Embracing technology and digitally transforming day-to-day life, inside and outside of the workplace, are key drivers towards new ways of operating across all industries around the world. In 2019, enterprises spent in excess of $2 trillion (USD) on technology as part of digital transformation projects. As tech is not everyone’s specialty, many are choosing models which involve collaborating with experts and outsourcing their IT operations. With this, comes the word ‘open’ - used alongside many of the elements of becoming digital and adopting new technology; for example, Open Standards, Open Source Software and Open Data.
But being ‘open’ is not necessarily something many organisations look to be. This is especially the case if you must comply with stringent regulations that are often focused around privacy and the protection of data or resources- common in the Legal, Financial Services, Health & Care and Government sectors. Adopting new technology, becoming digital, becoming ‘open’, can then seem very difficult.
However, it doesn’t have to be.
IT providers are recognising this complication - the nervousness around opening your systems to interactions while still protecting data - and are delivering software and services to help combat it. For example, when purchasing cyber security software and services, there are IT providers who can support your ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials compliance – they’re worth choosing! For finance focused products, look to see if the provider understands regulations such as MiFiD II, and if they know what the implications of Open Banking are. Choose a partner that explicitly understands and delivers in accordance with the regulations that affect you and your consumers.
Cyber security is a concern for many, and it should be. The ‘spray and pray’ tactics of cyber criminals means that no one can consider themselves too small to be attacked, everyone is a target. This can make becoming ‘open’ seem a worrying venture. Relying on legacy technology can then become the default businesses IT plan. However, legacy IT leaves you more susceptible to attacks and failures. Over time, models of servers and releases of applications are supported less and less, until they are finally retired. Maintaining these platforms is difficult, particularly for younger hires who are trained in more modern technologies. This increases the likelihood of them not being managed properly, leading to them not working effectively or becoming easier to breach.
Fortunately, there are ways around all of this; regulated sectors can be digitalised! Regulated sectors can embrace technology securely, efficiently and effectively.
In the NHS and Financial Services sectors, sandboxing has helped providers create solutions that meet regulation requirements. Regulatory sandboxes enable solutions to undergo rigorous testing in realistic environments. They can be checked for compliance and security before being confidently rolled out to patients and customers as a solution that will work for them.
It is crucial to be aware of these workarounds; it shows that digital transformation is possible within regulated sectors. Yes, there are specific requirements pertaining to sectors such as Legal, Financial Services, Health & Care and Government. However, that doesn’t mean that technology needs to leave them behind. Tech innovation, if anything, thrives in the face of such constrictions, making things happen that were previously inconceivable.
When looking at the steps your organisation can take towards innovating through technology, choose to work with providers that understand your specifics, the intricacies of your organisation and industry. Select suppliers that aren’t afraid of the challenge of your legacy technology and highly regulated sector. Opening your systems, embracing new tech and digitally transforming the way you work doesn’t mean you will struggle to remain compliant with the stringent regulations in your sector, it doesn’t mean that your data will become unprotected. Quite the opposite. There’s always a way forwards - you just need to work smart with a partner that will find it.