3 Security Trends Every CISO Needs to Know in 2023
- By Brad Jones
- Dec 14, 2022
Cybersecurity has dominated the headlines in recent years as cyber attacks have risen at an increasingly alarming rate. In fact, global attacks increased by 28% in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Remote work, accelerated digital transformation, and more intelligent threat actors have made cybersecurity a top priority for every organization.
While a comprehensive cybersecurity program used to be a nice-to-have for companies trying to stay ahead of the game, it is now a must-have for any organization with a digital presence. Customer priorities are also evolving, and trust and transparency are non-negotiable when B2B customers select vendors to store their data. The following trends should be top of mind for security professionals as they look ahead to 2023.
Security professionals must prioritize data classification or risk regulatory repercussions
While data handling practices vary based on industry and type of data (PII, healthcare, financial, etc.), all organizations need a unified data classification strategy. Without it, companies open themselves up to major fines that threaten their freedom to operate if employees accidentally mishandle data. On the plus side, companies that have not formalized their data classification strategy have a chance to do it—and, in doing so, to implement more effective controls.
Not enough companies understand where their data is or how it should be classified. It’s difficult to come up with a broad enough policy to cover all of a company’s data and the security team alone can’t devise a solution. But there are best practices that can help organizations put a process in place to prevent the mishandling of data.
First, keep classification simple. Standard categories—including restricted, sensitive, internal and public data—offer straightforward guidelines for classifying data from across an organization. Second, data protection controls should be mapped to classification standards and aligned with the risk associated with the data type. Many companies struggle to rank the relative risks to different types of data but with a comprehensive strategy and the right tools, security teams can establish appropriate data protection protocols. Lastly, involve key stakeholders early in the data classification process. Data security must be everyone’s responsibility if an organization is to tackle this challenge successfully. An organization’s security team, legal department and individual data owners—whether that’s sales, marketing, HR, or others—must be involved in the data classification and policy making process to ensure data is handled in compliance with regulations.
Cloud service providers will face greater demands for tech stack transparency amid security concerns
In response to increasing federal software security regulations and customer concerns about software vulnerabilities, software providers have been forced to provide more visibility into their tech stacks.
High-profile security flaws in widely used open-source tools, such as the Log4j vulnerabilities, underscore how important it is for organizations to be transparent with customers about what is in their software. Threat actors aren’t slowing down and the pressure is mounting for organizations to create secure solutions.
Heading into 2023, technology service providers will be more transparent with customers about the software stacks and libraries that make up their products and services. This additional transparency will create new methods for customers to evaluate IT service providers so they can make more informed purchasing decisions. Providers that are more open about their tech stacks will be more competitive as customers prioritize security and transparency as key purchasing considerations.
Automation will bridge the security skills gap — and create a new one.
85% of cybersecurity professionals believe the workforce shortage impacts their organization’s ability to secure information systems and networks. Compounding the workforce shortage, nearly a third of cybersecurity professionals plan to change professions in the future. To address the security talent shortage, organizations have adopted automated security tools. These tools offer workload and cost efficiencies but managing them requires specialized skills. While automation may solve the current security skills gap, it may create another one by requiring a level of specialization that many security workers don’t have.
As organizations implement automated tools, they must also equip their employees with the right training and development opportunities to utilize these tools effectively. Automation doesn't fail – people do. Security departments that strategically adopt new technology and invest in upskilling IT staff will be better prepared against security threats, while deepening engagement and loyalty from their employee base. Upskilling efforts can include self-paced courses on utilizing automation tools, guided in-person training opportunities to foster collaboration among teams, and low-code/no-code workshops.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to cybersecurity. Every company has its unique approach to data storage and risk management depending on its operations and industry regulations. As companies navigate an uncertain financial environment, cybersecurity is not something they can afford to risk. A data breach means both reputational and monetary damages that drastically impact a company’s bottom line when they can least afford a financial hit. As a result, the role of the CISO rises to new levels of importance, requiring strong leadership through an increasingly complex landscape, in 2023 and beyond.