5 Challenges CISOs Are Facing in 2023

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Amid a growing cyber-threat landscape and stricter regulations, businesses are prioritizing cybersecurity. In fact, according to PwC, 65% of executives expect to grow their cybersecurity spending in the near term. However, despite the additional budget, CISOs are facing a period of adjustment where they respond to existing threats and concerns in the space while also increasing the resiliency of their organization.

Here are five of the top challenges CISOs are facing this year and some of the steps they can take to mitigate them:

1. Hiring and Recruitment

Hiring has always been a challenge for cybersecurity leaders. There’s a known shortage in cybersecurity talent as it’s still a relatively new field, and the companies that have developed that talent are doing everything they can to keep it. This is slowly but surely being remedied, with a growing number of recruitment firms dedicated to the space in addition to training programs and certifications that standardize knowledge. However, the gap remains, and it needs to be addressed. 

The current tech environment – with layoffs being announced every day – will also make security professionals wary of moving from their current roles. Marketing for any open positions will be key, and an offer must come with a guarantee to stem any uncertainty.

In 2023, CISOs will have to get creative in how they resource their security team and set them up for success with the right tooling, insights and professional development opportunities. Retention tactics will also be key here, so CISOs must work with HR and other leaders to ensure employees are satisfied. 

2. Improving Threat Prevention

One thing made clear during the pandemic is that bad actors take advantage of turbulent situations to conduct cyber-attacks – a trend that shows no sign of stopping. As such, companies must take a proactive approach to their cybersecurity efforts, enabling them to spot threats before they have any negative impact.  

To accomplish this, CISOs need to use 2023 to invest in intelligence tools and processes that enable them to proactively identify, isolate and respond to risks. Forming robust threat intelligence will be key, as will developing a comprehensive incident response methodology. 

Another important enabler is to build a culture of security within the organization. This can include finding ambassadors within the leadership team, using effective communication channels for sharing updates and requests, gamifying security rollouts, and more. With cyber-attacks targeting most parts of the organization in 2023, there’s a unique chance to make cybersecurity tangible for everyone. 

3. Adopting Automation

To increase the efficiency of their cybersecurity program – a step that’s necessary for today’s cyber-threat landscape – CISOs will have to prioritize the implementation of automated features. Automated processes can reduce the risk of human error while lowering the burden of manual or repetitive tasks. This is particularly useful in cybersecurity tasks such as vulnerability management, incident response and compliance checks. 

This will require a shift of thinking within the CISO’s organization. Selling it through will require educating the team and giving them strategic opportunities once freed from more tactical processes. As an added benefit, automated tooling will also lower the headcount required to manage cybersecurity efforts, so it addresses multiple challenges at once.

4. Reducing the Attack Surface

The more digitally enabled an organization becomes, the more its teams leverage cloud-based solutions and web applications to get their work done. Modern businesses also increasingly leverage and build APIs, participating in an ever-growing API economy. In addition, remote and hybrid workforces mean business applications and data are accessed via various networks. All of these systems add to the attack surface and need to be considered in a robust security strategy for the organization. 

In 2023, CISOs must focus on reducing the attack surface and adopting security models that are adaptable, proactive and comprehensive. 

5. Insider Threats

For many organizations, one of the biggest risks to their sensitive data comes in the form of trusted insiders. These can include employees, partners and contractors with access to sensitive information, whether that’s customer data, financial details or proprietary code. 

Insider threats can happen intentionally – when a disgruntled employee wants to harm the organization, for example – or by accident. Regardless of intent, an insider attack always results in the compromising of the organization’s integrity and a potentially costly breach. 

The trouble with insider threats is that they are hard to address. The response strategy has to cover both intentional and unintentional cases, requiring a wide breadth of coverage. As CISOs continue to deploy their security strategy for 2023, they must keep insider threats top of mind and mitigate them with the right tooling.

Looking Ahead

As CISOs continue to emphasize the importance of investing in and building a strong security posture, 2023 is bound to be a year of growth and evolution in this space. CISOs will become increasingly strategic roles within the C-suite, and they have an opportunity to gather the people within the organization to confront cyber threats collectively, protecting customers and other stakeholders in the process. 

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