Digital Trust Framework

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Schuberg Philis
Jun 21, 2021, 10:01:00 AM · 10 min read
05 AR20 Digital Trust Framework

Supporting digital transformation by controlling complex cloud environments

More and more companies are migrating to the public cloud, which allows them to innovate faster and in a more business-oriented way. This means their IT environments are becoming increasingly connected, which in turn affects the risk profile. After all, such companies are spreading sensitive data across several cloud services, and that impacts their ability to control the process and comply with laws and regulations. This is why Schuberg Philis offers its Digital Trust Framework: a solid foundation for the analysis, setup and management of cloud environments on enterprise scale. The result? No one needs to have sleepless nights about their digital transformation and the risks involved.

CIOs and other managers used to focus primarily on the current performance and uptime of a specific application or IT environment. However, in recent years they have turned their attention to the digital transformation and the related shift towards the public cloud.

And with good reason: the cloud offers considerable benefits for organizations. For example, an organization will have the most up-to-date IT solutions at their fingertips, with advanced security features that are available directly and without major prior investments. In this way, they can transfer many of the IT-related tasks and responsibilities to their cloud suppliers, which lets them free up time and energy to accelerate and develop business-oriented activities.

This is a novel phase of technology adoption, and companies can get entangled in its unfamiliar complexity. It all seems easier at first sight, but gradually companies lose control. As the transformation progresses, organizations lose their grip on costs, security, compliance, robustness, and flexibility. And this can bring their intended acceleration to a grinding halt.

In order to address this challenge, Schuberg Philis is deliberately expanding its service offerings from the technical management of mission-critical applications to include complete control over the primary process for organizations and supply chains. In this shift of focus, the Digital Trust Framework takes center stage.

An honest message

Mission-critical IT has always been one of our fortes. In order to expand operational safety and control over traditional infrastructure outsourcing and incorporate the cloud, we developed the Digital Trust Framework. It’s a model that offers insight into risks and problem areas, and also makes suggestions for resolving current and future complications. As a result, customers know exactly how the guarantees are safeguarded, even before a cloud transformation kicks off.

We always begin with an assessment in which we leave no stone unturned. This lets customers know exactly what their situation is. After all, mission-critical environments are too important to let real problems be glossed over or trivialized due to internal relations or politics. That’s why it’s important to send out an honest, sometimes even harsh message—always keeping in mind the context, challenges, and development stage. With its Digital Trust Framework, Schuberg Philis can make detailed analyses and communicate clearly about the findings: in the right way and with the right impact. The focus is always on delivering best solutions, now and in the future.

From implicit to explicit

From the customers’ point of view, in traditional infrastructure outsourcing, the “how” often remains hidden under the surface. Audits would show that the application or IT environment met requirements, and the guaranteed availability would be evident mostly from day-to-day use. But what went on under the hood remained a black box for customers. The Digital Trust Framework works differently: risk areas are explicitly anchored, so that both the customer and Schuberg Philis remain fully in control, even in a complex cloud environment.

Instead of taking over part of the IT landscape and disburdening the customer, we now support customers and help them in their IT and business transformations, on the enterprise scale. The IT solutions and architecture are adjusted to match the strategy, which always remains the central focus.

This has been a transition for us as well: we’ve moved from being from implicitly technology-driven to clearly showing in advance what needs to be set up within a larger ecosystem of partners, based on specific requirements. In addition to handling the technical management of a mission-critical environment or application, we also see it as our responsibility to illuminate the proposed changes to the customer in detail.

Even though we started out as an outsourcer with guarantees for uptime, Schuberg Philis is now becoming the enabler of digital transformation: supporting the customer’s strategy, operations and architecture on the enterprise scale.

Flexible and scalable

A transformation to a new IT environment is never achieved in one fell swoop. There will always be elements that continue to play a part into the future. For example, there may be crucial legacy systems or other IT components with limited compatibility that need to be integrated. But while the concrete solutions may differ—due to the available building blocks in the framework, for instance—they will always be scalable and aligned with the customer’s history and reality.

For a financial services provider, we recently executed a risk analysis for part of their IT environment. The request was prompted in part because they were already aware that there were some challenges there. Based on the analysis, we approached these challenges in two different ways: a short-term fix for the current situation, which included covering the fundamental controls, in combination with accelerating the cloud transformation. That allowed this customer to kill two birds with one stone.

By paying close attention to a customer’s wishes and requirements, and by combining this with a strong focus on strategy, domain know-how, and business expertise, we can deliver a flexible and targeted IT solution that performs to the customer’s expectations both in the short and long term.

Tailor-made security

With the Digital Trust Framework, we can set up exactly the correct level of security or compliance. By weighing the benefits of business decisions against the associated risks, which we have carefully mapped out, we can fine-tune the security level to meet the customer’s wishes and requirements. This is done in part using standard components and measures, but also, if necessary, with bespoke elements.

We choose this approach because organizations’ risk profiles can vary considerably: for example, a retailer will usually be prepared to take larger risks than a bank. It all depends on differences in industry regulations and risk tolerance. Together with our customer, we determine what is needed or desirable for each relevant context or industry.

IT service providers have to meet ever higher standards. This is due to the rise in security incidents and the related risks, but also because of increased pressure from lawmakers and regulatory agencies. As Schuberg Philis implements an increasing share of its customers’ IT services, our engineers will always critically inspect the robustness, continuity, and future-proofing of the choices that are made.

Based on our own experiences and industry standards, Schuberg Philis will make sure that the risks remain within parameters that are acceptable to the customer.

Anchored expertise

As stated, Schuberg Philis’s services and focus are shifting from mission-critical applications to the primary business. That means that we are increasingly taking charge of the entirety of processes and systems—which you can only do if you have a clear idea of the relevant technical and organizational risks.

We are also experiencing this shift in the way we do our work. At smaller scales and for limited mission-critical services, it is still possible for us as outsourcer to insert our own security experts into the concerned DevOps teams. But on the enterprise scale, you quickly encounter the limits of your capabilities: even without considering the aspect of cost, we simply do not have that many people available.

Here we again see the benefits of the Digital Trust Framework, which is a hub for all required expertise. Customers can more easily and quickly adopt the required services, which also scale better: security choices and validation controls are already integrated into the blueprint at the build stage.

Making a difference for the business

If a company wants to use IT to make a real difference for its business success, long-term control and operational security are quintessential. It’s the only way to free up time and energy for the things that will make you distinctive in the market.

Without control, you would continuously be pulled back into the here and now, instead of working on the future—you’d spend today and tomorrow fixing yesterday’s problems. And you wouldn’t be able to fully capitalize on the cloud, realize acceleration, or truly enter the connected economy.

Many IT leaders are speeding up their digital transformations, but they are struggling with the complexity of dealing with a variety of clouds and suppliers. Schuberg Philis’s Digital Trust Framework offers IT leaders the control and direction they need, and it addresses both the needs of the business and the requirements based on laws and regulations. This new model makes our know-how, expertise, and experience easily available to our customers. No matter what stage of their digital transformation they’re in.

SBP Sandeep Gangaram Panday

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