Security: Out-innovating the threat

While there’s no denying that emerging technologies, smart devices and 24/7 connectivity bring joy to consumers and a competitive edge to businesses, security breaches are unfortunately keeping pace.

Security has become a constant operational reality in our digital economy and should be as ubiquitous as the technologies we use.

Organizations once thought to be unassailable are vulnerable.

Sophisticated cyberattacks like the one made recently on an electronic payment system in Belgium, show just how disruptive and damaging these criminal acts can be

The complexity and sophistication of threats have increased to such an extent that in their most extreme form, they are capable of paralyzing a country’s infrastructure, and this from a remote location.

Accenture’s most recent High Performance Security Report published in November 2016, found that in the previous twelve months, roughly one in three targeted attacks resulted in an actual security breach, which equates to two to three effective attacks per month for the average company. And yet, a majority of security executives (75%) surveyed are confident in their ability to protect their enterprises from cyberattacks.

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Redefining security performance

By using a comprehensive model, Accenture has assessed security performance across 33 cybersecurity capabilities to help business leaders understand the current effectiveness of security measures both at a country level and globally across industries and adapt. The range of these cybersecurity capabilities is much broader and the focus more business-oriented than the typical audits or compliance tick-lists familiar to most organizations. The outcome of this survey and thought leadership thinking is now presented in The Accenture Security Index.

Regardless of their size, organizations face a three-fold conundrum:

  1. How to continue innovating by adopting emerging technologies without making your organization more vulnerable?

The Internet opened up knowledge and opportunities but it also spawned cyber criminals. The convenience of online interactions that have largely replaced face-to-face and telephone communications comes with the risk of identity fraud. And now there is a step change. As organizations rush to adopt the latest emerging technologies such as Robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and Mobile, the accompanying proliferation of smart, connected devices and systems is adding another layer of complexity and increasing their vulnerability.

  1. How to win (and keep) digital trust while collecting and analyzing data securely?

What makes our digital economy so vulnerable is also its lifeblood: data. Data is valuable and useful. It literally touches everything we do: not only private data, but also employee data within companies, and data shared with partners or customers via digital bridges or the IoT. Every company and government wants to give their end users smooth, secure access but they also want to be able to leverage this data. Therefore, users need to identify themselves correctly while being sure their data are safe.

  1. How to manage the heavy burden of regulatory measures designed to protect data?

Across the board, the volume of data is growing exponentially, giving rise to more and more regulation. For example, in the EU, companies that do not put adequate measures in place to keep data 100% secure can be fined up to 4% of their turnover. However, more often than not, organizations only detect a leak 2 or even 6 months after it has happened, by which time the damage has been done.

Protect from inside out & keeping innovating

Happily, history shows us that every technological innovation comes with its own set of risks… and the tools to mitigate them.

While emerging technologies and devices make us more vulnerable by providing criminals with new entry points to steal or disrupt for commercial or political gain, the same technologies and devices used innovatively can mitigate risk and build resilience.

At Accenture, we call this out-innovating the threat from inside out.

To be able to do this, organizations need to first take a comprehensive end-to-end approach to digital security – one that integrates cyber defense deeply into the enterprise at every level, from computer room to boardroom. The days of security compliance being a component of the IT department are long gone. Organizations now need a full security operation in place to detect information leakage through analytics and react fast.

About Accenture Security

Accenture Security brings together world-leading security expertise and a strong ecosystem with startups and our own Security Labs. Locally in Belgium and Luxembourg we are helping organizations to develop security roadmaps, win C-level support and set in place their security operating model. For other clients, we provide services to redesign or run their Digital Identity. Lastly, we provide cyber defense services, through breach readiness and incident response, analytics and cyber defense platforms, in order to enable organizations to prevent, detect and respond to threats, running Security Operations Centers that provide analytics for network logs in order to detect anomalies. In some cases, at the request of our clients, we even use the same threat-centric mindset, tactics and procedures as criminals (ethical hacking) to test how secure organizations really are. For more information on the steps your organization can take to effectively deal with cyber threats, visit:


Ready to take action? Feel free to Contact me to discuss how Accenture Security can help you out-innovate the security threat in your organization.

Author: Thibaut Roisin