation, security needs to be built into the very fabric of an organization. This means having a comprehensive security strategy that is integrated into every aspect of the digital transformation process. This includes things like securing networks and devices, protecting data, and implementing strong authentication and access controls.

The threats are not just external; they are also internal. A recent report by Dell End-User Security revealed that over 70% of employees are willing to share confidential data, whether intentionally or by accident.[Infosecurity]

Key Focus Areas

Integrating security into digital transformation can be achieved through a focus on four key areas:

1. Leveraging Modern Technology Tools

This includes using cloud-native technologies and best-of-breed security tools.


Need Example Technology 1 Benefit
Short-lived credentials Hashicorp Vault Generate new credentials to technology platforms which expire a short time later (e.g. 60 mins TTL)
RBAC & ABAC access models Okta Granular access control based on detailed and dynamic needs
Security information and event management (SIEM) tools Splunk Record every request made to the system with sensitive requests triggering an immediate notification Security teams
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Terraform Shift all engineering and operational changes to be codified. Block infrastructure changes that do not go through a code-review process.

2. Discarding Outdated Security Methods

It’s important to regularly assess and update security measures to ensure that they are effective and aligned with current threats. This may involve retiring old or unsupported technologies and adopting new, more robust solutions.


Need Example Technology 2 Benefit
Centralize Identity & Access Management (IAM) Okta Leverage a single platform across all technologies for identity authentication and authorization
Biometric-based authentication Pindrop Uses voice biometrics to increase authentication quality and decrease time to authenticate
End-user device risk ThreatMetrix Score end-user devices against a risk score lowering the changes an authorized device is involved in fraudulent behavior

3. Training Employees on Industry Best Practices

Ensuring that current and future employees are trained on industry best practices around security is crucial to the success of the digital transformation.


Need Example Technology3 Benefit
Developer security training – Secure Coding practice Synk Automatically find and fix vulnerabilities in developer code
End-user Security Awareness KnowBe4 Keeps security top of mind for employees through on-going awareness training

4. Changing the Culture of the Organization

For digital transformation to be successful, it’s important to create a culture that is open to change and willing to embrace the security needs that come with it.

Benefits of Cloud in Digital Transformation

Cloud security services, such as those offered by AWS, Azure, and GCP, can make digital transformation easier in a number of ways: Cloud platforms offer a range of security services to help organizations protect their data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloud.

The cloud platforms offer a suite of products that make digital transformation secure. Here are some examples of some products that meet common digital transformation security needs in GCP (additional cloud technologies, such as IAM, will also be used in conjunction with these for a robust program):

Digital Transformation Need How to Meet GCP Product Name 4
Protect data Create and manage encryption keys GCP KMS
Simplify security management and maintenance Use serverless technologies GCP Cloud Functions
Increase flexibility and scalability Allow the cloud provider to scale resources up and down, based on demand GCP Autoscaling
Reduce costs Reduce hardware costs by paying only for the resources needed at that point in time. GCP Compute Engine
Meet compliance requirements Get regular and on-demand proof of meeting compliance GCP Compliance Reports

When it comes to addressing the security concerns of digital transformation, the major cloud providers offer unique products and benefits that cannot easily be replicated in a traditional environment.

ScaleSec specializes in cloud security and is well-equipped to help organizations through the digital transformation journey. Here is one example of how ScaleSec employed a digital transformation journey with a customer that resulted in an 80% reduction in development and engineering time.

How Dexcom Accelerated Global Expansion with Modern Security


Read How Dexcom Accelerated Global Expansion with Modern Security

Risk Management in Digital Transformation

One of the key challenges of digital transformation is that it often involves the integration of a wide range of technologies. This can create new security vulnerabilities, and complexity, as each of these technologies has its own unique security challenges.

Organizations need to take a holistic approach to security to address these challenges. This means having a clear understanding of the potential security risks associated with digital transformation and implementing measures to mitigate those risks. One great way to meet this challenge is to align to a security framework. NIST CSF is a great framework to start with.

With the increased complexity that Digital Transformation brings, it becomes necessary to regularly review and update security policies, governance, and procedures to ensure that they remain effective. In practical terms, the following timetable should be followed for most organizations:

Review type How Often Estimated effort: 5
Surface Level Security 6 Every 90 days 8 hours
Detailed Security Review 7 Every 180 days 24 hours
Full Security Review of all assets 8 Every 360 days 40 hours
Table-top exercises for Disaster Recovery and Incident Response 9 Every 360 days 40 hours

In addition to implementing strong technical controls, organizations also need to focus on building a culture of security. This means educating employees about the importance of security and empowering them to take ownership of their own security practices. It also means promoting a culture of transparency and accountability, so that employees feel comfortable reporting security issues and taking action to prevent them.

Final Thoughts

DBS’s experience demonstrates the potential for digital transformation to drive significant business growth and success. By carefully considering and implementing the right strategies and technologies, organizations of all sizes can realize the benefits of this transformation.

However, it is important to prioritize security and privacy when undertaking a digital transformation to protect sensitive data and ensure the success of the transformation. This will involve investing in modern security technologies and platforms such as cloud, short-lived access models, and security awareness training efforts.

The most important element that separates a successful digital transformation from those that fail is a culture shift. A business must decide, from the top down, that old and traditional practices will give way to modern business technologies.

  1. These technology examples may meet the need, however other technologies may be a better fit for your organization. ↩︎
  2. These technology examples may meet the need, however other technologies may be a better fit for your organization. ↩︎
  3. These technology examples may meet the need, however other technologies may be a better fit for your organization. ↩︎
  4. These GCP technologies can be a part of a well-designed architecture. Additional technologies may be required to fully meet the need. ↩︎
  5. All timeframes are general recommendations and should be tailored to specific business requirements. ↩︎
  6. Surface-level security: technology owners attesting to their security policies and procedures, and recommending changes as needed. ↩︎
  7. Detailed Security Review: technology owners & managers reviewing policies and procedures together. ↩︎
  8. Full-Security Review: review security policies & procedures with internal risk-management. Add a 3rd party for external assistance as desired. ↩︎
  9. Table-top exercises: conduct walk-throughs of disaster recovery and incident response plans to ensure that the policies are effective. ↩︎


The information presented in this article is accurate as of 7/19/23. Follow the ScaleSec blog for new articles and updates.