Top 10 Challenges Facing CISOs in 2023

A Year of Consolidation

While 2022 was certainly no walk in the park, strong cybersecurity investments and institutional support suggest a light at the end of the tunnel.
As we turn toward 2023, these will be the top ten challenges facing CISOs in the new year.

To generate this list, we analyzed internal Silent Breach data, discussions with clients and industry leaders, as well as a general review of global trends, technologies, and threats.

1. Ransomware

As predicted, ransomware attacks continued to grow more popular and successful in 2022. The JBS and Colonial Pipeline attacks back in 2021 provided a template for hackers who've used the past year to differentiate and hone their techniques. Attackers have proven patient enough to bring down large multinationals (such as NVIDIA), governments (the Costa Rican government declared the world's first national cyber emergency) as well as adept at automating scripts to compromise thousands of smaller targets. Due to their impact and prevalence, ransomware attacks remain the number one challenge facing CISOs around the globe.

2. Organizational Buy-In

CISOs are expected to develop an organization's security strategy, but real change can only take place once the plan is implemented across the organization. At the end of the day, it is up to individual managers and their teams to apply the controls that have been recommended to them by the security team. Shadow IT, limited awareness, and tight budgeting all come together to blunt the impact of security measures. Due to the extensive damage inflicted by cybercrimes in recent years, however, CISOs will have a unique opportunity in 2023 to prioritize cybersecurity across the board.

3. Voluntary security standards

Adopting voluntary security standards has become a popular way for companies to build brand trust, reduce insurance premiums, as well as standardize and harden their existing security practices. For example, the recently released Cross-Sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals (CPGs) help OT providers identify and respond to strategic threats threatening critical infrastructure. In 2023, CISOs will be encouraged to adopt similar frameworks as the industry moves toward shared priorities and best practices.

4. Transparency

Companies, individuals, and governments are demanding more transparency when it comes to cybersecurity exposures. For example, the twin Optus and Medibank hacks in Australia leaked sensitive information belonging to tens of millions of customers, prompting a swift public backlash. In response, the Australian government has vowed to become the most cyber-secure country in the world by 2030 and will mandate extensive data disclosures, outstripping both the GDPR and CCPA. CISOs around the world will want to preempt any similar events in their home markets by voluntarily introducing greater transparency into their policies and messaging.

5. Attack Surface Reduction

Organizations across nearly every sector still struggle to secure their public-facing applications. In 2022, Silent Breach security analysts found that 92% of web applications tested contained serious security flaws. A major contributor to this trend is the rapid expansion of attack surfaces. CISOs are finding that they must defend against cyberattacks on multiple fronts including web, mobile, social, physical, wireless, and cloud. Reducing their attack surface, or at least slowing its expansion, will be a major security indicator for many organizations.

6. Digital Supply Chain Security

According to a recent survey of 1,200 security leaders across a dozen industries, over 90% of organizations have suffered a security breach due to vulnerabilities in their supply chain. Pair this with the fact that the average vendor ecosystem now includes over 3,700 companies (up from 1,013 in 2020), and it's no surprise that supply chain cyberattacks have quadrupled in the last year. In 2023, CISOs will be looking to implement supply chain security controls as well as increasing their security due diligence before any integrations or partnerships are approved.

7. Security by Design

As incoming attacks become regular events, and endpoints continue to multiply, companies will need to ‘shift left' in their security strategy and mitigate issues at the root. Building more resilient and secure products is often the most efficient way to reduce your cybersecurity workload while mitigating major security risks. Implementing security-by-design frameworks during the development lifecycle will help CISOs identify weaknesses early on and allow for quicker, more efficient remediation.

8. Talent Recruitment

It's no secret that experienced cyber-talent has been difficult to come by. The decades-long skills shortage has been widely reported on for years. However, a growing number of cybersecurity recruitment firms, training programs, and MSSPs are providing organizations with some extra breathing room. In 2023, organizations will challenge their security teams to build key external partnerships to lighten the burden on an already reduced HR staff and keep the company lean during an unpredictable market.

9. Threat Intelligence

How do you pinpoint key intel buried under millions of data points? Implementing proper threat intelligence tools and process enables CISOs to proactively identify, isolate and respond to developing risks. Those who excel at data analytics and categorization will be able to stay ahead of the curve and have far more visibility into their network's health, activity, and needs. For example, Silent Breach's Quantum Armor combs through numerous threat intelligence sources (from security agencies like NATO, dark web data dumps, and IOCs from our industry partners) and cross-references these against our clients' network and logs.

10. Consolidation

If there is a single takeaway, it is that 2023 will be a year of consolidation. Slimmer teams, tighter budgets, fewer tools. CISOs will be looking to support their company's bottom line by consolidating more of their tools under a single vendor, and more functions within a single tool. This will reduce overall licensing costs while creating a more dynamic, user-friendly workflow.

Did we forget anything? Comment with your thoughts on LinkedIn. Want help implementing any of the above suggestions? Contact Silent Breach today to speak with one of our experts.

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About Silent Breach: Silent Breach is an award-winning provider of cyber security services. Our global team provides cutting-edge insights and expertise across the Data Center, Enterprise, SME, Retail, Government, Finance, Education, Automotive, Hospitality, Healthcare and IoT industries.