Changing Information Security Risk Landscape and Challenges in 2023 and Beyond

Information security risk refers to the damage that may result from a successful attack against IT systems. This risk can lead to a range of security incidents like data breaches, noncompliance with regulatory requirements, reputational loss, and financial costs. 

Difference between risk and threat

There is a little and subtle difference between risk and threat, though they appear to be the same initially. While risk is a general term meaning something may or may not occur, a threat is a clear and precise danger that is there. 

What are vulnerabilities

A vulnerability is a solid and specific weakness in an information system, its associated procedures and control design, or their implementation, which a threat actor or source can exploit.

Information security risk management relies on identifying vulnerabilities, evaluating their impact and implementing remedial measures.  


Likelihood within the information security risk management framework is the estimated chance of a security event occurring that might adversely impact a company or organization. 

Likelihood in a risk management context is an estimate of the chance that an event will occur, resulting in an adverse impact on the organization. The likelihood of exploitation of a vulnerability can be determined quantitatively using statistical methods and predictive modeling.

The qualitative method of assessing the likelihood of an event is determined by using the intent and capability of a threat source and the target’s attractiveness, along with the nature of vulnerabilities and controls in place. 


Another associated term with information security risk is impact, which is a measure of the magnitude of harm that will flow from the compromise of a vulnerability and result in an adverse event for the organization. Impact may be categorized as low, moderate, and high. There may be even more classifications within these. 

Three Steps for an Information Security Risk Assessment?

All organizations with a successful cybersecurity strategy start with a comprehensive risk assessment. Though detailed information security risk assessment and its scope will be customized for each company, there are some generalized steps that a standardized security risk assessment framework follows.


The first step is the identification of assets and their associated risks that the company is currently facing or may be exposed to in the future. This step is the foundation of information security risk assessment; therefore, including all assets and risks in the identification process is important. 


next step is the analysis of identified risks and their likelihood and impact in case of happening. Since all risks are not equal in their likelihood or impact, they do not require the same level of attention. It is important to prioritize risk for prevention, starting from those with the highest potential harm.


After analyzing and understanding all the risks a company faces, it is time to address them by putting in place the necessary controls to minimize the damage in case it happens or prevent the risks altogether. It is also important to have an incident response policy in place.

The response to risks usually falls under the following four categories. 

Four Types of Risk Response?

Each risk will be evaluated individually to determine what kind of risk response is suitable.


Since the threat landscape frequently changes in information technology and with the introduction of new technology or obsolescence of older technology, new risks keep propping up. Therefore, it is not possible to eliminate risks completely. 

Risk acceptance or risk retention is a company decision based on a cost-benefit analysis of putting controls in place to tackle risk. If the costs far outweigh the benefits, the company may accept the risk based on its risk appetite. 


Risk sharing is a common risk treatment strategy. One such example is moving to the cloud. The agreements usually involve data protection controls to be put in place by cloud providers like Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services. 

These agreements help you approach the providers for corrective steps if a security incident happens. However, the primary responsibility for data protection still rests with the company itself. 


This risk treatment strategy involves transferring the responsibility of managing risk to another party. One such example is buying insurance for any adverse events. This can be a very useful strategy in case of equipment malfunction or a complete disaster. 


While this may be the safest strategy,, this strategy is limited. Because by avoiding technology or innovation, your company may not be well-placed to grow and progress. Any business involves all types of risks, and by avoiding risks, you usually decrease the chances of growth. Especially IT is a field that relies on trusting technology. Therefore, by avoiding technology, your company risks a final obsolescence.

Emerging information security Challenges for 2023

With the evolution of technology, the risks and issues faced by information security teams also change. Below, We list some of the most emerging information security risks in 2023 and beyond.

Use of artificial intelligence (AI) 

Artificial intelligence is being used both ways. Security solutions are using it to improve their solutions but attackers are also leveraging AI to create bots that act as humans and change their profiles and characteristics dynamically. This makes the job of the security administrators more challenging. It used to be a very high-cost venture to develop AI solutions in the past, but now it is possible to use AI even on personal laptops using cloud power. 

Cybersecurity skills Shortage

There is a definite shortage of skilled security professionals. Information security risk is now prevalent everywhere and in every company. However, the supply of professionals that counter security risks has been limited over the years, creating a big cybersecurity skills gap. 

Modern threats like deep fake technology and cloned identities are getting harder to manage. The information security experts that are needed for these complex risks need to be knowledgeable on a diverse set of technologies and environments. The companies must invest in recruiting high-level experts and dedicate resources to manage information systems security. 

Vehicle hacking and Internet of Things (IoT) threats

The data embedded in modern vehicles include cameras, AI controllers, communication systems and GPS. In addition, almost all modern electrical devices are connected to the internet. 

Hackers are exploiting the weak security controls in the Internet of Things. The criminals can use the private conversations, images, and tracking information linked to these devices and try to blackmail them with this data. The security threats from internet-connected vehicles are very real. Hackers can take control of their computing system and cause serious harm. 

Mobile devices risks

Smartphones are everywhere and are linked intricately with our lives. In addition to these, there are other mobile devices like laptops and tablets which are used both for personal and work lives. 

The wide use of mobile devices makes these an attractive target for rogue actors. Many organizations can control these devices while they are connected to their internal networks but once they connect to a different domain or different network, they may be exposed to information security risks. Also, these devices may not be running with updated software and operating system patches, making them easy targets for malware and exploitation. The only foolproof control is to not let these devices connect but that is not practical in the majority of the cases. 

Cloud security risks

Cloud adoption brings its own challenges when it comes to information security risks. Because of the complexities of multi-cloud and hybrid environments, its even more challenging. 

Cloud computing risks include increased endpoints, and almost all of these endpoints are internet-facing, which opens previously local computing resources to a global hacking scale. 

Information security risks in such environments need even more resources, advanced/centralized tools and skills because the systems are running even when the workday is over. 

State-sponsored hacking

One of the biggest security challenges of 2023 and beyond will continue to be state-sponsored hacking attacks. Recently, we have read about hackers trying to influence presidential elections in the USA. Nation-states engage networks of hackers to bring opposing governments to a crippling halt by targeting their core and critical information systems infrastructure.

This is a serious challenge because the hackers have huge funding from states. Some of these attacks are noticed by many go unnoted, though hackers steal nation-states’ secrets and information about military and sensitive installations. 

Information security risks are diverse, challenging, and ever-evolving. It is important to perform a risk assessment and prioritize risk treatment based on a thorough analysis of risks and needed controls. It is also imperative that this exercise is repeated every few years, especially when a major technology change takes place in the company. Using information security risk assessment tools may speed up the process.

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