Today’s enterprises are operating within an increasingly connected, collaborative, and complex digital ecosystem—one in which participants come and go, often very quickly. The escalating intersections between relationships and risk within this type of environment beg the questions:

  • Who can you trust?
  • How can you best protect your digital processes and assets while engaging with other participants?
  • What actions can you take to make you “safe in your neighborhood”?

There is no one single answer. Rather, our view is that safely engaging in the digital ecosystem requires a flexible, agile, and proactive approach embodied in the concept of the “self-sustaining enterprise”—a framework that allows firms to make selected processes more resilient while maintaining or ideally decreasing their level of risk.

What a self-sustaining enterprise looks like

The self-sustaining enterprise is flexible in the sense that the infrastructure is nimble enough to shift security postures as risks change—similar to when a stranger enters your neighborhood. In each instance, and depending on the circumstances, an enterprise should be able to choose what its response to a “stranger” will be. Agility allows the self-sustaining enterprise to rapidly address and assimilate new people and devices into its ecosystem, safely and securely. By taking a proactive approach to potential threats, a self-sustaining enterprise is able to sense and respond to threats as they present themselves.

Achieving this type of sustainability is accomplished through the application of advanced technologies, such as predictive analytics and cognitive modeling that automate how enterprise security views threats and risks. Infrastructure paradigms such as network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking, and serverless architectures provide the agility a firm requires to take this proactive stance. Advanced technologies also allow the enterprise to think and react like a living organism in this relationship-laden business environment—and to do so at machine speed.

In this series on the self-sustaining enterprise, I’m going to share how financial services firms can decrease their vulnerability to risk by applying technology to:

  • Enhance the organization’s cybersecurity skills
  • Develop the capabilities to effectively manage ecosystem relationships
  • Protect against threats in a constantly changing digital environment

In my next post, I’ll set the context for this transformation by taking a deeper look at the risks firms currently face in the new digital ecosystem.

For additional detail, please see: The Self-Sustaining Enterprise―Using Technology Innovation to Enhance Cyber Security Skills

Dr. Christian Tölkes

Dr. Christian Tölkes

Managing Director, Technology Consulting Lead Financial Services Austria, Switzerland & Germany

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