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Cybersecurity’s Rapid Metamorphosis from Tech Problem to Business Enabler

Theresa Lanowitz

Written by

Theresa Lanowitz, AT&T Cybersecurity

December 02, 2021

Theresa Lanowitz is a proven global influencer, and speaks on trends and emerging technology poised to help today’s enterprise organizations flourish. Theresa is currently the head of evangelism at AT&T Business — Cybersecurity. Prior to joining AT&T, Theresa was an industry analyst with boutique analyst firm voke and Gartner. While at Gartner, Theresa spearheaded the application quality ecosystem, championed application security technology, and created the successful Application Development conference. As a product manager at Borland International Software, Theresa launched the iconic Java integrated development environment JBuilder. While at Sun Microsystems, Theresa led strategic marketing for the Jini project — a precursor to the Internet of Things (IoT). Theresa’s professional career began with McDonnell Douglas, where she was a software developer on the C-17 military transport plane and held a U.S. Department of Defense Top Secret security clearance. Theresa holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

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In March 2020, when businesses enforced a work-from-home policy because of the pandemic, many of us thought the move would last a few weeks or so. How could we have possibly known that the sudden move to remote working would create the now-normal hybrid workforce? Businesses of all types and sizes are looking to the future and determining how to support and secure a workforce that is forever changed.

When the sudden shift to remote work took place, cybersecurity teams were in a reactive mode, laser-focused on dealing with activities to keep businesses operational and safe. Tactically, cybersecurity teams were concerned with VPN licenses — did they have enough under the enterprise license agreement (ELA) or did they even have VPN licenses? Did employees have access to cloud storage, or was local storage the norm? And now that local storage was on their dining room table, would employees without a remote work laptop be connected to the corporate network on the family tablet that was also used for video streaming and preschool lessons? These were problems most cybersecurity professionals probably never imagined. And to a large extent, they were technical problems that needed to be solved quickly.

Cybersecurity teams rose to the technical challenges of securing the remote and mobile workforce. But something else happened along the way: The role of cybersecurity shifted from being a technical problem (to be solved with tooling and a lot of smart people) to being a business enabler.

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, and security is now at the core of this transformation. Protecting the resilient business is mandatory.

Likewise, the chief information security officer (CISO) rose in importance to help businesses understand their risk appetite. CISOs are now a full member of the C-suite and are trusted advisors to the board of directors.

The CISO has learned a new language and communicates effectively with other C-suite executives about why the business needs to take cybersecurity seriously. And the CISO works cross-functionally inside the organization to help make sure security is a top priority for any business activity.

The CISO is still tasked with evaluating and implementing new security technology, but with a focus on what it means to the overall business.

As compute power becomes further democratized — think edge types of applications such as smart cities, telemedicine, and connected vehicles — security is key. Today’s CISO is leading their business to the next era of innovation.

While 2020 will go down in history as the pandemic year, it will also be remembered as the year cybersecurity went from being a technology problem to a business enabler. 

For more information about AT&T Cybersecurity and Akamai, visit us at cybersecurity.att.com and akamai.com/lifeonline

Stock image of a young bearded man, wearing glasses, surrounded by computer monitors in an office. In front of him there are screens showing maps of the world with associated data.


Theresa Lanowitz

Written by

Theresa Lanowitz, AT&T Cybersecurity

December 02, 2021

Theresa Lanowitz is a proven global influencer, and speaks on trends and emerging technology poised to help today’s enterprise organizations flourish. Theresa is currently the head of evangelism at AT&T Business — Cybersecurity. Prior to joining AT&T, Theresa was an industry analyst with boutique analyst firm voke and Gartner. While at Gartner, Theresa spearheaded the application quality ecosystem, championed application security technology, and created the successful Application Development conference. As a product manager at Borland International Software, Theresa launched the iconic Java integrated development environment JBuilder. While at Sun Microsystems, Theresa led strategic marketing for the Jini project — a precursor to the Internet of Things (IoT). Theresa’s professional career began with McDonnell Douglas, where she was a software developer on the C-17 military transport plane and held a U.S. Department of Defense Top Secret security clearance. Theresa holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh.