Last year was marred by cyber hacks. From 1bn accounts hacked at internet giant Yahoo to the infiltration of the Democratic National Committee’s email inbox.

It’s no wonder then that companies consider online security to be the number one challenge they face when implementing digital technologies.

According to a new report published by software giant Softserve digital transformation is well underway for business across the UK and US.

However, security challenges associated with data and connectivity are preventing around 55 per cent of organisations surveyed from committing to a boosting their digital capacity.

Nazar Tymoskyk, certified ethical hacker and security solutions architect at SoftServe said:

“With so much data being created, moved and stored in the modern business, and with so much reliance being placed on that data, security needs to be baked in at the very outset of any digital transformation initiative.”

Around 5.5m cyber offenses take place every year in the UK, according to a recent Crime Survey of England and Wales.

KPMG released a report last week stating that total fraud in the UK, including cyber-fraud, surpassed £1bn for the first time since 2011.

It is clear that putting security at the heart of the business is core.

However, when implementing digital changes into a company, 50 percent of respondents said security is often marred by budgetary constraints. SoftServe suggests a way to get around this is to consider digital transformation as business objectives, rather than IT challenges, in order to be assigned the right budget to carry out necessary security measures.

This will allow businesses to dedicate the funds and resources necessary to tackling security ensures head on to ensure a seamless digital transition.

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In addition, around 31 percent of respondents considered a lack of strategy as the reason why companies hadn’t made the transformation to be completely digital, whereas about 27 percent said it was due to a lack of required skills.

Recruiters are finding it increasingly difficult to hire suitable candidates for tech-skills based roles, with around 39 per cent of digital recruiters reporting hard-to-fill vacancies.  This shortage of suitable digital skills for jobs in the UK has been described as “a major risk to business, growth, innovation and broader societal development,” in a joint-report from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Ultimately, businesses need to innovate to keep going and one way of doing this is through technology. Robert Corace, executive vice president for digital disruption at SoftServe, said: “If businesses want to keep pace with or stay ahead of faster moving rivals and the disruptive new market entrants, they’re going to have to come to terms with the fact the digital transformation is the new normal.

“There are challenges to overcome but with help they are not insurmountable and the rewards of digital transformation far outweigh the costs.”

With nearly 20 per cent of businesses surveyed saying they have a dedicated digital transformation team instead, it is clear that companies are wanted to be part of the digital revolution.

Customer experience and engagement, mobile technologies and cloud computing services were all cited as digital transformations that would provide value to organisations.

However, without the so-called baking in of security into new IT initiatives, technological advancements, and the businesses implementing them, will be hindered.