(Note to readers: This is the second in a series of blog posts focused on how technology and cybersecurity companies can better prepare for an anticipated economic downturn. Read the previous blog here.)
At the moment, there is much talk about a potential economic recession. Whether or not it happens, or to what degree, now is a time to make sure your marketing efforts are as on point – or recession-proof – as possible. While the mission is always serious, the cybersecurity industry can sometimes be seen as too much ‘headlines and hype.’ Cybersecurity marketers will be most successful at differentiating their offerings by laser focusing on what is most important to Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) who must continue defending against a threat landscape that never stops morphing.
Recently, we published The CISOs Report, which reveals the greatest concerns of today’s cybersecurity leaders, the biggest challenges their teams face, and the priorities and plans they’re putting in place to successfully defend their organizations. Our team surveyed over 200 security leaders, who offered some timely take-aways:
- No organization is safe from attack. Seventy five percent of respondents were hit by at least one cyber attack that caused material damage in the prior 12 months. Sixty seven percent perceive the threat landscape to be worse compared to the year before.
- There are multiple threat vectors that keep CISOs awake at night, with ransomware, phishing/spear phishing and supply-chain attacks topping the list. Facing such attacks, CISOs see the greatest vulnerabilities and risks in third-party security weaknesses (i.e., connected partners); unpatched software and systems; cloud security gaps; and configuration errors by IT administrators.
Opportunity: That’s a lot of territory to cover, and CISOs likely need all of the help they can get to automate and streamline these labor-intensive processes.
- There are specific components of IT infrastructure that CISOs see as most in need of security improvements: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs); cloud applications (SaaS); cloud infrastructure (IaaS); and data infrastructure (databases, storage, file servers).
Opportunity: Adoption of these technologies accelerated dramatically when the world turned to remote work en masse. Cyber providers that can deliver practical solutions to plugging these gaps will serve customers well.
- CISOs continue to see obstacles in the lack of cyber-skilled personnel, alert/security data overload, and a low level of security awareness among employees.
Opportunity: None of these issues are new. There is continued need for providers that can deliver outsourced expertise; but also an increasing role for AI-based solutions that can automate rote tasks and provide observability across IT infrastructure.
- CISOs’ future cybersecurity priorities include better ensuring privacy of customer data; implementing or enhancing a Zero Trust model; better addressing partner or supplier risk; and better measuring their security program’s effectiveness. To help meet those goals, their shopping list prioritizes upgrading or adding some newer technology categories: network and micro-segmentation, tying to a focus on Zero Trust; container security, mapping to the evolution of application architecture and growing adoption of containers and microservices; and security service edge, a subset of the secure access service edge (SASE) framework, for consolidating security functionality needed for connecting to any cloud for remote and/or hybrid work.
Opportunity: Obviously vendors offering these types of technology are well positioned to tap this customer need. But there are many other kinds of security solutions that CISOs will still need and purchase, from security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) to cloud-native application protection, edge protection and more.
Cyber marketers can use research like this to make sure their marketing efforts are well targeted to customers’ priority needs in tight economic times. Cybersecurity investment must continue, but expect CISOs to be even more thoughtful and judicious with what they buy.
W2 Communications is specifically leveraging these insights on our clients’ behalf – to inform key messages, laser target digital ads, develop focused campaigns and create thought-leading content. Our expert team brings decades of experience in this always challenging, always interesting domain. We are here to help support your organization’s cybersecurity marketing needs. Contact us today!