If you are like most business leaders, you are looking at your organization’s technology investments as a way to accelerate the business. We are in an era when companies have been able to leverage real-time data access and insight to disrupt entire industries. Think of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and Netflix, to name a few of the obvious examples.
The need for speed is becoming even more pronounced with the expansion of artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things and big data analytics. It is no surprise that the phrase “moving at the speed of business” has become popular in the business lexicon the past few years.
In the quest for speed, security is sometimes relegated to the back burner. It can be an afterthought, without adequate consideration of the risk at the start. In fact, as a business leader you may have heard the argument that security can slow down application development; that building security into the development process is an extra step that can delay new products and services at a time when speed to market is essential.
Security as a Business Accelerator
I’m here to tell you that this argument is not only wrong, it is dangerous.
The reality is that building security into all business processes—particularly development and every facet of the business’ strategic imperatives—will accelerate your business and enable you to move faster in responding to customer needs and new data-driven opportunities.
Here’s an analogy to consider: Brakes on a car. Ask most people the purpose of brakes and they will tell you that they make the car go slower. I would argue the opposite. Brakes actually allow you to go faster. Much faster. If you didn’t have brakes you would have to be extremely cautious, never sure of the risk, never sure if you would be able to avoid catastrophe, never knowing what challenges may lie ahead.
With brakes, however, you have a much clearer understanding of what your risks will be and how you can respond to and manage them. If you know what your brakes can do, how quickly they can stop the car, you can go much faster and manage the risk based on your own capabilities, insights and judgments.
In business, security provides a similar value, particularly in this era of ubiquitous connectivity and digital transformation. Instead of slowing the business down, security can and should function as a business accelerator. It gives you the knowledge you need to assess risk, and the tools you need to mitigate risk. It enables the business to work at full speed. Just like seeing what the terrain looks like ahead, you have the ability to press the brakes to manage risk to your business.
Building Security Into the Business
If you build security into your business processes, you can do a much better job of assessing and managing risk when you make decisions about what products to release or how to modernize your supply chain, for example.
Similarly, by ensuring that security is designed in as a critical feature of new products and services, you can deliver a safer experience to your customers, which is essential in accelerating business speed.
When you consider the challenges involved in building trust among customers, partners and employees in today’s always-connected environment, you will quickly recognize that business models can collapse without built-in security that delivers high levels of confidence. It is security that allows you to move at the speed of business. Without it, you run the risk of being like a car without brakes.
Sean Duca is Vice President, Regional Chief Security Officer, Asia Pacific and Japan, for Palo Alto Networks.