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8 things to consider amid cybersecurity vendor layoffs | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

2022 has been a heavy year for layoffs in the technology sector. Whether due to budget restraints, mergers and acquisitions, streamlining, or economic reasons, TrueUp’s tech layoff tracker has recorded over 1000 rounds of layoffs at tech companies globally so far, affecting more than 182,000 people. Some of the biggest tech companies in the world have announced significant staff cuts, including Amazon, Twitter, Meta, and Salesforce. Although perhaps less severely affected, cybersecurity vendors haven’t been immune. Popular security firms including Snyk, Malwarebytes, Tripwire, Cybereason, and Lacework have made notable workforce cuts this year, albeit for varying reasons from shifting business strategies to increasing cash runway.

In total, 34 security firms have announced layoffs or workforce restructuring since the start of 2022, according to layoff tracking site Layoffs.FYI. Most cited as driving forces behind cuts were a tightening market and the need to protect business longevity. While there’s little evidence to suggest 2023 will see wide-sweeping cybersecurity vendor workforce cuts of unprecedented scale in a tech sector that is faring relatively well, increasingly uncertain economic times mean that nothing is off the table. Momentum Cyber’s Cybersecurity Market Review Q3 2022 found that cybersecurity stock prices decreased 7.2% during Q3 2022, underperforming the NASDAQ at -5.0% and the S&P 500 at -6.3%. Meanwhile, the 2023 State of IT Report found that 83% of companies are concerned about a recession in 2023, with 50% planning to take precautionary measures to prepare for an economic slowdown that could see a significant portion hunker down on cybersecurity purchases and services, the report stated.

These are not monumental shifts or predictions, but they do reflect the ambiguous economic situation. They are also the types of trends that can cause cybersecurity businesses to assess and adapt their strategic positions which, as 2022 has shown, can involve staffing cuts. Reasoning aside, cybersecurity vendor layoffs raise several issues for CISOs and customers, not least security and risk-related factors. If you find yourself in the position where your cybersecurity vendor has announced cuts, here are 8 things to consider to put yourself and your business in the best position to weather the potential storm:

Can vendors provide the same level of support, communication?

First and foremost is the concern that security vendor cuts could impact a vendor’s ability to provide the same level of service support, Frank Dickson, group VP for IDC’s security and trust research practice, tells CSO. “Support is really underappreciated. When we do surveys of people who like their vendors, support always comes out as the most important feature, and it’s a huge differentiator. Does that support change? Is your field service engineer, the person that you worked with, going to change? What about new cloud configuration, scalability, those kinds of things?”

Netskope CISO EMEA Neil Thacker, agrees. “When a security vendor announces significant layoffs, customers should be most concerned about reduced engagement and communication,” he tells CSO. “Security vendors and customers should have an open and clear channel of communication to discuss any issues, challenges, and new requirements. If the ability to engage and communicate with a security vendor becomes difficult, it’s a clear sign that the layoffs have affected the organization in problematic ways.”

CISO should talk with their account managers or even senior leadership about how a vendor is managing layoffs, adds Ed Skoudis, president of SANS Technology Institute. “Businesses should be asking vendors a number of key questions: What are they doing to protect their portion of the supply chain? How can we be sure they don’t take their eye off the ball, but continue to protect us?” Honesty and transparency are vital, and amid challenging times, clear and decisive messaging from your vendor should reassure you that they’re positioned to support your business needs despite layoffs, he says.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.


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