WEF: state of cybersecurity 2022

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WEF: state of cybersecurity 2022

Let’s see what progress cybersecurity has made over the year:


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed on the use of digital tools in business and the home.
  • These advances in digitalization have led to increasingly frequent, costly and damaging cyber incidents.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 presents critical findings on how to shift from cybersecurity to cyber resilience.


Digitalization has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use such services as video conferencing ten times more than before. As the use of digital tools increases, so does the amount of data created. The World Bank estimates that, by 2022, annual total internet traffic will increase by about 50% from 2020 levels, reaching 4.8 zettabytes. If you were to store 4.8 zettabytes on DVDs, your stack of DVDs would be long enough to swing around the Earth six times. SIX TIMES.


The pandemic has also shown us just how interrelated all businesses are and how due to increased digitalization the global population has been exposed to a new level of cyber threats and attacks. In 2021, we saw critical infrastructure breaches and how one company’s cybersecurity can have a cascading effect on many others, from direct customers to end consumers.


Considering these ongoing cyber challenges, the World Economic Forum’s Centre for Cybersecurity has published the Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 laying out foresight and critical findings collected from more than 120 global cyber leaders. What are their main perceptions, concerns and predictions?


Bridging gaps in cyber resilience


The WEF’s research pointed out three main perception gaps between security-focused executives (a CISO) and business executives (a CEO). These gaps are most explicit in the following three areas:


  1. Prioritizing cyber in business decisions: 92% of business executives agree that cyber resilience is an integral part of enterprise risk management strategies, but only 55% of security-focused executives agree with the statement.
  2. Leadership support for cybersecurity: 84% of respondents say cyber resilience is considered a business priority in their organization with support and direction from leadership, but a smaller number (68%) regard cyber resilience as a major part of their overall risk management. Owing to this misalignment, many security leaders still express that they are not consulted in business decisions, which can hamper identification and mitigation of security risks and result in less secure decisions. Cybersecurity is still an afterthought in too many organizations.
  3. Recruiting and retaining cybersecurity talent: WEF survey found that 59% of all respondents believe it challenging to respond to a cybersecurity incident owing to the shortage of skills within their team. While a majority of respondents ranked talent recruitment and retention as most challenging, business executives appear less aware of the gaps than their security-focused counterparts, who perceive their ability to respond to an attack with adequate personnel as one of their main vulnerabilities.
  4. The ever-growing threat from ransomware. The survey confirms that ransomware attacks are at the forefront of cyber leaders’ minds. More than 50% of respondents indicated that ransomware was one of their biggest concerns when it comes to cyberthreats. In addition, 80% pointed out that ransomware is a dangerous and growing threat to public safety. Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication and were followed by social engineering attacks as the second-highest concern for cyber leaders.




Number three on this list is malicious insider activity. A malicious insider is one of an organization’s current or former employees, contractors or trusted business partners who misuse their authorized access to critical assets in a manner that negatively affects the organization.


Although there are many factors affecting cybersecurity policies, most respondents (81%) said digital transformation is the main driver in improving cyber resilience. A high percentage (87%) of executives are planning to progress cyber resilience by strengthening resilience policies, processes, and standards for how to engage and manage third parties.


Cyber resilience of small and medium businesses

WEF research proves that the cyber resilience of small and medium businesses (SMBs) is seen as a critical threat to supply chains, partner networks and systems. 88% of respondents indicated that they are concerned about the cyber resilience of SMBs in their ecosystem. In addition, almost half (48%) of respondents believe that automation and machine learning will introduce the biggest transformation in cybersecurity within the next two years. Indeed, these technology developments will almost certainly increase the already existing imbalance between attackers and defenders.




While cyberattacks are not going to stop any time soon, nor has any magic bullet been found to resolve all the issues in cybersecurity, there are self-explanatory steps that leaders can take to best prepare themselves and their organizations for an attack. Cybersecurity is not a separate technology. The ongoing shift from cybersecurity to cyber resilience is an important step towards a more trustworthy and sustainable future.


Fast-paced digitalization has provided a pathway for engagement and connectivity at a time when the world was supposed to stay apart. Its benefits are clear, but so are the threats. To assure we maintain a trusted, secure, and protected digital environment, it is imperative that leadership teams better incorporate cybersecurity and break down insularity both within and between organizations to improve cyber resilience.


Source: World Economic Forum

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