RSAC Fireside Chat: Tightened budgets impose discipline on CISOs, resets security investments

CISOs have been on something of a wild roller coaster ride the past few years.

Related: Why breaches persist

When Covid 19 hit in early 2020, the need to secure company networks in a new way led to panic spending on cybersecurity tools. Given carte blanche, many CISOs purchased a hodge podge of unproven point solutions, adding to complexity.

By mid-2022, with interest rates climbing and the stock market cratering, CFOs began demanding proof of a reasonable return on investment. Today, with purse strings tightened – and cyber risks and compliance pressures mounting — CISOs must recalibrate.

I had a fascinating discussion about this with Ryan Benevides, a principal at WestCap, the growth equity firm founded by Laurence Tosi, former CFO of Blackstone and Airbnb. WestCap’s cybersecurity partnerships  includes HUMAN Security, Bishop Fox and Dragos.

Benevides shared his perspective of how the cybersecurity realm has become saturated with over 4,000 venture-backed vendors who are under tighter scrutiny as well. For a full drill down, please give the accompanying podcast a listen.

Despite this turbulence, WestCap views this reset as a positive development. Both CISOs looking for better tools — and the innovators supplying them — must now focus on filling gaps and meeting genuine market needs, Benevides observes. And this can be done by leveraging advanced technologies, namely automation and AI, he says.

He highlighted the need for tools that improve communication between CISOs and board members and noted that positioning cybersecurity as a business enabler will be a key to success.

Agreed. I’ll keep watch and keep reporting.


Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist Byron V. Acohido is dedicated to fostering public awareness about how to make the Internet as private and secure as it ought to be.

(LW provides consulting services to the vendors we cover.)


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Author: bacohido