The quick development of artificial intelligence (AI) and new technologies has led security leaders to consider how to implement them in cybersecurity. According to the Netrix Global 2023 Cybersecurity Outlook Research Report, 22% of respondents said that they would like to see more AI used in cybersecurity this year, nearly five times more than automation, which came in a distant second at 5%, closely followed by threat detection, improved cloud security and authentication methods (each with four percent share respectively).

Interestingly, when looking at other findings around spending decisions, security executives said that supply chain issues and the growing distributed workforce are likely to have a more significant influence on IT security spending in 2023 than the looming recession. The study found that 38% of executives said that the looming recession would significantly influence their IT security spending this year. Instead, nearly half (48%) responded that their growing distributed workforce would have a significant influence, followed closely by supply chain issues (46%).

According to the study, the biggest impact that a looming recession will have on executive planning will be timing. Forty-seven percent of respondents said that they have already pulled some cybersecurity initiatives forward in their planning so that they would be complete prior to the economic impact of a recession. Meanwhile, 24% of respondents are proceeding with their 2023 cybersecurity plan timelines as if there will be no recession ahead.

When asked which cybersecurity threats were most pressing, executives pegged malware (39%) as the threat that concerned them most. Not far behind, both ransomware and data loss were identified as the second most ominous threats (37% each). Phishing attacks ranked sixth on the list, with 26% of respondents tagging them as their top concern. When asked which software/application is most vulnerable to security threats, the largest proportion of executives said that email (28%) was their No. 1 risk.

Another theme that was prevalent throughout the study was the pressing need for IT and security talent. The largest consensus (44%) of all respondents said that hiring qualified IT workers would be more of an imperative in 2023 than in previous years. Thirty-eight percent said specifically that they expect hiring qualified security experts would be a challenge in 2023.