CISOs’ 15 top strategic priorities for 2021

Mitigating third-party risk, baking security into the development process, defending against ransomware attacks, keeping pace with digital transformation efforts—these are just a few things that are top-of-mind for CISOs today.

high priority gauge

Security's all-too-frequent appearance as a front-page headline making topic has put CISOs in the hot seat as CEOs and boards worry that it could be their names next in news stories trying to explain how a breach occurred.

Yet the CISO message to the C-suite might not be all that reassuring.

Some 64% of CISOs fear their companies are at risk of a major cybersecurity attack in the upcoming year and 66% feel their organization is unprepared to handle it, according to the 2021 Voice of the CISO Report from security software maker Proofpoint.

In response, CISOs are adjusting strategies to beef up their security posture. They seem to believe they’re on the right track: Proofpoint notes that 65% of CISOs believe they’ll be better able to resist and recover from cyberattacks by 2023.

Of course, each CISO has his or her own security roadmap, but common elements have emerged. According to CISOs, analysts and security leaders, the typical CISO priority list today has many or most of these 15 items:

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