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The Changing Role of CISO in 2023

The role of CISO is going to evolve in the year to come

It’s the year of the water rabbit. It’s also the year of the nation-state ransomware attack.

The role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has gone through a significant evolution in recent years. As technology and business practices continue to push the envelope and the threat landscape becomes increasingly complex, the responsibilities of the CISO are expanding and shifting to meet the demands of the modern organization – from the requirements of remote working and cloud adoption to the rise in nation-state bad actors and easy access to cybercrime as a service. In 2023, the CISO role will be more critical than ever, with more demands from the C-suite on their already busy shoulders.

Some things will stay the same

Expect an even greater emphasis on risk management, protecting data privacy, implementing automation, developing and implementing the organization’s cybersecurity strategy, and leading and communicating effectively. As cyber threats become more sophisticated and frequent, the CISO will continue to be responsible for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks to the organization’s information and assets. This will involve continued close liaison with other members of the executive team to develop and implement strategies that balance the need for security with the need for business growth. Expect, if you haven’t adopted them already, a call for zero trust adoption, multi-factor authentication, and robust cloud workload protection.

Everyone will take an interest

Unsurprisingly, data privacy and regulatory compliance will be front of mind for other teams and departments – with CISOs obliged to preemptively mitigate against the cybersecurity problems appearing daily in the international press. The CISO will need to be a strong leader and communicator, able to work closely with other members of the executive team and educate them about the importance of cybersecurity. The c-suite will want to include cybersecurity activities in any environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, and in any application for cybersecurity insurance or in meeting local trading standards. Proving best practices, such as lateral movement protection, will be high on the agenda for other members of any organization’s executive team. In 2023, expect colleagues to develop more of an interest in cybersecurity, including threat intelligence, incident response, and disaster recovery, and any CISO can expect to be the one providing the insight.

Cybersecurity in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility

The CISO will also need to be a strong leader and communicator in order to effectively manage the cybersecurity program. In the absence of c-suite knowledge and interest, it will be critical for the CISO to educate business leaders about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that they are aware of the risks and the steps that the organization is taking to mitigate those risks. The CISO will also need to communicate clearly with employees at all levels of the organization, providing them with the information and training they need to stay safe online.

Knowing the law

A deep understanding of data privacy laws and regulations will be required, as well as the ability to implement and enforce policies and procedures that comply with these laws.

Business first

The CISO will also need to ensure that the organization’s cybersecurity strategy is aligned with the overall business strategy and that it is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the threat landscape. It will be essential to support our developers in development processes, making security as frictionless as possible in the push to stay competitive in a busy international marketplace. Cybersecurity, to succeed, must offer the path of least resistance.

Stay current

Finally, the CISO will need to be able to work effectively with other members of the cybersecurity community, including other CISOs, security researchers, and government agencies. This will involve sharing information about threats and best practices, as well as collaborating on incident response and other cybersecurity initiatives.

We will also see more focus on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Automation in the role of the CISO. As more organizations adopt these technologies, the CISO will need to ensure that they are used in a secure and compliant manner. This will involve working with other teams to develop and implement security controls that protect against malicious use of these technologies, as well as providing guidance and training to ensure that employees are aware of the risks and can use these technologies safely.

Ready for the unforeseen

The role of CISO has undergone some serious changes in recent years and will continue to evolve in 2023 and beyond. There will inevitably be something unexpected – be it a pandemic, a global conflict, a sudden rise in the usability of AI or quantum computing, or an invasion of intelligent aquatic space bunnies from another reality – that will undoubtedly disrupt the industry. The best we can do is be ready, with our teams in sync and best practices engaged. A multi-layered approach is going to be the best defense.

As technology continues to advance and the threat landscape becomes increasingly complex, the CISO will be essential to ensuring the security and success of the organization. 2023 will no doubt be an interesting one.

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