Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 35 | Page 37

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// FEATURE: 2020, THE CIO’S PRIORITY Security and innovation partly due to recent well-publicised local malware attacks. Cybersecurity must keep pace with all these changes and become reflective of the completely connected business environment. This means CIOs will have to focus on adopting an intrinsic security approach as Digital Transformation initiatives start maturing. This is not only about having network edge protection from the outside, but an integrated cybersecurity strategy throughout the IT infrastructure. It will factor in every connected device, every data access point, as well as the link between the organisation and the cloud provider(s). Providing the peace of mind that data is protected will further enable the CIO to examine other innovative ways of unlocking business value. The expectation is that PROVIDING THE IMPETUS TO AFFECT THIS CHANGE IS THE GROWING DIGITALISATION OF BUSINESS. things such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain will finally gain the momentum needed to change Digital Transformation initiatives in the country. The coming months will be eventful for CIOs irrespective of industry sector they are working in. Becoming digitally empowered and linking that to solid business principles will grow the competitive environment and position organisations for continued growth. INDI SIRINIWASA, VP AT TREND MICRO SUB SAHARAN AFRICA Digital Transformation has become a customer experience strategy as much as it signifies an evolution that requires organisations to embrace more innovative We have also seen Artificial Intelligence (AI) having a big impact on the cybersecurity industry. This technology empowers users to more proactively detect attack surfaces. AI and Machine Learning are becoming increasingly prevalent in cybersecurity solutions. And while it is still early days, their effectiveness will grow as the technology becomes more mature. Indi Siriniwasa, VP at Trend Micro Sub Saharan Africa technologies. Driving this change is the CIO who must ensure business operations more accurately reflect changing client expectations. To do this, data needs to be leveraged in new ways to not only extract its maximum value but also identify opportunities for growth. Research shows that more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to customer experience by 2020. Furthermore, two-thirds of these initiatives will use IT by 2022, up from half in 2017. Consequently, business operations must become digital if they are to operate efficiently and be quickly available to serve customer demands. This requires CIOs to understand what is needed to successfully digitise their organisational environment while not forgetting the all-important security aspects during this transition. AI has also impacted on how users interact with their devices and data. Chat bots and voice assistants are common practice while smart home speakers will be a trend to watch in the coming months. All these contribute to the level of user sophistication in the digital environment. Fundamentally, a business must embrace this cultural shift while being cognisant of keeping data safe. CIOs must therefore walk a tightrope between leveraging AI and other technologies, delivering shareholder value, and not opening data up to compromise. However, this is essential if they are to future-proof their businesses. Gone with tradition Giving further impetus to adopting more sophisticated cybersecurity solutions and analysing data more effectively, is how the traditional ways of working have changed. Many companies are shifting from an on-site ‘nine–five’ approach into one that sees employees work from anywhere and at any time. Security imperative Cybersecurity policies must therefore reflect how these increasingly mobile ways to access the corporate back-end is safeguarded. From protecting the mobile devices of employees to being able to remotely wipe data should a device get lost or stolen are just two examples of the business basics that are required in the digital world. However, with data driving decision-making in businesses, traditional cyber-defences are no longer good enough. The focus simply cannot remain only around protecting end points, but rather integrating cybersecurity in all aspects of the business. Fortunately, corporate culture around this is maturing The constrained way of working is being replaced with a more agile framework where business operations must move faster than ever. CIOs will be the glue that link the organisational strategy with a more sophisticated, technology-led, mobile environment. n If data is compromised, the company faces not only significant financial damage, but also a loss in customer’s confidence in the brand. In an ultra-competitive environment, this could prove to be crippling. INTELLIGENTCIO 37