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Chief Information Security Officers, or CISOs, have had a very busy two years. As a result of the ongoing digital transformation spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, their role has become far more important as they approach digitizing entire enterprises and organizations. Safeguarding their systems, which often utilizes numerous ad hoc solutions that fill needs as they appear, is even more challenging. While this approach has allowed for the rapid and fast-paced adaption of technology, many CISOs in 2022 are looking to revisit those solutions and find ways to optimize.

For Cisco partners, this presents an opportunity to bolster their businesses. As CISOs begin to push their organizations toward reworking their IT models, being prepared to offer and supply needed solutions can mean the difference between losing business and leveraging it into something bigger.

To better understand what CISOs may need and how to preempt those needs, Cisco recently published a blog post that highlighted some of the top-of-mind issues for CISOs in 2022. Each issue is based on conversations and roundtables that featured these executives and while each is important, three stand out as some of the most important for CISOs looking to get ahead in the new year.

Better Communication with the Board
Any conversation about optimizing a network for hybrid work will include a range of individuals. The discussion can’t stay within the IT department and needs to include decision-makers all the way up to the C-suite.  To be successful in creating a hybrid work environment, this buy-in from leaders across the organization must be constant and not only when there is a crisis. All too often management might view IT issues as a lower priority, but the outsized role it now plays demands that it be placed at the top.

Organizations like these will likely have three main priorities to build that communication between their levels, the first being the creation of a structured governance model that includes high-level representation. The second will be to work out a set of KPIs that reflect the needs of their business. The third is to find ways to showcase how cybersecurity is crucial to everyday business operations. There is a great opportunity with organizations working toward clearer communication on all of those fronts. Right now, organizations are in flux, and being able to provide the solutions they need to enable a new and improved system will be a welcome start to any new business deal. As the old axiom notes: “Bring solutions, not problems.”

More Focus on Data and Privacy
Data has become the new lifeblood of business, and as such, it has taken on a larger role in how companies operate. Utilizing data, companies now can better serve their customers while also finding new revenue streams. Data has also become an easy target, however, for many cybercriminals. Most recent cyberattacks against organizations have featured some element of data exfiltration. These attacks become even more devastating when conducted against organizations that host and retain sensitive information. As such, there has been a renewed focus on the responsibility of organizations to defend themselves better.

When considering the needs and expectations of those in the Cisco community in 2022, the role that data plays, and the increased importance that it has gained, must be a priority. Presenting solutions, coupled with expertise on local, regional, and national law, can make a difference when dealing with data-minded organizations. IT channel partners in 2022 must understand how their solutions can help organizations verify user identities, check the health of user devices, and secure access across applications.

Managing Security Debt
The third top-of-mind issue for CISOs in 2022 is to start tackling their security debt. In a broad stroke, security debt is the accumulated total of outdated technology that hosts vulnerabilities. This debt has increased over the last two years as organizations worked to integrate backward-capability into their networks and increase the overall number of devices that users could use. While this was beneficial in the early days of digital transformation, now it is presenting significant security vulnerabilities.

For IT channel partners, this issue will be difficult to address. The need for organizations to operate continuously makes switching devices as easy as “replacing a tire while doing 80 mph down the highway.” Instead, partners should help their organizations plan out their replacement solutions. This also presents an opportunity for partners to offer new solutions that will help address many of the ad-hoc fixes made over the last two years.

Ultimately, CISOs in 2022 will center their priorities around adaption to the new norm. Hybrid work is here to stay, the remote worker is here to stay, and the increased connectivity that customers and organizations expect is here to stay. For IT channel partners looking to build their business in 2022, understanding how their solutions fit into those top-of-mind issues above will help them create long-lasting business partners and provide the necessary framework to best approach their solutions into the future.

To read the full blog post, click here.