Female Using Laptop Computer, Collaborating with Developers Online

The Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024 report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) details how the current threat landscape requires organisations to procure comprehensive support to fortify their cybersecurity.

The channel is well placed to offer this support, providing the technologies required to build layered protection, while also offering expert consultancy to advise on the best choice of solution to fit the specific customer requirements, integrating with existing infrastructure. The channel can also facilitate ongoing training and user education, which is especially important in a fast-moving threat landscape.

Here are four challenges, flagged by the WEF Global Cybersecurity Outlook, the channel can help address.

Navigating the cyber skills shortage

Amid rising threats, organisations must urgently attract and retain cybersecurity talent. However, the skills shortage has reached a critical level. Findings from the UK Government show that 50% of all UK businesses have a basic cybersecurity skills gap. Taking this a step further, the WEF Cybersecurity Outlook states, about the global landscape, that “the pool of available professionals is already too small, and the pipeline of rising talent is woefully dry. Year-on-year, more organisations lack the right number of people with the right skills to meet their cyber-resilience objectives”.

With a lack of skilled professionals, businesses cannot easily implement and maintain robust cybersecurity measures nor identify and triage threats or vulnerabilities in real-time.

Growing levels of cyber inequity

Cyber inequity is a growing concern. The WEF report explains that “In 2022, the cybersecurity economy grew twice as fast as the world economy. In 2023, it grew four times faster.” But while cyber resilience investment is on the rise, rapid innovation can create significant gaps between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Organisations with more limited resources and in-house expertise will struggle to keep pace, threatening the integrity of business systems and data.

As a result, smaller organisations are more than twice as likely to lack the cyber resilience to meet the minimum critical operational requirements to ensure business continuity, compared to the highest-revenue organisations. One example of this is cyber insurance – only 25% of small organisations carry cyber insurance, leaving many SMBs with fewer options to reduce their risk and bounce back from attacks.

Adopting emerging technologies

Rapid adoption of new technologies can often outpace regulators, grappling with the task of preparing guidelines for safe usage. For example, the EU AI Act to establish a common regulatory and legal framework for AI, was issued in March 2024, well over a year after the launch of Chat-GPT and the rapid rise of generative AI (GenAI) use cases (November 2022).

GenAI is transforming the cybersecurity landscape with its ability to simplify processes for cyber defenders, while also offering a whole new playbook for threat actors. Approximately half of C-suite leaders agree that GenAI will have the most significant impact on cybersecurity in the next two years, with 56% also believe GenAI will give an advantage to cyber attackers over defenders.

Organisations must ensure that, in the rush to adopt GenAI, they don’t leave themselves open to attack, or create unintended vulnerabilities in defences. Thorough testing is necessary to fully understand the cybersecurity implications of onboarding new technologies.

Cyber-aware CEOs

There is a growing understanding of the importance of cyber resilience among senior leaders, with the WEF Cybersecurity Outlook report stating that “Some 74% of CEOs are concerned about their organization’s ability to avert or minimize damage to the business from a cyberattack…. Executive leadership is using cyber incidents (29%) and reports and statistics (24%) to educate and influence their decisions regarding cybersecurity. This suggests that a significant minority of organizational leaders are professionalizing their approach to cybersecurity decision-making by bringing in sources that were previously reserved for security leaders or subject-matter experts.”

This growing awareness has translated into a significant number of business leaders seeing themselves as either equally or more exposed to cybercrime compared to the previous year. The increased understanding and appreciation of the severity cyber threats is likely to lead to greater cybersecurity investment.

The role of the IT channel

The cybersecurity challenges outlined by the WEF demonstrate a need for specialist support to foster resilience and facilitate continuity in the face of escalating cyber threats.

This provides a call to action and an opportunity for the channel. Firstly, managed services can play a role in helping organisations bridge the skills gap. The IT channel can offer continuous cyber-risk monitoring capabilities, as well as access to cybersecurity experts with deep knowledge of leading-edge technologies to help select the right solutions and maintain them, protecting business from costly breaches.

Managed services that include expert consultancy are also a cost-effective way to eliminate cyber inequity. More small and medium-sized companies will turn to the subscription consumption model to access cybersecurity tools that ensure resilience and protect from cyber threats, at an affordable price.

Finally, channel partners, in partnership with vendors, can help to drive careful and considered adoption on GenAI, ensuring safe and secure usage, with appropriate user training to maximise benefits without putting the organisation at risk.

The ever-changing cybersecurity landscape will keep evolving and delivering challenges. But with the right approach, the IT channel can perform the role of a trusted advisor to help address business requirements with specialist advice and flexible solutions for companies of all sizes.

Find out more

Read the WEF Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024 report here: Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024 | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

Contact our expert cybersecurity teams

Denis Ferrand-Ajchenbaum

Denis Ferrand-Ajchenbaum is Chief Growth Officer, Infinigate Group.