Author: Erik Leong

Cybersecurity is at the center of every IT conversation — and for a good reason. But what should we expect for cybersecurity trends for 2023, especially as attacks increase in both number and sophistication every year?  

Throughout 2022, we saw countless high-profile security attacks, from ransomware to data breaches to hacks. Check Point Research reported a that global attacks in Q3 2022 were up by 28% from the same quarter the prior year.

We can likely expect the pace and prevalence of these attacks to continue into the new year, so here are our top 6 predictions for 2023 cybersecurity trends.  


#1: OT (Operational Technology) Needs to be Secured Yesterday 

One of the most concerning 2023 cybersecurity trends highlights a very dangerous vulnerability — operational technology (OT). 

OT is the technology that controls and monitors physical devices. These devices include factory machines, as well as any device connected to the IoT (Internet of Things).  

It is predicted that by 2025, cyber-attackers will be able to hack into OT environments successfully enough to cause actual human casualties. OT environments are susceptible to cyber-attacks because these machines and devices are controlled by technology that, in the past, may have been air-gapped from the IT Network but has since been converged.  This opens up a vulnerable path that is being exploited with grave ramifications. 

This frightening prospect makes the conversation of cybersecurity not just about data security and business interruptions but physical harm as well. Even the White House has responded by including OT security in the recent executive order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity.   

CISA is an organization that was created to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from Physical and Cyber Threats.  Shields Up | CISA was a slogan created to address a condition announced by CISA to draw attention to a temporary period of high alert associated with the expectation of a connected wave of cyberattacks prompted by either a widespread vulnerability or an unusually active and capable threat actor. 

To address this evolving threat, many CEOs and CIOs are looking to asset-centric cyber-physical systems to keep OT environments secure, as well as team training to handle potential breaches.

We predict that OT security will become standard in the next few years.  


#2. Want Investors and Business Partners? You Need Better Security 

The new CIO security priority is to ensure that the software supply chain is secure.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, up to 60% of organizations will consider cybersecurity risk when conducting third-party transactions and even business relationships. That’s why our 2023 cybersecurity trends focus not just on what your business is doing but who you’re doing business with.  

Businesses today use third-party and open-source software to get a lot done. The flexibility that these tools provide can’t be beaten, but their convenience comes at a price — security.  

Hackers are clever and know that while a company’s core infrastructure may be secure, there are potential vulnerabilities to exploit in the software supply chain. Third-party attacks are becoming increasingly common as a way to breach more secure businesses.  

You can invest as much time and money as possible into cybersecurity, but if your supply chain is not secure, you are inviting potentially devastating attacks.  

That’s why more organizations consider cybersecurity risk as an important factor during business deals, including mergers and acquisitions and vendor agreements. In addition, venture capitalists are giving more weight to cybersecurity risk when evaluating investment opportunities.  

Don’t be surprised to see more requests for information about your cybersecurity program during business discussions. To stay truly secure, every business must implement security standards to assess all third-party vendors, business partners, and acquisitions.  


#3. Trusting the Security Experts 

Cybersecurity is an ever-changing and complex field that requires specialized knowledge. One of the 2023 cybersecurity trends we’re seeing is that more businesses outsource security knowledge and expertise.  

Managed security services give organizations an all-inclusive solution for setting up and monitoring their cybersecurity.  

For startups who may not yet have the resource for such a comprehensive service, more businesses are outsourcing security consulting.

Also, we predict leveraging vCISO Services will become standard for businesses just starting out.  Consulting hours with Technical Advisors will be used more frequently to ensure the controls that provide the outcomes defined by the organization are realized efficiently and effectively. These strategies address the Cyber Security Skills Gap that the country is currently facing.  


#4. Identity Access Management is Crucial 

Many of our 2023 cybersecurity trends are a result of the needs of a changing workforce, including Identity access management.

With remote work, identity access management, which is verifying that those accessing the network and critical applications are who they say they are, has become even more critical.  

We predict that more companies will implement robust identity management processes. This includes multi-factor authentication for every single employee and application. 

Companies will also reevaluate their network infrastructure to ensure high standards for security. In particular, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) will emerge as a popular choice because zero trust systems reduce a bad actor’s ability to use identity as a way to gain access.

Plus, we are beginning to see Privileged Access Management (PAM) Services come up more often in conversations.  PAM consists of the cybersecurity strategies and technologies for exerting control over the elevated (“privileged”) access and permissions for users, accounts, processes, and systems across an IT Environment.

Organizations are looking to PAM to eliminate irreversible network takeover attacks, control, and secure infrastructure accounts, limit lateral movement, protect credentials from third-party applications and more.  


#5. DDoS Attacks Remain a Problem 

Of all the 2023 cybersecurity trends, this trend is an escalation of what we’ve seen in previous years.  

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), where a bad actor floods the network with traffic, leading to a denial of service, is not a new form of attack. These attacks shut down systems and can cost businesses thousands of dollars in delays.

However, despite the best efforts of security experts, DDoS attacks don’t seem to be slowing down.  

In fact, one report found over six million DDoS attacks in the first half of the 2022 calendar year.  

As networks grow, so does the attack surface, giving more opportunities for DDoS attacks. That’s why it’s critical to secure all parts of the network, including the edge.  


#6. The Bad Guys Use AI and ML Too 

Machine Learning (ML) is an invaluable tool for preemptive cybersecurity. ML tools can quickly identify patterns in data and therefore spot any anomalies that might indicate a cyber-attack. Plus, they can identify common characteristics of malware, helping to prevent new attacks.  

Problems arise when bad actors have access to the insights that ML tools produce. They can use these insights to avoid common patterns of cyber-attacks and continue to evolve their attacks to evade detection.  

ML and AI tools should be part of every organization’s cybersecurity strategy, but they should not be the whole strategy. Organizations that use these tools need the right data and expertise to make ML and AI work for them.

Using ML and AI tools as “set it and forget it” tools that do the work for you can potentially allow bad actors to use those same tools to infiltrate your systems.  

Our predictions for 2023 cybersecurity trends all show a commonality — cybersecurity will become a core part of every IT conversation. It’s up to every CIO to consider how they can improve their security posture going into 2023 and beyond. 


Bridgepointe is here to help you find the best cybersecurity solutions to fit your business. Talk to an expert today to see how we can help with your proactive cybersecurity plan.