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Cybersecurity Solution Innovation Gains New Momentum

Given the ongoing reports from the SolarWinds Orion breach, most senior executives agree that Information Technology (IT) security must be a priority that includes all enterprise leaders in the decision-making process of ensuring that all assets are fully protected.

The big picture: new revelations suggest that the access gained into SolarWinds software was only one part of a broader Russian hacking campaign that impacted other providers. And the initial point of entry, or the ultimate goal, remains unknown.

Furthermore, the primary target was stealing intellectual property (IP), instead of customer data. Why is this fact significant? Most public company cyber insurance policies do not cover losses from the theft of intellectual property assets. Therefore, these losses directly impact the firm's shareholders.

Cybersecurity Solutions Market Development

By 2025, 40 percent of boards of directors will have a dedicated cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified board member -- that's up from less than 10 percent today, according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner.

This is one of several organizational changes Gartner expects to see at the board, management, and security team level, in response to the greater risk created by the expanded digital footprint of organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Gartner, the cybersecurity-related risk is rated as the second-highest source of risk for the enterprise -- following regulatory compliance risk. However, relatively few directors feel confident that their company is properly secured against a cyberattack.

"To ensure that cyber risk receives the attention it deserves, many boards of directors are forming dedicated committees that allow for discussion of cybersecurity matters in a confidential environment, led by someone deemed suitably qualified," said Sam Olyaei, research director at Gartner.

According to the Gartner assessment, this change in governance and oversight is likely to impact the relationship between the board and the chief information security officer (CISO).

While CISOs should experience more scrutiny as a result, they are also likely to receive more support and resources. CISOs must expect executive conversations to shift away from performance and health-related discussions to risk-oriented and value-driven exercises.

Gartner also predicts that by 2024, 60 percent of CISOs will establish critical partnerships with key executives in sales, finance, and marketing -- that's up from less than 20 percent today.

"Effective CISOs realize that heads of sales, marketing, and business unit leaders are now key partners as the use of technology and, subsequently, the incurrence of risk happens outside of IT," said Mr. Olyaei.

According to Gartner, top-performing CISOs regularly meet with three times as many non-IT stakeholders as they do IT stakeholders -- and they meet with them more frequently than bottom performers.

For asset-intensive enterprises such as utilities, manufacturers, and transportation networks, IT security threats targeting cyber-physical systems present an increased risk to the whole organization.

Bad actors increasingly target weaknesses wherever they are, as demonstrated by the surge in ransomware affecting organizations’ operational systems and recent supply chain attacks.

The siloed nature of today’s security disciplines then becomes its own risk and a liability to the organization, and the IT-centric focus of most security teams needs to expand to include threats in the physical world.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of asset-intensive organizations will converge their cyber, physical, and supply chain security teams under one chief security officer role that reports directly to the CEO.

Gartner research conducted pre-COVID-19 pandemic found that 61 percent of organizations surveyed were struggling to find and hire qualified and experienced IT security professionals.

Outlook for Cybersecurity Solution Innovation

As organizations shifted to 'remote working' in response to the global pandemic, it proved that some, if not all, security capabilities could be delivered remotely. This includes security monitoring or operations, policy development, security governance and reporting, security awareness, and incident response via dispersed teams.

Cybersecurity teams can work remotely and still provide effective capabilities. As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 30 percent of all IT security teams will have increased the number of employees working remotely on a permanent basis.

Gartner recommends that security and risk leaders consider adapting their operating models and expand their job advertising to gain access to job candidates residing outside of their organization’s traditional recruitment geographies.

I believe that government counterintelligence investigation teams will work more closely with their commercial counterparts at multinational companies, to ensure the protection of strategic intellectual property assets. Proprietary software code assets are now one of the most prized corporate possessions, and they will be protected by more innovative IT security solutions.

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