Digital Business and the Boundary-free Enterprise™

Bruce Guptill Research Alerts

What Is Happening?

As we get ready for the 2017 Digital Business Summit events in London and Dallas, it is easy to be reminded that Digital transformation, for enterprises and for IT providers, is increasingly about the re-invention of at least some of every aspect of the business. This includes the company’s technologies, its organization, its functional areas, and its culture, as the boundaries and barriers that have grown from each of these begin to shift and even disappear.

That’s not to say that everything needs to get blown up and rebuilt. But when long-standing business barriers and boundaries shift or disappear, everything that works now should be reconsidered or re-invented to work better in a boundary-less, or even boundary-free, business environment.

Why Is It Happening?

Our Boundary-free Enterprise™ (BfE) concept provides a useful model for identifying and understanding how and why each aspect of the business is changing and will change. The BfE model identifies and explains four areas where boundaries and barriers have traditionally developed and been maintained within and between enterprises – and which today limit and inhibit the ability of enterprises to compete in the new digital business environment. We briefly examine below how each is changing, and why.

Technology. Most technology barriers that inhibit an enterprise’s digital growth have arisen from its business software. Widespread use of open, agile, and Cloud-based development approaches, along with more reliance on and innovation in APIs, have helped reduce or eliminate the OS/platform-enforced technological boundaries between many enterprise IT stacks and systems. Meanwhile, increasingly flexible business models have been enabled by, and driven by, the resulting flexible approaches to development and integration/interoperability. This in turn brings increasing expectations of faster times-to-market, which in turn engender even shorter development and release cycles, which in turn both require and promote faster and more efficient development approaches.

Results: Traditional enterprise technological barriers are much more readily overcome today. Disparate business systems are more likely to be linked more effectively. Traditional OS-based or architecture-based technological barriers are fading. This enables reduction of boundaries elsewhere that inhibit digital growth within and between enterprises. Meanwhile, business expectations of what IT can do are rising – with expected shorter timeframes for results.

Culture. Cultural barriers within the enterprise tend to arise based on organization, function, and technologies used. The technological changes noted above reduce many of the most restrictive and inhibitive boundaries built up by and around cultural structures. Interconnectivity and integration from technology layers up through business processes, and across functional siloes, reduce cultural barriers. In such environments, positive and useful aspects of different cultures are more likely to be shared between organizations, helping to improve communication, collaboration, and the creation of new types of business.

Results: Cultural boundaries within enterprises (e.g., between IT and Marketing) are fading – especially as digital shifts push firms to add, or change to, a service focus versus a product focus. Widespread use of cloud has helped catalyze a rethinking of most organizational roles and responsibilities, while enabling and requiring IT and business leaders to work more and more closely. Note that cultural change strongly affects how, and why, the enterprise engages with other businesses.

Functional. Well-defined sets of data, systems, responsibilities, and functions are increasingly blended, typically by implementing Cloud-based systems that enable vastly improved sharing of information and functionality in more standardized ways. We also see more blending of data and functionality across formerly defined lines of responsibility and function. Leaders and users have access to more and better business data from all areas of the enterprise than ever before. Barriers based on worker and technology function fade as a result.

Results: The extent of inter-enterprise functionality and data sharing is unprecedented, and increasingly widely adopted and adapted. We will see more and better communication between those groups, enabling more and better cooperation, and, if adequately managed, improved sales effectiveness.

Organizational. There are still (and always will be) important departmental boundaries regarding responsibility, reporting, compliance, and function, but communications boundaries are fading fairly quickly. This enables greatly improved operating efficiencies, with much more business and technological innovation at a faster pace with wider reach.

Easier, more secure, and less expensive sharing of data and access makes it more natural to share tasks and functions. Tasks, functions, and workflows increasingly become intertwined, leading to rethinking and redefining business operations into more flexible and efficient constructs.

Results: Important and significant distinctions between businesses and groups within businesses will always exist. But the reduction of technological, cultural, and functional barriers enables the dissolution of many formerly strict boundaries that separated work groups, workflows, and workers.

Net Impact

All of the above changes are occurring everywhere. Practically every business enterprise can and will be transformed to some extent into a boundary-free enterprise. We spend quite a bit of time and effort helping our clients – enterprise and IT provider alike – understand the scope and impact of these changes on their own business, and on their customers, partners, channels and competitors. While every situation is somewhat unique, seven aspects always surface, and must be understood and addressed. These are as follows:

  1. Business strategies need to be reviewed and rethought in the context of more highly-interactive, boundary-free environments.
  2. Success in many markets will require multiple-path, simultaneous approaches that vary based on relative availability and adoption of different enabling technologies.
  3. Speed to market, and speed of response, will become more variable and more critical in many industries. The value of „agility“ will be judged based on a relative ability to reach and match differing business velocities in different relationships and markets.
  4. Business structures, organization, and management need to adapt, and become more flexible, or they will disintegrate. Note: Hierarchical and centralized organizational models cannot be effectively applied where worker autonomy is expected and partner/provider/customer relationships are increasingly dynamic.
  5. Provider and partner relationships must be re-examined and rebuilt, because we are increasingly likely to rely on new and different types of technologies and providers. Enterprises will establish and rely more on new relationships with new providers.
  6. Procurement, security, compliance, and other aspects will need to be re-examined as a result. Software/SaaS providers that excel in this area will be more and more important and valued partners.

Security, especially data security, needs ongoing and continuous reexamination and re-engineering. There are more than adequate security technologies available, but these will need to be adapted in new ways. For example: worker /user security and compliance training and management will have to be rethought and rebuilt for “free-range” worker/user business models in a dynamic IT-as-a-service environment.

Digitale Kommunikation ist wichtiger denn je – wer sind die führenden Agenturen in Deutschland?

Die Digitalisierung bleibt auch im Jahr 2017 einer der zentralsten Aspekte innerhalb der ICT-Themenwelt, der sich Unternehmen jeglicher Größenklasse kaum noch entziehen können. Im Zuge der digitalen Transformation sehen sich jedoch besonders viele Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) (mittel-) großer Unternehmen vor neue Herausforderungen gestellt, da sich klassische Marketingkonzepte (etwa Outbound-, One-to-Many-Marketing) im Zeitalter des digitalen […]

New ISG Insights Digital Disruptors Report – Cyber Deception Platforms Show Promise

Bruce Guptill, Jim Hurley Research Alert

What is Happening?

Digital cyber deception changes the traditional enterprise security approach from (possibly) learning about compromises months after they occur, toward definitively seeing and handling cyber-attacks that are underway. It helps to put the enterprise back in charge of its own cyber-defenses. However, as with any new disruption, there will be obstacles on the way to mainstream adoption.

A new ISG Insights report – Digital Disruptors in Digital Cyber Deception – from ISG Insights reviews how cyber deception works (and why), and looks at five providers of digital cyber deception platforms. These providers are helping to define and drive the agenda of digital cyber deception, and the way we will think of and practice, defensive cyber-security in the future.

Digital Disruptors in Digital Cyber Deception examines offerings from five providers that we see helping to shape the cyber deception marketplace while disrupting traditional cyber security approaches. The five – Acalvio Technologies, Attivo Networks, Cymmetria, Illusive Networks, and TrapX Security – are profiled by functionality, relative strength, and challenges, with our recommendations as to where each is best suited.

In addition to the five providers of digital cyber deception highlighted in this report, other providers include CounterCraft, CyberTrap, Javelin Networks, Smokescreen Technologies, Thinkst, and Topspin Security. Other providers claiming to field products with similar features include Guardicore, Shape Security and vArmour. Clients of ISG Insights can look forward to examinations of these in future Research Notes and reports.

Why is it Happening?

As we have long maintained, the nature of interconnected systems means that there really cannot be an effective IT security perimeter. And the more users, devices, and software are linked, the less effective are traditional practices focused on boundaries and barriers to stop intrusion and loss.

The impetus driving adoption of digital cyber deception comes from enterprises in industries where cyberattacks are continuous, where the frustration of cyber-defenders is high, where the cybersecurity culture is open to new approaches, and where dealing with new and small providers is not anathema to IT and security leadership – or procurement organizations. Integration with security incident and event management/security operations center (SIEM/SOC) processes will speed enterprise adoption.

Instead of emplacing more barriers to stop cyber-attackers, digital cyber deception lures them into one-way traps. The bait of digital cyber deception helps to maneuver attackers into what appear to be real systems, while keeping them away from operations and digital crown jewels. It plants deceptions – e.g., breadcrumbs, lures, and tokens – throughout the network that attackers expect to find and use to move about in search of digital booty. It transports attackers into a range of decoy systems ranging from database stores, Linux and Windows servers, domain name servers, Active directory servers, point of sale (POS) and industrial control systems (ICS) among others. Once lured, attackers are kept bottled-up in digital honeypots and away from anything that will result in harm.

Anything touching a digital deception is considered a valid attack. Users so far report complete accuracy regarding attacks, with no false positives. Its track record indicates that cyber-defenders are notified as soon as digital deceptions are touched, while the movement of cyber-attackers is monitored in real-time. Better yet, users say its decoys are keeping invaders occupied in virtual environments that are easy to get into, and very difficult to escape from – a little like a digital jail.

Net Impact

Digital cyber deception is the new paradigm for defensive cybersecurity. It stops cybercriminals and attackers by fooling them. It does this by inviting attackers using deceptions, it lures attackers and then traps their lateral movement into mirage kingdoms of shiny fools-gold. Instead of old-world brute-force security that is losing its oomph, this smarter approach to cybersecurity changes the rules of the game in favor of the enterprise.

Readers of Digital Disruptors reports should of course make their own determinations and assessments regarding potential providers, based on their unique requirements, relative priorities and evolving strategies specific to the business or IT challenge at hand. Those requirements should form the criteria for evaluation and selection of providers and solutions.

ISG Insights’ Digital Disruptors are not meant to be complete or exhaustive lists of all technology vendors, solution providers or offerings in a particular area of Business IT. Inclusion in a Digital Disruptors report is not limited to clients of ISG, and implies no endorsement with respect to the providers, nor a warranty of provider suitability or viability. The source of Digital Disruptors content is based on a combination of non-confidential information and analyst insight, supported by fact-based research and analysis and ongoing engagement with both enterprise leaders and providers.

The report is available immediately to ISG Insights subscription clients by clicking here. Clients may also simply log in and download a PDF of the report. Non-clients may obtain copies of the report by contacting ISG Insights at https://insights.isg-one.com/contact-us/become-a-client.

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