There's been a lot of speculation about how this year will unfold. Many economic authorities, such as the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Swiss government, and Morgan Stanley are predicting a macroeconomic slowdown as the year progresses. Whether a temporary pause in growth or a full-blown recession emerges, the fact is organizations are increasingly critically eyeing their budgets and, at minimum, trying to do more with what they have, or going down the path of fiscal reduction.
The fact is, regardless of the financial environment, cyber threats will continue evolving, and threat actors will only get more innovative in how they attempt to manipulate their targets. Therefore, the cybersecurity attack surface is certain to expand. There's simply no room to stand still, regardless of whether we're facing an economic downturn. Everyone reading this article understands the financial damage cyberattacks can cause and how they can serve to further heighten economic damage in an already challenging scenario.
The Importance of Unifying Security Investments
A key consideration for organizations in this climate is to examine the value of unifying their existing security investments to streamline their security operations. Typically, this can be done even in a period of stagnating budgets while still bolstering proactive defenses.
Questions to ask include: Is there overlap between elements of the security stack? As stated in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (PDF), security applications need to cohesively and mutually support an organization's security posture by ensuring identification, protection, detection, response, and recovery are fully supported.
All these elements are, of course, interconnected. Security professionals need to keep that in mind, rather than introduce and/or manage the chaos of a siloed collection of point tools. We're long past the era of having to deal with disparate security systems. Rather, platforms, applications, and tools must be interoperable and interconnected, for comprehensive management, monitoring, and measurement.
Evolving Beyond "Code Warrior" Silos
Another key consideration in recession-proofing security operations is the importance of empowering more than "code warriors" when it comes to contributing to managing cybersecurity deployments. In 2023, it needs to be "all hands on deck," and it can't just be a tiny group of people responsible for large-scale enterprise security. Enterprise security management tools can play a major role in empowering a wider group of people to protect organizations.
Why does this matter? Because part of maximizing value involves security processes that focus on shared responsibilities, in which employees, R&D, DevOps, and IT are true partners and collaborators in protecting their organizations. An example of this is how security automation is now moving toward validating end users' identities and enabling them to have temporary security clearances to engage in system updates, credential retrieval, and remote access, with dramatically minimized risk. This is enabled through integration across communications and project management tools, anchored by workflows that ensure accurate verification and access controls.
Empowering Your Customers and Partners
There's another element that is rarely discussed when it comes to an optimal cybersecurity posture and managing costs: educating customers and partners about their own cybersecurity standards. After all, cybersecurity is an end-to-end multiorganization ecosystem. Cybersecurity problems that affect one company can come home to roost in another. The fewer issues that occur with customers and partners, the fewer problems your organization must deal with.
Developing a customer and partner awareness campaign can be crucial here. It's very important to educate the ecosystem beyond your own organization to mitigate risk for everyone. Organizations can deploy best practices via their own emails, newsletters, social media, customer and partner portals, and account managers. The best approach is to use multiple elements to get the word out about ensuring cybersecurity is taken seriously and consistently across the board.
In general, cybersecurity companies need to emphasize their proactive capabilities and philosophies over the historic reactive element in current economic circumstances. If they position themselves as a critical, protective layer and consultative presence, it will go a long way to cementing the essential nature of their offerings.