As security leaders know, the threat landscape is constantly evolving. As social, economic and political situations change, organizations must face the threats and risks that follow. The current threats concerning chief security officers (CSOs) in 2023 were analyzed in a recent report by Allied Universal.

The report found that 47% of CSOs cited economic unrest as a concern in the coming 12 months. Ninety percent of respondents said cyber threats that threaten physical security systems are challenging to operations, and 88% of chief security officers said company leaders are more concerned with cybersecurity than physical security threats.

CSOs anticipate that economic unrest will be the greatest security-impacting hazard to affect their operations over the next 12 months, cited by 47% of respondents. Thirty-five percent of CSOs anticipate a threat in the next year, up from 31% in the last 12 months. There is also an increase in threats expected from disruption of energy supplies. According to the report, the threat from war and political instability is also likely to increase, with 32% anticipating a threat, up from 25% in the last year.

Climate change is expected to be the second most likely security-impacting hazard, reported by 38% of participants in the next 12 months. More than one-third (34%) of CSOs confirmed their company has experienced a security hazard due to climate change.

Pandemics were cited by 42% of respondents as biggest security-impacting hazard last year, a hazard that is expected to recede in the next year. It is the hazard that most correlates with implementing more effective security — meaning it was the hazard most likely to drive companies to improve their security, according to the report.

The report found that people skills in frontline security professionals are more important than physical attributes of strength for nine out of 10 respondents. Global companies recognize the value of highly skilled and intelligent security professionals protecting their most important assets, with 94% saying the ability to speak multiple languages and 96% saying a higher education degree are important for a frontline security professional.

Twenty-five percent of publicly-listed companies reported a drop in value following an external or internal security incident over the last year. The two threat actor groups that caused the most security incidents over the previous 12 months were subversives — hackers, protestors, or spies — and economic criminals, where 39% of respondents reported experiencing threats from both groups.

Nine in 10 respondents said their company experienced some form of internal threat in the last year.

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