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Digitization and security

Digitization and security 26.04.2018 - Oliver Schonschek is an IT journalist and technology consultant. Together with Dr. Andreas Bergler, he thought about IT security in an article for the "IT Business" website. He poses the question of whether and to what extent digitization represents a security risk for IT. Digitalization has many advantages and is, of course, unstoppable. In some areas it is progressing at a rapid pace, in others at a leisurely pace, and in some cases is developing in unexpected directions.

In many areas, digitization reduces production and wage costs, while productivity increases and new products and services continue to conquer the market. Thanks to digitization, new markets can be opened up and sales increased. Digitisation also brings with it some challenges. IT specialists must be trained and further educated, because hardly any sector develops faster than the IT sector, which has long penetrated all other sectors. In their article, Schonschek and Bergler discuss security issues and risks associated with digitization. The following article summarizes their positions.


Recognizing the opportunities of digitization
 
With the digitisation of trade, new security risks are arising. Digital data theft is only one part of the cybercrime that is inevitably associated with the new technology. So companies need to think about how they protect digital data. This is often a challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises. Companies need to keep pace with digitization to be competitive and see opportunities that they want to exploit - for example in customer acquisition and customer service, but also in production and marketing. However, according to a Bitkom study, not all companies see their future in digitisation. Although almost all companies now address their potential customers online, only about two-thirds of companies analyze their user and customer data accordingly in order to draw conclusions for their respective business models. According to Schonschek, only eleven percent of medium-sized companies have a company-wide digital administration of their documents. The figures are different for larger companies, where they are already more than 80%. Many companies are planning digitization in the near future. Half of all companies that still work with paper will soon switch to digital communication and databases. Bitkom's report says that more than 60% of traders believe that there will be little cash left in the game in 2030. More than half of retailers can imagine Virtual Reality as a sales strategy. However, 11% of German companies still do not have their own website - so there is still some catching up to do.
 

Risks of digitization
 
When a company rushes headlong into digitization, questions of IT security are inevitably also raised - and this in the first place. Most companies plan to train their employees in IT security and data protection. Another priority is the analysis of data and the transition to cloud computing. There is no question that security and data protection are important. But with digital processes, companies face new challenges, especially when technologies are introduced that are completely unknown to employees. All employees have to reorient themselves and learn new things. New processes offer new sources of error, not only in data protection. Communication is also changing and all employees have to learn how to use it. Unencrypted e-mails offer a new surface of attack, which many are not aware of. Operating errors due to ignorance can lead to breakdowns and data leaks. At the beginning of a changeover, everything is often implemented digitally and on paper in parallel, as the new technology is not yet fully trusted. A considerable additional effort!
 

Digitization and IT security
 
Gaps in IT security, new tasks, digital processes and progressive digitalization can lead to breakdowns. The points of attack have changed, but also increased. The mere fact that a wealth of data is digitally distributed, stored and stored. This is the result of a report by the Federal Office for Security in IT. The website, the online shop, e-mails and the Internet of Things offer new points of attack that many employees can hardly imagine. The risk of cyber attacks is increasing. Therefore data security is essential for companies.
 
However, this is no reason to curse or intentionally slow down digitisation. IT and data security is part of this new development and the relevant security technologies are developing just as fast as other technologies. The study "Potential Analysis Digital Security" by the agency Sopra Steria Consulting has shown that about a third of all IT managers introduce new technologies even when not all security issues have been completely resolved - that's how important rapid progress is to them.
Only 43% of companies have an emergency plan in case of a hacker attack. This shows that IT security is still handled lightly in many places. About 17% of companies in Germany claim to have already experienced data theft. There is therefore still a need for information and awareness of this issue.

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