The Balance Between Data Security and Digital Transformation

What was physical is rapidly becoming digital, as every industry undergoes a digital transformation. Digital wallets, with details about your identity and your credit card information encrypted somewhere in the cloud, are replacing credit and debit cards, which have largely replaced printed currency and checks. Newspapers, magazines, music and movies are consumed digitally. Robotics eliminate manual assembly processes and deliver consistent quality at lower cost. The notion of driving a car may soon become as outdated as dialing a phone.

Digital transformation brings opportunity and volumes more data to manage

Digital transformation enables organizations to rapidly expand into new markets. When products or services are digital logistical, transportation barriers are eliminated, though organizations do need to comply with a growing set of data privacy regulations. With the combination of ubiquitous mobile devices and internet access, millions now transact business from the palm of a hand.

The benefits of digital transformation are accompanied by ever-greater volumes of data that must be managed. Data is no longer just data. Organizations that manage any data categorized as personally identifiable information (PII), including but not limited to financial, medical, bioinformatics, intellectual property, legal or critical operational data, must achieve a balance of security and availability.

Digital transformation demands better cybersecurity strategies

Cybersecurity threats heighten the need to ensure data is managed securely. A growing number of government regulations, some with significant financial penalties attached for violations, further motivate organizations to get serious about data security. Unfortunately, as a majority of organizations move to the cloud-a key enabler of the growing and ongoing digital transformation-cybersecurity challenges assume added dimensions of complexity for the following reasons:

  • Most organizations require multiple cloud providers and environments (private, public and hybrid) to support the variety of applications, services and geographic distribution of their business. How do you establish a consistent approach to data security across these varied environments?
  • Globally-distributed enterprises need to comply with the various data privacy and data sovereignty laws that govern operations in specific countries. How do you remotely ensure data is managed properly in-country without having a separate strategy for each country?
  • High-performance connectivity and low-latency processing are required for high transaction volume applications. How do you locate data security services at the edge when data is widely distributed?

Let’s examine each of these challenges in greater detail and offer recommendations as to the best ways to successfully overcome them. Acknowledging that cybersecurity has many facets, we’ll focus on the most fundamental level: the management of encryption keys used to secure the data.

A consistent approach to encryption key management in multicloud environments

Hardware Security Modules (HSM) have been the go-to solution for managing encryption keys for years. It’s relatively easy to purchase, install and manage these modules in corporate data centers. However, when you move to the cloud, you relinquish responsibility for IT infrastructure. HSM selection and provisioning become the domain of your cloud provider-which isn’t a problem if you only have one cloud provider. But as the RightScale State of the Cloud report explains, most organizations contract with multiple cloud providers to support the range and variety of applications they use, the data volumes they generate, and the geographies in which they conduct business. Multiple providers equate to multiple HSM management tools.

Some cloud providers offer a Key Management Service (KMS) as an alternative to HSM. Although KMS obviates the need for hardware to secure encryption keys, it suffers from a similar limitation: It works only within the provider’s cloud environment. Multiple providers equate to multiple KMS management tools.

The solution is HSM as a Service. Think of this as a key management service that provides HSM-level security, doesn’t require hardware to store encryption keys and, most crucially, can be implemented on demand to support encryption key management for leading cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and Oracle. HSM as a Service provides a single, centralized approach-in other words, a single management tool-for encryption key management, regardless of where encryption keys are used.

Comply with data privacy and sovereignty regulations

Technologies that enable digital transformation open the doors to global market expansion. However, regulations such as the EU’s GDPR, Canada’s PIPEDA and, most recently, Brazil’s LGPD impose sanctions on organizations that fail to comply with the data privacy regulations of those countries or regions. Most of these regulations include data sovereignty rules that stipulate data must be securely managed in the country in which the data originates.

HSM as a Service allows you to securely manage data in-country while managing encryption keys remotely. Encryption keys are securely stored, while data is encrypted and managed in the countries in which you operate, enabling you to meet data privacy and sovereignty requirements. As data processing and volumes grow, HSM as a Service scales on-demand to meet those needs.

Digital transformation requires high performance at the edge

The success of the digital transformation of industries and the development of new services have set the expectation that transactions should be instantaneous. To balance that expectation with the need for data security, encryption services must be located in proximity to encrypted data.

HSM as a Service, provisioned in global data centers, provides low-latency encryption services at the digital edge where creators and consumers collect, process and store data. As more of your products, services, and operations undergo a digital transformation and generate or consume data that needs to be secured, HSM as a Service enables you to easily meet those needs, ensuring that encryption services are provisioned proximate to data to support instantaneous transactions.

HSM as a Service secures data generated by the digital transformation

The burgeoning volumes of data generated as a result of the digital transformation taking place across all industries can be cost-effectively and efficiently secured with an HSM as a Service approach. HSM as a Service provides a single, centralized, cloud-neutral means to control the encryption key lifecycle-creation, import, export, rotation, refreshment, and retirement-that can be deployed across multicloud environments. When cybersecurity skills are already in short supply, a consistent method for encryption key management can help reduce the workload on already-overworked data security teams.

Available as a cloud service, HSM as a Service is quickly provisioned, scales easily, and is deployed globally to address performance and compliance requirements at the digital edge, close to the cloud providers, network carriers and business partners that enable digital transformation. HSM as a Service can bring together innovative businesses and services on a single, global interconnection platform to enable the digital transformation.