As the world continues to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many trends that we saw take hold, like remote and hybrid work, are looking like they are here to stay. Now as we face predictions of a recession, it’d be nice if we could look to those positive trends and make them really work for us in 2023.
Savvy leaders know that even in a challenging economy, there are opportunities for success if you are strategically bold and tactically efficient with existing capital. It will also be beneficial to take advantage of targeted segments of the business. I’m looking at the increase in cybersecurity compliance requirements coming from the bell-weather agencies like the Department of Defense, and seeing an opportunity for Zero Trust strategies to be further embraced. This makes the best sense for the growing decentralized workforces, and as organizations need a better handle on the shifting requirements for “people everywhere, your stuff everywhere, how do we protect it?”
With all this in mind, I see these as the top 3 security industry trends that we should look out for as we roll into the new year:
Trend #1: Zero Trust gets pragmatic
With the rise of remote and hybrid working, the traditional perimeter as we know it is gone. The idea of firewalls – port and protocol based authorization, are far outdated and just dangerous in today’s world. That is why Zero Trust architecture and networks are so important for a company’s cybersecurity strategy.
At its essence, Zero Trust helps reduce security breaches by removing this legacy implicit trust from your system’s architecture. Unlike traditional security, with Zero Trust, every person and system must be clearly authenticated and authorized before being given atomic trust for a singular access motion in the network.
In 2023, the hype around Zero Trust will fade away, and reality will set in with practical applications of Zero Trust. The security industry will begin to get its feet under itself in terms of figuring out how to talk with executives and customers about what ‘zero trust’ means and how it is supposed to work.
As organizations reach a tipping point of being educated in this market, established companies will reposition product portfolios with ‘zero trust’ messaging in order to take advantage of the opportunity. So while zero trust will get more attention (and we’ll all get hit with more buzzwords), we’ll also see a move into a state of practical implementations and measurable impact.
Trend #2: Sustaining your business in a pending recession
While the experts can’t agree on when/if we will see a definitive recession, it’s always a good time to focus on the things you can control to ensure the viability of your business.
There will be a definite shift in how people are looking at this chessboard. If I were to offer simple advice for businesses in the new year, especially in a downturned economy, I’d say be a good steward of the capital you have on hand. I think many companies got into the habit – due to investors and plentiful cash at low-interest rates – of thinking that they can always get another round of funding. In a bear market that’s not always a possibility. And that means only one thing: you must get back to the fundamentals of business.
The key is to focus on achieving profitability and focus on incrementally growing the business, while also showing that you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of your business, and how to apply them to drive growth, reduce risk, and improve efficiency over time. Support the investments you’ve made and focus on optimizing your processes that can keep the pipeline busy without over-complicating it all. Focus on the core markets your business does really well. In 2023, the market will see businesses taking more of an iterative approach to building out the business, its markets and products. Every year is a good year to build on solid fundamentals, and 2023 will be a critical year for organizations to be smart.
This will put you in prime position for when people begin investing in startups again that are innovating in this space. I fully expect a series of roll-ups and tuck-ins to be executed by private equity firms as they consolidate feature products into platform plays. The always-on consolidation within security will continue to drive innovation as the platforms deliver a new baseline of security capabilities to customers. This will push a new wave of startups to drive innovation above and beyond this new baseline.
Trend #3: Decentralized workforce
One of the biggest trends that will absolutely continue into 2023 is the decentralization of the traditional corporate headquarters. The new reality is that the best people live where they want to live.
This reality requires that businesses evolve and enable people to work in a way that respects their desire to have a happy and fulfilling personal life. The work-life balance that so many people have struggled with for so long has finally reached a place that feels attainable–and that’s in large part due to the decentralized workplace. No one wants a job where they occasionally get to have a life, too.
There are also other benefits to being decentralized, especially when you look at the distribution of people in city centers. Traffic is horrible and it’s not great for the environment. It’s a loss of personal time and productive time, and addressing it can provide a positive impact on both sides of that equation. People want their time to be spent in meaningful ways, not just filling seats in the office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. This is a major loss of opportunity, as that time can be used for better purposes.
We have the technology to have productive conversations and get a lot of work done. In the end, that’s better for the economy and the planet. It’s why we’ve always been a remote-first business – because as a company that sells a SaaS solution, we don’t need to physically be in the same location to build our product. All we really need is access. Access to the people and tools we need to conduct business.
Overall this year will pose both challenges and opportunities in the cybersecurity and technology industries. Being strategic and resourceful in a pending downturn, while embracing the decentralized workplace can help you not only survive, but thrive into 2024.