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Navigating the Future of Cybersecurity: Top I&O Challenges for the Year Ahead

The “I&O Perspectives” blog series features interviews with industry visionaries and experts with roles in product management, consulting, engineering and more. Our goal is to present different viewpoints and predictions on how organizations’ networking, infrastructure and operations (I&O) are impacted by the current threat landscape, existing networking and cybersecurity tools, as well as implications for the future of SASE. As businesses continue to grapple with an ever-changing IT landscape, the insights from this series offer valuable foresight into the trials ahead.

2024-06-12 16:51:26


GBI, Industry News

Top challenges for I&O leaders

I&O leaders play a pivotal role in network security transformation by designing and implementing a robust infrastructure that supports the organization’s digital security needs. They are responsible for integrating advanced security measures, ensuring compliance with regulations, and facilitating a proactive stance against cyber threats. Their role involves balancing security with network performance, overseeing the development of resilient architectures, and driving the adoption of emerging technologies to protect the network in a constantly evolving threat landscape. 

Their focus is on reinforcing network defenses while enhancing service excellence and driving down costs, all integral to a successful digital shift in cybersecurity.

The Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations, & Cloud Strategies Conference shed light on the most pressing challenges these teams are expected to confront throughout the rest of 2024. Here are some of those challenges:

Accelerating Digital Transformation with AI, Automation

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation into cybersecurity operations within I&O presents a significant challenge. As organizations push to enhance security measures and reduce vulnerabilities, the urgency to adopt these advanced technologies increases. However, deploying AI effectively in cybersecurity contexts involves navigating considerable obstacles such as bridging skill gaps, managing budget constraints, and retrofitting legacy systems with cutting-edge solutions. 

I&O teams must pivot their strategies towards platforms that are inherently secure, adaptable to continuous change, and tailored to meet customer demands. This strategic shift is essential for building resilient and responsive IT operations that not only protect against evolving security threats but also foster innovation and drive customer satisfaction. 

Embracing Complexity in Multi-Cloud & Hybrid environments

As more organizations adopt multi-cloud and hybrid strategies to bolster resilience and flexibility, managing these environments becomes increasingly complex. 

I&O leaders must ensure seamless operation across different platforms, which involves tackling interoperability issues, managing data governance, and optimizing costs–all without sacrificing performance. This involves staying abreast of emerging cloud security technologies, understanding the complexities of cloud environments, and implementing robust cloud governance frameworks. They must also focus on integrating advanced security measures like zero-trust architectures and automated threat detection and response systems.

Fortifying Cybersecurity Posture

In an era where cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, I&O teams are under immense pressure to fortify their defenses. The challenge is twofold: safeguarding an increasingly diverse array of assets, from on-premises hardware to multi-cloud environments, and ensuring compliance with a growing landscape of regulatory requirements.

With more than 60% of users’ traffic destined to the cloud, instead of routing all traffic through centralized security appliances, organizations must process it closer to the user with a cloud-based solution known as secure access service edge (SASE). SASE allows IT teams to seamlessly integrate and consistently deliver a comprehensive suite of network and security services to support the needs of digital business, edge computing, and workforce mobility. According to Gartner, by 2025, 80% of enterprises will have adopted a strategy to unify web, cloud services and private application access using a SASE/SSE architecture, up from 20% in 2021.

Prioritizing Infrastructure agility

In the rapidly evolving landscape of IT security, I&O leaders are tasked with optimizing their cybersecurity strategies and infrastructure to remain resilient against sophisticated cyber threats while supporting dynamic business needs. In the context of hybrid environments, data breaches have been noted to cost organizations an average of $4.45 million. This statistic highlights the critical need for agile security practices that can adapt to the complexities of hybrid IT infrastructures and to evolving new threats. Enhancing agility not only helps in responding quickly to potential cyber incidents but also in adopting proactive security measures. 

Balancing Cost Management with Cybersecurity Innovation

Due to uncertain economic conditions, infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders face increasing pressure to optimize their network and cybersecurity budgets. With economic uncertainties looming, I&O leaders must do more with less, making strategic decisions about where to allocate limited resources to maximize impact and enhance security effectively. This often means prioritizing investments in technology that drive the most significant returns in improving security posture, operational efficiency, and overall business resilience.

Navigating the Future of Cybersecurity

I&O leaders are tasked with crafting forward-thinking strategies that leverage technological advances to bolster security measures, ensuring their organizations lead the charge in protecting digital assets and influencing positive business outcomes.

To navigate these challenges, I&O leaders must be proactive and strategic. This involves embracing a culture of continuous learning and innovation, fostering collaborations across departments including networking and security, and leveraging data analytics to make informed decisions. Moreover, adopting a flexible approach to technology implementation—such as using scalable security cloud services—can help manage costs and adapt to changing business needs.

Stay tuned for the upcoming installments of our I&O Perspective series.

Learn more about why Netskope was named a Leader in both the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge and the Forrester Wave™: Security Service Edge (SSE) Solutions, Q1 2024 reports. And for more about choosing the right partner for your SASE journey, check out this video featuring Netskope CEO, Sanjay Beri.