Introducing the CISO Current: a must-read for entrepreneurs targeting the global cybersecurity market

By Yoav Leitersdorf

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of YL Ventures’ new initiative: The CISO Current, a report that provides entrepreneurs and the cybersecurity community direct insight into the strategies and minds of the world’s leading CISOs. Based on interviews with members of our distinguished Venture Advisory Board, you will learn about today’s most pressing organizational cybersecurity pain points and where industry executives are most prepared to invest their security budgets. 

This sets a new benchmark in our mission to connect cybersecurity entrepreneurs with noted industry players by putting them directly in the mindsets of our extended network of CISOs. In the following article, I’ll outline how this initiative came to be and our inaugural report’s key findings. I invite you to read the first edition of the CISO Current in full here and view our accompanying infographic below.

Opening the door
At YL Ventures, we regularly encounter talented and skilled entrepreneurs who are keen to break into the global market but often struggle to get their foot in the door. We strive to hold that door open and are always looking for innovative and new ways to make that happen. Our extended network of CISOs and cybersecurity experts has become a crucial asset in connecting cybersecurity entrepreneurs to the U.S. and the global cybersecurity industry. In the past few years, we’ve reinforced these relationships through the establishment of our Venture Advisory Board, which has recently been scaled up to include over 60 of the world’s leading cybersecurity experts. 

This ever-growing network is leveraged from pre-seed to lead and offers tremendous value to entrepreneurs in the ideation phase, through to the due diligence process, and post-investment. In fact, it’s never too early to engage with our team.  Our due diligence process provides direct insight and direction from potential future customers within our network—from ironing out concepts to pitching and targeting them. Our networks only increase in value further down YL Venture’s pipeline as our portfolio’s entrepreneurs are able to directly consult with our experts on go-to-market strategies and business development. Additionally, they can tap into our wide-ranging sources of top-tier cybersecurity investors.

Wishing to push the boundaries of this insider footing, we asked ourselves how we can leverage our distinguished advisors and extended network even further. From this, The CISO Current was born. 

Introducing the CISO Current
The CISO Current, spearheaded by our analyst Naama Ben Dov, was compiled by interviewing a selection of our leading advisors with an identical set of questions. Each question was designed to touch on a major aspect of our executive subjects’ responsibilities and experiences, ranging from operational efficiency to security stack budgeting concerns. We then extrapolated key insights and trends across their survey responses and compiled them into a succinct report. 

Among our questions was a request for our experts to identify the biggest issues executives currently face in their daily cybersecurity operations. We likewise asked them to share the fields in which they anticipated major future pain points. We also invited our network to discuss which of their currently manual processes they believed would be most improved through automation. Most relevantly to our needs as a cybersecurity VC, we inquired into the technologies, solutions, and value propositions they were most likely to either adopt early or engage with as a design partner. 

While this research was conducted internally, we believe it can provide much value and utility to cybersecurity entrepreneurs and members of the industry. We moreover found this exercise remarkably instructive and its future potential tremendously compelling. For this reason, we are endeavoring to publish regular reports under the newly launched CISO Current initiative. We hope that it will prove to be a useful resource for entrepreneurs looking to enter the U.S. or global market, as well as the cybersecurity community as a whole. 

Key insights highlighted by this report
This inaugural report offers fascinating and important insights into the cybersecurity market’s direction. It foremostly reveals that CISOs are refraining from investing in the next frontier of cybersecurity when their current operations lag and fundamental gaps persist. Their focus today is on extracting the most value out of existing security stacks and optimizing operational security management for ever-growing and increasingly complicated environments.

Our biggest takeaway this quarter, however, was surely the emphasis our subjects placed on their operational concerns over human capital and cybersecurity program management. Today, our experts are prioritizing their search for solutions that can assist them with managing personnel and products. This value proposition was overwhelmingly raised by this report’s cohort and is projected to remain a priority for the foreseeable future.

We believe that aspiring entrepreneurs should take special note of these conclusions and inject the following mantra into their startup development: In order to successfully break into the global cybersecurity market, we must recognize the growing immunity to buzzwords pervading the executive ranks of the industry and pay closer attention to how our solutions can fare⁠—or improve⁠—an organization’s existing operational ecosystem. 

For a deeper dive into these insights, I invite you to explore our accompanying infographic and our report in full here

Final notes
The CISO Current is just one of the ways YL Ventures guides and promotes aspiring cybersecurity entrepreneurs. In addition to leveraging the incredible relationships we share with our Venture Advisors and extended network to stimulate the growth of our portfolio companies, our core value stems from our mission to meet every Israeli-based cybersecurity entrepreneur, no matter what stage they are in.

We encourage entrepreneurs still in their ideation phases to connect with us. It's never too early to leverage our network to help Israeli startups grow and reach their full potential. So, if you’re an entrepreneur, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to YL Ventures’ partners Yoav, Ofer, or John, or our investment team members Michael, Naama, and Zsófia. We also invite everyone to get in touch with any questions about our inaugural CISO Current report.