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AllegisCyber Capital 2022 Predictions: Weaponization of Data and 4 Other Trends that will Dominate 2022

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Weaponization of Data and 4 Other Trends that will Dominate 2022

By Robert Ackerman, Founder and Managing Director, AllegisCyber, and Chairman of the Global Cyber Innovation Summit.

Looking across the cyber investment landscape of this year gives quite a few insights into what the industry will be facing next year as we move to digitize the global economy and adversaries look to exploit all of the new vulnerabilities.

Zero Trust is 2022's macro theme

Next year we will see more organizations move towards the presumption of zero trust. It's a good metaphor for how we are going to have to change our approach to managing cybersecurity overall. There's going to be a fundamental shift away from the network-centric view of cybersecurity to a risk-based approach. And that extends everywhere. SolarWinds started people to really think about third-party risk, and how there is no such thing as a "trusted partner". If your trusted partner catches a cold, they're going to give you pneumonia. Trust has to be proven and it has to be validated.

Threat Intelligence goes pre-cog

We have to develop a new way to identify adversarial initiatives earlier, whether they are in the beginning stages of development or in a pending state waiting to be executed. In 2020, the average mean time to identify and contain a breach was 280 days, according to the IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020. At that point, all there is left to do is to write an after-action report and try to remediate what you can. That's not a good answer. Threat intelligence will be increasingly enhanced with global signal intelligence to extend outside the network and identify adversarial activity across cyberspace. This means seeing adversary infrastructure before it's even operational and detecting malicious movement running up and down supply chains before it knocks on your door.

Continuous Control Monitoring will help cyber grow up

Out of necessity, the industry operates with a knee-jerk reaction. Holes keep popping up in our defense and we plug them with our fingers.  We have to get a lot more prescriptive in terms of looking at our exposure and looking at our defenses. Where do we have cracks and where do we have holes? What areas get hit the most frequently? Where are we under and over resourcing? We will start to see more investments in solutions that provide the ability to measure our defenses in real-time, on an ongoing basis, so that we can prioritize the deployment of resources, whether that's capital or engineering expertise, to where it will do the most good and where it will generate the most value. 

Industrial Control Systems become ground zero

Five years ago, this was a market very few believed in. Today, as nation-state adversarial activity continues to escalate, it's recognized by the Federal Government as a core component of national security. When we talk about nation-state engagement in and around cyber defense, industrial control systems are ground zero. There have already been five recognized cyber-attacks on industrial control systems, all with nation-state origins. Foreign actors continue to conduct significant penetration and reconnaissance efforts that target industrial systems. The reason we have yet to see a cyber-attack that causes material destruction or leads to loss of human life is that adversaries are afraid to pull the trigger because of the potential repercussions. But that won't stop them from outsourcing the work to surrogates. We will see a lot more niche startups in this space looking to solve the distinct challenges unique to industrial environments. 

The weaponization of data looms over the horizon

The weaponization of data is going to be an entirely new vector of cyber that we are going to have to deal with. The global economy digitizes for efficiency, velocity, and cost reduction. But as we harden that infrastructure, adversaries are forced to innovate further. For example, in the case of industrial control systems, polluting the data going into the system can create an adverse impact on a physical output. Or for financial systems, manipulating the financial data flowing into automated trading systems could send markets crashing. The short-term impacts would be substantial. The long-term effect, denying people's ability to trust data, would be catastrophic.

Having spent over two decades investing in the cyber market, I can say that this market climate this year has been unlike anything we've seen to date. Record-setting cybersecurity funding topped $14B last quarter and may end up breaking $20B for the year. CEOs, boards of directors, investors, and others are finally paying serious attention to this space. Cyberattacks are an existential threat to the Global Digital Economy and we need to put capital, resources, and expertise behind the innovations that will be needed to mitigate our collective risk and address the challenges for 2022 and beyond.



Bob Ackerman 

In founding Allegis, Bob's mission was to build a seed and early-stage venture firm that would combine operational experience with an entrepreneurial spirit and a focus on forging true partnerships with portfolio companies to build successful and sustainable cyber technology companies. Bob has been recognized as a Fortune 100 cybersecurity executive and also as one of "CyberSecurity's Money Men".

As an entrepreneur, Bob was the President and CEO of UniSoft Systems, a global leading UNIX Systems House, and the Founder and Chairman of InfoGear Technology Corporation, a pioneer in the original integration of web and telephony technology and creator of the original iPhone.

Outside of Allegis, Bob teaches New Venture Finance in the MBA program at the University of California, co-manages his family's small Napa Valley winery - Ackerman Family Vineyards.

Published Tuesday, January 04, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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