Thought Leadership

Myths of Digital Transformation: Automation Makes Data and Processes Less Secure

Endre Jarraux Walls
Chief Information Security Officer

hands holding and using a tablet computer

It’s 2020, and we’re not driving flying cars yet. We are, however, embracing new technological advancements at home and in the office. Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, the omnipresent cloud, and the ubiquitous thought “there’s an app for that” are just a few examples of the digital-first lifestyle that has become the norm.

While technology has certainly made our lives easier and created opportunities to connect with customers and colleagues, it has also presented challenges that business leaders must plan for and actively confront. Every new method of customer interaction requires additional data collection and new procedures, security protocols and an offensive and defensive strategy for handling a data breach.

In recent years, data breaches have affected companies large and small, including Wawa and Capital One. In the case of Wawa, the data breach affected all 850 locations. At Capital One, more than 100 million records were compromised and the company is expected to experience between $100 million to $150 million in related costs.

So what’s a business owner or chief technology officer to do? Believe it or not, implementing more digital processes and automation can help with data management and security. From an information security perspective, two of the most significant benefits are identical and repeatable results. Automating paper-based processes into digital experiences enables businesses to increase process efficiencies, lower costs, improve consistency in communication and reduce chances for human errors. And ultimately, all these benefits ladder up to increased security.

Data transparency can also be improved with automation. With the ability to quickly and easily access data throughout the organization, the accuracy of data is assured, business processes become more efficient and team members increase productivity.

Take Aflac, for example. The company wanted an analytics-driven security approach to protect approximately 10,000 team members, its customers and its brand reputation. By implementing automation processes and tools, the company reportedly blocked more than two million security threats in six months and saved 40 hours per month by automating manual processes.

I encourage business leaders to embrace automation as part of a digital transformation strategy. In addition to more secure data and more efficiency across the organization, this technology offers a competitive edge from a business and consumer experience perspective. The value it can provide both the business and to customers far outweighs the risk, that to be frank, exists with or without a digital-first mindset.