All Together Now: Uniting Data And Security Teams

Data architects and infosec professionals need to collaborate to ensure greater security

Across any organisation, professionals working with data should have security at the forefront of their minds. This is especially true at the moment, given the rapid increase of employees working from home and data travelling more than it ever has before. 

In addition, according to a government report released in March, 46 per cent of businesses identified a cyber security attack over the past 12 months and these attacks cost businesses more than £5,220, which is up £1,000 since 2019.

A complex set of concerns

Simultaneously, the business environment is becoming increasingly complex. In our recent study of security professionals, 93 per cent of respondents were either currently engaged in or planning to engage in a digital transformation programme. This process involves changes in the infrastructure, technology and handling of data and usually takes several months to plan out. However, increasingly, many companies are being forced to adopt new digital programmes at an accelerated rate. 

When it comes to projects like digital transformation, there could be an argument for more collaboration between teams. Indeed, our research has found that a wide variety of sources tend to be consulted when procuring a security solution including vendors (53%), consultancies (53%), analysts (52%) and outsourced cyber security providers (40%). 

At the same time concerns for security are a primary worry for the tech executives helming the digital transformation projects. Increased cybersecurity risks were cited by 53% of respondents as their biggest concern. Other worries included rigid technology infrastructure (40%) and legal, risk management and/or compliance concerns (36%).

Adding to these issues is the ever-present potential for reputational damage from cyber breaches. Data breaches are constantly in the news and the GDPR laws are causing companies to be severely financially punished: just take the £183m fine British Airways faced for breach of passenger data.

Greater security means greater collaboration

Businesses are facing a changing environment, a heightened threat level and greater compliance requirements. They must therefore ensure that teams can work together to ensure data across the board is kept secure and the business isn’t putting itself at financial or reputational risk. 

Traditionally, there has been a risk that security professionals can become siloed within an organisation as they focus on protecting key business assets and critical digital infrastructure, while facing an ever-growing number of security alerts. Similarly, data architects have a focus on identifying new data flows to achieve efficiencies and improve business operations. While both will have awareness of each other’s function, the increasingly complex business landscape and growing security concerns can hinder collaborative work.

One of the big focuses for both security and data teams will be the changing technical environments in which they operate. A survey released in January of this year found that 69 per cent of enterprises are moving business-critical applications to the cloud and another survey estimates that by 2020, 83 per cent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud. The teams involved will therefore need to collaborate on such projects to define the future infrastructure of the business from a tech, data and security perspective.  

Fail to prepare…

Migrating data and systems into the cloud requires meticulous planning, care and coordination across teams. For data teams, it involves planning the systems, pathways, and data organisation to maintain business continuity. Migration into the cloud needs to be a painless procedure for those who are impacted by it, no matter how difficult that is for the team delivering it. 

Indeed, the security teams will be coping with new technology and new ways of access for staff both internally and externally. Paired with potential new tech suppliers, security teams will have a lot to consider before unleashing a new way of working upon their business. 

Above all this underlines the importance of data architects and security teams working closely, particularly on organisational wide projects such as cloud migration or digital transformation. 

To some extent, the future of the business is in the hands of security and data architects. If they don’t get the relationship right, businesses could face the consequences of both poor execution and security vulnerabilities, to disastrous effect. 

For more insights from our expert guest contributors, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.