The security landscape is constantly evolving, and organizations need to stay on top of the latest developments. Analyst firm Gartner has identified seven trends highlighting strategic shifts in the security ecosystem that are expected to have significant potential for disruption. These trends are detailed in the Gartner report, “Top security and risk management trends.”

Taking advantage of these trends will help organizations improve resiliency and better support business objectives:

Trend No. 1: Security and risk management (SRM) leaders are creating pragmatic risk appetite statements linked to business outcomes to engage their stakeholders more effectively.

Trend No. 2: There is a renewed interest in implementing or maturing security operations centers (SOCs) with a focus on threat detection and response.

Gartner has been documenting a clear shift in security investments, from threat prevention to threat detection and response. The increased velocity, complexity and business impact of attacks, and the complexity and sheer number of security tools generating alerts, have elevated the requirement to build, or revitalize, a security operations center (SOC). Leading security and risk management organizations are reinvesting in SOCs or are starting to build or outsource this function for the first time.

Trend No. 3: Leading organizations are utilizing a data security governance framework (DSGF) to prioritize data security investments.

Data security is a complex issue that cannot be solved without a strong understanding of the data itself, the context in which the data is created and used, and how it maps to an established governance framework. Leading organizations are starting to address data security through a data security governance framework (DSGF) approach.

Trend No. 4: “Passwordless” authentication is achieving market traction, driven by demand and the availability of biometric and strong hardware-based authentication methods.

Passwordless authentication is starting to achieve real market traction due to both supply and demand. On the supply side, there is an ever-increasing ecosystem of software and hardware vendors that support passwordless authentication out of the box. On the demand side, IT organizations are moving to cloud-based applications, accessible by unmanaged devices, leaving authentication as the only security control.

Attackers have detected this weakness and are relentlessly targeting passwords with numerous well-crafted account takeover attack techniques. This leads to increasing demands for more secure multifactor authentication to replace passwords. Passwordless methods that, for example, tie users to their devices, perhaps with a biometric, can offer stronger authentication. This is a rare win for security, which achieves both increased security and usability.

Trend No. 5: Security product vendors are increasingly offering premium services to help customers get more immediate value and to assist in skills training.

The number of unfilled cyber security roles is expected to grow from 1 million in 2018 to 1.5 million by the end of 2020. Ensuring that the right resources and expertise are allocated for threat monitoring, detection and response tool implementation is paramount for long-term success, but where are these bodies going to come from? Gartner is starting to see security product vendors directly offering a fusion of products and ongoing operational services. This level of support goes well beyond simple break/fix product issues, and focuses on helping organizations get immediate value out of the products while improving the administrators’ skills level. 

Trend No. 6: Leading organizations are investing in and maturing their cloud security competency as it becomes the mainstream computing platform.

In a recent Gartner survey of technical professionals based primarily in North America, 40 percent of respondents indicated that their organizations would be spending the majority of new or additional funding on the cloud. As the majority of organizations choose to take a cloud-first approach, encompassing an ever-greater variety of cloud use cases, it is stretching the capabilities of the existing security team in multiple ways. Security professionals have found that it can be impossible to effectively secure use of the public cloud without new classes of automated security tools. Acquiring new skills is equally important.

Trend No. 7: The strategic CARTA approach to security is starting to appear in more traditional security markets.

At its core, the continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment (CARTA) approach is an acknowledgment that perfect attack prevention, perfect authentication and invulnerable applications were never possible. In futile pursuit of perfection, security infrastructure and processes became constraining and cumbersome, slowing down the organization and the speed of innovation. In a CARTA-inspired architecture, security controls are always monitoring, assessing, learning and adapting based on the relative levels of business risk, threat intelligence and trust that is actually observed. Network and email security solutions are two great examples of markets that are beginning to deliver a CARTA approach in response to the dissolving perimeter

Through 2025, technologies and strategies related to these trends will reach a level of maturity that offers leaders valuable capabilities in the effort to secure digital business. To find out more about these trends and how to address them, read the full Gartner report.