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Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders

Executive performance evaluations will be increasingly linked to ability to manage cyber risk; almost one third of nations will regulate ransomware response within the next three years; and security platform consolidation will help organisations thrive in hostile environments, according to the top cybersecurity predictions revealed by Gartner.

In the opening keynote at the Gartner Security - Risk Management Summit in Sydney, Richard Addiscott, senior director analyst and Rob McMillan, managing vice president at Gartner discussed the top predictions prepared by Gartner cybersecurity experts to help security and risk management leaders be successful in the digital era.

Addiscott says, “We can't fall into old habits and try to treat everything the same as we did in the past. Most security and risk leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can't control it, but we can evolve our thinking, our philosophy, our program and our architecture.

Gartner recommends that cybersecurity leaders build the following strategic planning assumptions into their security strategies for the next two years.

Consumer privacy

Through 2023, government regulations requiring organisations to provide consumer privacy rights will cover five billion citizens and more than 70% of global GDP. As of 2021, almost three billion individuals had access to consumer privacy rights across 50 countries, and privacy regulation continues to expand.

Gartner recommends that organisations track subject rights request metrics, including cost per request and time to fulfil, to identify inefficiencies and justify accelerated automation.

Single-vendor solutions

By 2025, 80% of enterprises will adopt a strategy to unify web, cloud services and private application access from a single vendor's SSE platform. With a hybrid workforce and data everywhere accessible by everything, vendors are offering an integrated security service edge (SSE) solution to deliver consistent and simple web, private access and SaaS application security.

Single-vendor solutions provide significant operational efficiency and security effectiveness compared with best-of-breed solutions, including tighter integration, fewer consoles to use, and fewer locations where data must be decrypted, inspected and re-encrypted.

Zero trust

60% of organisations will embrace zero trust as a starting point for security by 2025, the analysts find. More than half will fail to realise the benefits. According to Gartner, the term zero trust is now prevalent in security vendor marketing and in security guidance from governments.

As a mindset, replacing implicit trust with identity- and context-based risk appropriate trust, it is powerful, the analysts find. However, as zero trust is both a security principle and an organisational vision, it requires a cultural shift and clear communication that ties it to business outcomes to achieve the benefits.

Third party risk

By 2025, 60% of organisations will use cybersecurity risk as a primary determinant in conducting third-party transactions and business engagements. Cyber attacks related to third parties are increasing, Gartner finds. However, only 23% of security and risk leaders monitor third parties in real time for cybersecurity exposure.

As a result of consumer concerns and interest from regulators, Gartner believes organisations will start to mandate cybersecurity risk as a significant determinant when conducting business with third parties, ranging from simple monitoring of a critical technology supplier to complex due diligence for mergers and acquisitions.

Ransomware regulation

Through 2025, 30% of nation states will pass legislation that regulates ransomware payments, fines and negotiations, up from less than 1% in 2021. Modern ransomware gangs now steal data as well as encrypt it. The decision to pay the ransom or not is a business-level decision, not a security one.

Gartner recommends engaging a professional incident response team as well as law enforcement and any regulatory body before negotiating.

Operational technology attacks

By 2025, threat actors will have weaponised operational technology environments successfully to cause human casualties. Attacks on OT - hardware and software that monitors or controls equipment, assets and processes - have become more common and more disruptive.

In operational environments, security and risk management leaders should be more concerned about real world hazards to humans and the environment, rather than information theft, according to Gartner.

Culture of resilience

By 2025, 70% of CEOs will mandate a culture of organisational resilience to survive coinciding threats from cybercrime, severe weather events, civil unrest and political instabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inability of traditional business continuity management planning to support the organisation's response to a large-scale disruption.

With continued disruption likely, Gartner recommends that risk leaders recognise organisational resilience as a strategic imperative and build an organisation-wide resilience strategy that also engages staff, stakeholders, customers and suppliers.

Risk performance requirements

By 2026, 50% of C-level executives will have performance requirements related to risk built into their employment contracts, Gartner states. Most boards now regard cybersecurity as a business risk rather than solely a technical IT problem, according to a recent Gartner survey. As a result, the analysts expect to see a shift in formal accountability for the treatment of cyber risks from the security leader to senior business leaders.

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