The path ahead for CISOs is not simple, since hybrid work cultures are still in their infancy and cybercriminals continue to do what they do best. While implementing cybersecurity automation and adopting a zero-trust cybersecurity framework are good places to start, CISOs should seek to better position themselves as the cybersecurity frontrunners in their companies.
The role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has gained significance especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a sharp increase in cyber-attacks. After all, remote working, with all its advantages and conveniences, expands the attack surface of enterprise infrastructures and applications. Furthermore, it is more difficult to safeguard and monitor off-premise endpoints and application entry points. External threats are always evolving, there is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts, and monitoring and managing systems remotely is tough, making 2022 a difficult year for CISOs.
CISOs must go beyond the traditional job prescribed to them in order to maximize the security of their enterprises. CISOs must understand how their companies operate in addition to having technical knowledge and leadership qualities. This will enable them to determine which security projects will be beneficial for the organization.
Here are the top four priorities that should be top of mind for security leaders:
Securing the Workforce
With continually changing work habits and the shuffle of in-office and remote employees, the hybrid workforce is more difficult to oversee. Many of these remote workers are likely to be too careless or indolent to apply critical software patches and upgrades. CISOs should make it a priority to keep everyone’s systems updated so that there are no endpoint vulnerabilities.
Taking a holistic approach to security also entails assessing the abilities of security teams and identifying their technical and business limitations. It’s critical to educate every user on cybersecurity awareness and best practises, especially when it comes to phishing exploits and social engineering attacks, which are increasingly being used by hackers to target unwary remote workers. At the same time, improving the skills of security teams in areas like business analytics and communication is critical. It would provide them with a comprehensive cybersecurity view of the entire business process.
Adopt Zero Trust Frameworks
Because businesses are becoming increasingly decentralized, CISOs should make adopting and executing a zero-trust cybersecurity strategy one of their top responsibilities. A zero-trust framework necessitates continuous user authentication and authorization. When it comes to validation, the framework handles users both inside and outside the corporate network equally. Zero-trust frameworks rely on real-time insight of networks, their characteristics, and, in many cases, user devices. Zero trust security frameworks are critical for securing remote working, as users may attempt to enter the network from any location.
Human efforts alone are insufficient to enable businesses in scaling their cybersecurity operations. In this aspect, cybersecurity automation provides businesses a leg up on newer and quickly spreading attacks. Prioritizing and adopting cybersecurity automation—to whatever extent possible—would free up security teams to focus on higher-level threat assessments rather than manual, duplicated activities. CISOs should determine which of their company’s cybersecurity processes and practises could be automated.
Be a Lifelong Learner
CISOs should, without a doubt, be well-informed and, more significantly, educated about cybersecurity technology and methods. They can only appropriately align business requirements with information security activities if they have a regularly updated knowledge base. This does not imply that CISOs need to be subject matter experts. Instead, they should have the requisite experience and training to recognize emerging cybersecurity nuances. They must also be able to clearly communicate the situation to the C-suite. This necessitates improved communication between CISOs and their cybersecurity teams, as well as the ability to ask the right questions and validate responses.