Top 7 Challenges for CISOs in 2024

Top 7 Challenges for CISOs in 2023
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Top 7 Challenges for CISOs in 2024

Chief Information Security Officers are the top most cyber security executives in organizations. The term CISO originates back in 1994 when CITIGROUP was facing a series of cyber attacks from Vladamir Levin – a Russian hacker. This is when the world’s first ever cybersecurity executive office was established and the guy (Steve Katz) who was responsible for that office was called the CISO.  Today we will take a look into some of the most immediate challenges that CISOs face today. 

Chief Information Security Officers of today aim to safeguard their organization’s IT infrastructure. The widening threat landscape calls for CISOs to mitigate risks from cyber attacks. This includes complex black-hat attacks such as ransomware, DoS and Botnet attacks. The digital age gave birth to SaaS and cloud based organizations. This has in turn made it easier for threat actors to orchestrate a cyber attack. 

As opposed to the present age, in the past, hackers required more time, money and physical servers to attack. This calls for CISOs who devise a strategy that fortifies their IT infrastructure. A strategy that can work as a solid incident response plan that covers most of the threat landscape

Some of the most immediate challenges that CISOs face today

Organizations have integrated the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of their IT ecosystem. But this has also made them vulnerable to becoming a primary threat vector to IoT attacks. CISOs today are facing cybersecurity bottlenecks such as these today. With time, bad actors have also evolved their mechanisms and their modus operandi.

1. The evolving threat landscape and threat actors using AI/ML to orchestrate attacks

Threat landscape is evolving with the rise of attacks that are far quicker and complex. This is one of the biggest challenges CISOs face today. What adds to the problem is that modern day attackers use AI and ML to orchestrate attacks. Therefore, CISOs need to step their game up in order to combat these modern day bad actors and threats. The following are some of the modern and highly complex cyber threats of 2023-2024: 

  • Clop
  • Windows OS ransomware
  • Zeus gameover
  • Shlayer malware
  • Agent Tesla
  • RaaS
  • Fleeceware
  • IoT device attacks
  • Cryptojacking
  • Social engineering

2. Closing the skills and knowledge gap in the organization.

This is one of the most common challenges to CISOs today. There is not only a lack of talent in terms of numbers but also there is a shortage in skill and experience expected by organizations.

This means that an increased number of CISOs are looking forward to implementing some or other kind of training activity to impart skills and ultimately fill the skills gap in their organization.

3. Remote or hybrid workspace

Due to the emergence of remote and hybrid workspace, an increasing amount of personal devices are added to organizational networks remotely.

According to Kaspersky’s survey, over 68% of remote workers use personal devices for work. As a CISO it is a challenging issue to manage the cybersecurity of remotely connected endpoints. Employees who are remotely connected can become plausible entry door for bad actors looking to bypass the network’s security by stealing access credentials from any of the remotely connected workers.

This can be risky to the organization’s security due to the following reasons:

  • They access sensitive company data through unsafe Wi-Fi networks
  • Lack of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy allowing employees to use personal devices that can pose a potential cybersecurity risk.
  • Usage of weak passwords in remote working scenario
  • Connecting to public networks while remotely working
  • Use of unencrypted file sharing for sharing sensitive information
  • There is risk of physical theft involved and that may double the cybersecurity risks if the device stolen is unencrypted.

4. Budgetary bottlenecks

The budget for cybersecurity has always been lower relative to other budgets in organizations. No wonder why many organizations face a huge monetary setback in the aftermath of breaches. According to one report, breaches cost on average around $3.92 million to an organization. CISOs today are finding it challenging to secure budgets that are bigger because they are not able to justify the returns on investment.

5. Communication

CISOs are highly technical people and they may sometimes use a language that is filled with a lot of technicalities and jargon that may not make sense to the board members. This is the main reason why there are often disagreements between the CISOs and the board members. This affects the process of decision-making, especially in cybersecurity.

6. Changing world

As the world moves towards digital transformation, with more and more competition within every sector, an increasing number of businesses engage in expansion, mergers, and acquisitions. This may result in an increased risk of cyber-attacks and breaches that can put their data in jeopardy. This has become a challenge for CISOs who sit in the decision-making position and make the key decisions pertaining to cybersecurity.

7. Cybersecurity statutory compliances

Maintaining thorough statutory compliance from time to time can be challenging since these regulations can change to be favorable or unfavorable to their organization’s status quo with time. And as the global business environment changes the statutory rules may also change. This is also one of the grueling challenges that CISOs are facing today.

To wrap it up

We have seen the different challenges that CISOs today face. From ever-evolving cyber threats and bad actors who have started deploying AI ML to budgetary challenges that CISOs face. It is also important to realize that being a CISO in today’s world can hurdle a lot of challenging obstacles in the form of cyber attacks. It is important for CISOs to realize that rather than deploying standalone security solutions, they must consider MSSPs who are better aided with the tools and expertise to combat the most immediate security issues today. 


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