This post is part of the cybersecurity predictions 2023 series.
Jonathan Reiber, Vice President of Cybersecurity Strategy and Policy, AttackIQ:
The attack surface will expand as organizations consolidate IT and transition to cloud technologies to save resources.
Continued economic uncertainty will lead organizations to be more judicious with spending, and companies will look for proven technologies and ways to maximize return on investment. Technologies that can save money and increase efficiency will continue to be appealing to corporations that are facing budget reductions.
There will be an acceleration toward cloud-based technologies as organizations seek to eliminate underperforming legacy systems. During cloud transitions, the attack surface will expand in some areas as legacy systems remain open during and after, leaving organizations exposed. At the same time, the move towards the cloud will allow companies to have increased consolidation and better security in some cases if organizations are intentional and experience fewer personnel expenditures.
China will continue to be a top foreign policy priority, impacting U.S. cybersecurity planning and investment.
There will be a decreased presence of Chinese technologies in the American market. As the decoupling continues to accelerate, European and American companies will make less direct investments in the Asian market, given China’s bellicose behavior. American companies will work diligently this year to draw up plans for withdrawing their means of production from China given the likely increase of geopolitical risk facing U.S. businesses with any operations in mainland China. China's aggressiveness will also become an accelerant for cybersecurity planning and management.
We should expect to see the federal government and private sector take steps to prepare to blunt cyberattacks, particularly given Russian aggression and China’s bellicosity.
Most cyberspace is owned and operated by the private sector, yet governments are responsible for organizing their countries for war. This places governments in the position of needing to engage the private sector in combined defensive operations to counter cyberattacks, often on a voluntary basis in advance of hostilities.
In the coming year, we should expect to see a significant increase in public-private combined cybersecurity exercises, with a focus on China. Given that China's cyberspace operations are more aligned to specific campaigns around Taiwan or the South China Sea, the country will use cyberspace operations to achieve specific military objectives in the Asia Pacific region. The federal government and private sector need to exercise for large-scale China contingencies and discover defensive capabilities to blunt potential Chinese cyberspace operations against Allied interests.
The cooperation between the U.S. government and the private sector will also continue to improve in the new year. CISA will be at the center of national cyberdefense planning, with guidance from the Office of the National Cyber director and in partnership with the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. Zero-trust technologies will continue to be deployed across the U.S. government. We should see a rise in the testing of zero trust defenses and reports to Congress – including through hearings – about the U.S. government’s increasing cybersecurity effectiveness. Congress should push to hold the U.S. federal government accountable for real progress over the coming year.