Six CISO Trends to Watch in 2019

From legislation to insurance to staffing, 2019 is shaping up as a challenging year for CISOs. Here are six top trends security executives need to watch.

With each passing year, the role of a CISO snowballs.

While the story of ever-growing risks, limited funds, proliferating regulations and scarce resources is hardly new, the sheer enormity of the challenge in each of these areas is driving many chief information security officers.

Not only are they sweating the constant risk to the organization, many are uncomfortably aware of the risks to their own professional longevity. Their daily challenges are compounded by boards of directors who are more cyber-savvy and involved than ever before, asking questions surrounding fiduciary responsibilities and risk that cyber leaders are challenged to answer with clarity. Where once boards and CEOs considered cybersecurity "someone else's problem," they now realize that cyber risk is a rapidly growing threat to the business and potentially their own prominent positions in cases where they may be held accountable for a significant breach.

As we head into 2019, CISOs determined to meet the flood of demands head on will need to own more, protect more, govern more, recruit more, innovate more and build more executive relationships to be successful in this ever-evolving role.

(Source: iStock)\r\n\r\n
(Source: iStock)\r\n\r\n

We predict they will broaden their influence, refocus on process and programs, shift staff to higher value efforts by employing new technologies or outsourcing functions and continue to look for new methods to offset breach risks.

With that as background, here's a look at six trends CISOs need heed in the year ahead.

1. CISOs branch out to own product securityGone are the days when CISOs could "only" think about defending the corporate environment. They also have to think about the security concerns of their customers as well, who are cyber aware and concerned about the risks to their customers' data and corporate environments.

CISOs will be playing a more expansive role in overseeing product security, while assuring prospective customers that security is a key differentiator for their business, specifically protecting the revenue stream.

2. Third-party vendor risk in the spotlight Highly publicized breaches introduced by vendors brought third-party risk squarely into focus in 2018. This concern will roll right into 2019, but with a twist: Standards frameworks -- such as NIST CSF v1.1 -- and even state regulations -- New York State with its 23 NYCRR 500.11regulation -- have started putting rules and guidelines around third-party vendor security.

CISOs will need to not only tackle the challenge of ensuring security within their supply chain for their own risk reduction, they will need to make sure they are complying with these new -- and potentially emerging -- guidelines and regulations. Additional states may also follow New York's example and institute supply chain legislation; security teams will need to ensure that their third-party risk programs meet any applicable regulations yet go beyond them to proactively integrate unique third-party-oriented threats to their programs as well.

3. Cyber insurance emerging as a big risk management influencerCyber insurance is hot -- and for good reason.

CISOs need to protect against the nearly inevitable breach and its consequences. Still, many organizations are uninsured, or confused about what is covered under their existing cyber policy.

Look for cyber insurance companies to leverage their influence and risk calculations to set the industry standard on how to evaluate cyber risk and continue to broaden their scope by partnering or offering expanded cyber risk services of their own, such as breach management, legal assistance and policy consultation to offer a more seamless solution. Additional trends in cyber insurance will center around what insurers will and will not pay out, and what may or may not be covered under "computer crime" clauses versus what is covered under traditional insurance policies -- key court cases may set precedent in the year to come.

4. Automation steps in to help address audit fatigueWith the complexity of today's regulatory environment, audit fatigue is a very real issue that consumes time, resources and money. We predict CISOs will begin to get efficient, aligning compliance cycles and leveraging Security Automation & Orchestration (SAO) to automate as many control areas and routine tasks in the compliance process as possible.

Not only will this help ease staffing pressures, it will result in more accurate, real-time results for compliance data.

5. Cyber risk management gets in the groove with enterprise risk managementWith all areas of business risk competing for company dollars and attention, cyber risk needs to start speaking the same language and integrating with the rest of the business, especially other risk disciplines.

In 2019, look for CISOs to begin tailoring their cyber risk frameworks more specifically to the unique needs of the business, translating them into terms the organization can understand, and working in closer harmony with enterprise risk management functions.

6. Getting creative to address talent shortfallsNot only is cyber talent in demand, some are calling the skills gap a "national crisis."

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021 -- not reassuring if you are looking for talent. Look to both the industry and organizations to start solving this in creative ways -- with universities beginning to develop robust cyber programs, the creation of dedicated cyber institutes and enterprises developing wildly creative recruiting tactics and employee incentive programs.

Related posts:

Mark Carney is the Executive Vice President for Cybersecurity Services at Coalfire, a provider of cybersecurity advisory and assessment services. Carney has 18 years of experience in the cybersecurity industry. Prior to joining Coalfire, Carney was vice president of Global Services at Kudelski Security, where he led the strategy, growth and operational execution of their cybersecurity services business. Formerly, Carney was the Chief Information Security Officer at FireMon and Vice President of Strategic Services for FishNet Security (now Optiv).

Editors' Choice
Tara Seals, Managing Editor, News, Dark Reading
Jim Broome, President & CTO, DirectDefense
Nate Nelson, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading