Why Cyber Security Risks May Deter Digitalisation

Posted  September 14, 2016  by  Jenny Green

cyber security risks of digitalisation

A Cisco 
report that looked at the impact of cyber security on digitisation showed that 39% of respondents said their organisations had halted a mission-critical initiative due to cyber security fears.

Digitisation is the process of converting information into a digital format. Recognised benefits include enhanced work flows, increased productivity, more satisfied customers, better compliance, and effective business continuity should paper documents get lost or damaged. 

But PwCs Cybercrime: Global Economic Crime Survey 2016 showed that digital technology and storing confidential information digitally exposes organisations to threats as well. Investments into IT security and a robust cyber security plan are essential in the digitised workplace.


Cybercrime continues to escalate, ranking as this years second most reported economic crime in the PwC survey.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) listed cyber security as one of the greatest threats to business around the world. In its latest Global Risks Report, cyber-attacks rank in the top 10 threats in 140 economies.

Growth interconnectivitiy

Cyber risk encompasses more than the traditional computer. Currently, there’s an increase in attack activity involving Internet of Things devices. Mobile devices are prime targets too.

According to McAfee Labs 2016 Threats Predictions, devices will continue to grow in volume and variety. The forecast for connected devices by 2020 is over 200 billion.

Sector challenges

When it comes to safeguarding digitised documents and data, every industry has unique challenges and requirements.

In the health sector, for example, there have been reports of privacy and malfunction cases related to digitisation of medical records; another group recalled software that didnt print certain information such as doctors notes.

In the oil and gas industry, there are concerns about protecting control systems and operation technologies from cyber threats.


Professional cyber criminals infiltrate IT infrastructures in many different ways. Plus, there are insiders: the negligent insider (who accidentally exposes data) and the malicious insider (who intentionally plans to steal data or damage systems, and harm the organisation).  

Confidential information on paper

The workplace is far from being completely digital. The average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. Protecting confidential information on paper is still important, and document security safeguards include a Clean Desk Policy and a Shred-it All Policy.    

Business transformation; cyber security plan

Earlier Capgemini Consulting research concluded that digital transformation is first and foremost a business transformation, which means it’s not just about technology. Security trained employees are essential in a cyber security plan.

The bottom line, Protect your confidential information

Digitisation is changing the entire document infrastructure in the workplace. There’s now hard copy document storage, digital document storage systems, and printers and other devices that use paper or store information on their hard drives.

A comprehensive document management process protects confidential information from creation to disposal. All confidential documents are securely indexed and stored in locked cabinets or locked rooms. Digitised information must have technology safeguards.

Clear out old documents regularly too; do not stockpile hard drives. Save files only if theyre relevant to work activity, or theres a legal requirement.

Arm your workforce to fight cyber-crime by teaching them information security best practices.