Digital Resilience is the New Digital Transformation KPI

Innovation and digital transformation rely on digital resilience to turn business disruption into revenue opportunities.

Sharon Bell

Apr 14, 2021

With the massive market disruptions of the past year, organizations realized that digital processes, infrastructure, and applications require resilience to quickly respond to disruptions. Whether caused by market conditions, legacy technology, or external threats such as ransomware, built-in resilience to meet these challenges has risen to the top as a digital transformation key performance indicator (KPI).

What is Digital Resilience?

Digital resilience was a major theme at IDC Directions 2021 in March. As IDC points out, organizations are realizing that digital transformation depends on digital resilience to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations, but also capitalize on the changed conditions.

Digital resilience is more than just security. It encompasses agility and speed. Specific goals and initiatives can include:

  • Becoming more agile with faster ability to adapt to changing market conditions

  • Applying data and digital governance across the organization for a rapid response to disruptions

  • Building in security through automated data privacy compliance and zero trust access

  • Enhancing and bolstering customer, employee, and partner experiences

  • Continuously improving speed and time-to-market for innovative applications

To achieve these goals, companies require renovation in these core components of business:

  • Modernizing systems, software, and infrastructure

  • Building security into every application and process

  • Planning for a fast recovery from disruption

Modernize to Support Digital Resilience

Complexity and cost of support, along with lack of scalability and security risk of outdated systems, inhibit flexibility as well as the ability to respond to disruption.

To achieve digital resilience, organizations need to modernize several areas outlined below:

  • Migrate outdated development and testing architecture to cloud environments to utilize the latest and most agile dev/test technology, such as containers.

  • Replatform complex, multigenerational systems to modern architectures, such as private and public cloud.

  • Consolidate, rationalize, and migrate legacy applications to the cloud, while building in zero trust security, such as multi-factor login.

In cloud environments, IT support is automated and provided as a service with the latest digital technologies available for IT management, security, application development, and operations. Cloud providers are also continuously becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to cybersecurity protection. The investment in migrating legacy systems, architecture, and applications to modern cloud environments increases innovation opportunities as well as scalability, flexibility, resiliency, and security.

Prioritize Security Projects to Bolster Digital Resilience

Every digital resilience project needs to consider security breach prevention and recovery by applying digital governance across the organization for a rapid response to disruptions. Preventing security-related disruptions encompasses adopting zero trust policies and not just relying on protecting the perimeter with firewalls.

Perimeter security is no longer a sufficient solution as employees are accessing corporate resources from everywhere including home, hotels, and coffee shops—often from unmanaged devices. Hackers are adept at penetrating perimeter security. Without zero trust, they could potentially access every application, database, server, and device on a network.

All modern applications need to have zero trust security baked in, where every user and transaction is validated before access to an enterprise resource is granted—even if the user or device are already within the network perimeter.

Automate PII Protection for Built-In Compliance

Digital resilience is not complete without data privacy protection. Automating compliance with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA, PCI DSS, LGPD, and HIPAA, ensures that sensitive and personal information is protected in all environments, including development, testing, analytics, and AI/ML environments.

Many organizations have procedures and technology in place to protect PII in production environments, but non-production environments pose the highest security risk. As much as 80% of an organization's data can reside in non-production environments, leaving businesses vulnerable to unintentional exposure and malicious attacks.

Automating discovery and masking of PII and sensitive data in all environments anonymizes the data, so if data is exposed, it cannot be traced back to a person or used for destructive purposes.

Ensure Fast Recovery from Disruption

As part of any digital resilience strategy, organizations also need data observability and immutability to automatically discover and quickly recover from data breaches.

Mission-critical applications are high-value targets for ransomware and cyber attacks. Building an automated cyber resiliency test zone allows earlier detection of data integrity breaches. Continuous monitoring and alerts for all production resiliency concerns, from cyber and ransomware attacks to accidental database deletion, helps to avoid costly data loss and application downtime.

An immutable data time-machine enables a continuous record of production data changes over time and reduces downtime with the ability to recover the data state just before a cyber attack or production issue, then refresh and repair production environments quickly.

Capitalize on Changed Conditions

Organizations can look at change as a threat or an opportunity. Companies that made ongoing digital and data investments had an advantage going into COVID-19. For example, Ally Financial, one of the leading online-only banks in America, was able to remain nimble in the face of change by freeing up its data to quickly test and deploy new, customer-facing capabilities. Ally was one of the first companies to offer loan deferments for customers struggling to pay.

Similarly, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, Choice Hotels, achieved occupancy rates nearly double the industry average during the pandemic. Leveraging its modern IT and data infrastructures, the hospitality brand created a number of new features in its mobile application to improve cleaning and social distancing procedures for customers while keeping hotel staff safe.

Digital resilience spending will continue to accelerate in 2021 as the global economy improves.

As leading companies in every industry pivot to digital, resilience must be part of their overall digital transformation strategy. These characteristics enable them to capitalize on:

  • Modern digital frameworks for accelerated introduction of digital applications

  • Upgraded security and decreased attack vulnerability to comply with data privacy regulations

  • A shift in IT spend from legacy maintenance to market innovation

Building digital resilience into every aspect of IT infrastructure, systems, and software will enable organizations to rapidly meet changing market and customer needs and create sustainable competitive advantages in this new reality.

Learn how Delphix programmable data infrastructure enables fast, lightweight, compliant data delivery for digital transformation programs, such as cloud migration, multicloud adoption, application modernization, and automated data compliance.