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Navigating the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy: Key Initiatives and Action Plans for CISOs

Navigating the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy: Key Initiatives and Action Plans for CISOs

The 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, released in November 2023, sets an ambitious goal for Australia to become a world leader in cybersecurity by the end of the decade.

In this article, we uncover what lies ahead – a brief guide outlining key initiatives, strategic imperatives, and the challenges that CISOs must navigate. Learn the challenges faced by fellow CISOs and actionable strategies that empower you to craft a path to success:

  • Adapting to Dynamic Risks
  • Fostering Cyber Resilience
  • Leveraging AI for Defender Advantage
  • Addressing the Talent Dilemma

Whether you're a CISO, security leader, or cybersecurity professional, equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies needed to strengthen your organisation's cybersecurity posture and contribute to Australia's vision of a secure and resilient digital future. 

Understanding the Strategy

At the heart of this comprehensive strategy lie six strategic cyber shields, meticulously designed to safeguard Australian citizens and businesses from the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

  1. Strong businesses and citizens
  2. Safe technology
  3. World-class threat sharing and blocking
  4. Protected critical infrastructure
  5. Sovereign capabilities
  6. Resilient region and global leadership

The Strategy's Action Plan for the next two years outlines key initiatives to bolster readiness:

  • Mandatory Ransomware Reporting: While this was implemented earlier in 2022 under the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Act 2021, the strategy reaffirms its importance and aligns it with broader cyber resilience goals. Introducing a no-fault, no-liability obligation for ransomware reporting to enhance understanding and response to ransomware incidents.
  • Cyber Incident Review Board: Establishing a board to conduct no-fault incident reviews and share insights for improved incident response strategies.
  • Data Retention Reforms: Reviewing data retention requirements, particularly focusing on non-personal data, to address risks and burdens effectively. This is a regulatory requirement for telecommunication providers to retain specific metadata related to communications for a specified period as outlined in the Strategy.
  • Secure-by-Design Standards: Mandating secure-by-design standards for IoT devices to enhance cybersecurity from the ground up. The thirteen principles guide manufacturers in creating more secure IoT devices.
  • Limited Use Obligation: Exploring a limited use obligation for information shared with the Australian Signals Directorate and Cyber Coordinator to ensure data protection and confidentiality. This measure emphasises responsible handling of sensitive information in the context of national security and cyber defence.

Key Challenges

As CISOs navigate this new landscape, several key challenges emerge that require strategic planning and proactive measures.

Adapting to Dynamic Risks

Preparing for proposed legislative reforms, such as mandatory IoT security standards, ransomware reporting obligations, and amendments to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act, is crucial for ensuring compliance and organisational readiness. Collaborating with government and industry partners to co-design regulatory changes and share threat intelligence can help CISOs stay informed and effectively navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Aligning with the strategy's six shields approach is vital for organisations to stay ahead of the curve.

Fostering Cyber Resilience

To build a resilient digital environment where citizens and businesses can prosper, be resilient to, and recover quickly from cyberattacks, CISOs must promote a culture of trust and empowerment through education and effective communication. By assessing current cyber maturity, identifying gaps to address critical vulnerabilities, and fostering a culture of cyber resilience while empowering employees to participate in strengthening defences, organisations can enhance overall resilience against cyber threats.

Leveraging AI for Defender Advantage

The strategy also recognises the potential of advanced technologies, such as AI and machine learning, to enhance cybersecurity and reduce operational costs. CISOs must evaluate and implement AI-driven identity security solutions to prevent, detect, and respond to threats in real-time. By investing in advanced technologies like AI to enhance cyber defences and streamline operations, organisations can bolster the effectiveness of existing controls and fortify their security posture amidst an ever-evolving threat panorama.

Addressing the Talent Dilemma

The strategy recognises the need to strengthen the national cyber workforce and provide guidance to employers to attract and retain diverse cyber talent. CISOs must explore innovative strategies to address the challenge of attracting, retaining, and nurturing cybersecurity professionals. By investing in talent development and creating a supportive environment for cyber professionals, organisations can drive organisational cyber maturity and navigate the evolving threat landscape successfully.

Suggested Action Plan

So, how can CISOs initiate the process to address these challenges? CISOs can implement a structured action plan to tackle them effectively:

  • Enhance Cyber Resilience: Conduct a thorough risk assessment and develop a robust incident response plan aligned with the strategy's objectives.
  • Strengthen Collaboration and Information Sharing: Improve stakeholder engagement and streamline information sharing for effective coordination.
  • Improve Stakeholder Access and Engagement: Enhance stakeholder access to cybersecurity resources and foster collaboration within the cybersecurity ecosystem.
  • Drive Measurable Cybersecurity Investments: Implement cybersecurity investments to address gaps and measure progress effectively.
  • Develop Trustworthy Technology Products: Drive the development of secure technology products and mitigate risks associated with emerging technologies.
  • Align Cybersecurity with Organisational Resilience: Embed cybersecurity practices within the organisation and adopt a risk-based approach to cybersecurity.
  • Advance Cybersecurity Culture and Talent Development: Cultivate a skilled cybersecurity workforce, foster a culture of excellence, and promote trust in cybersecurity practices.

By addressing these key points and concerns, and following a structured action plan, CISOs can effectively navigate the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, strengthen organisational cybersecurity posture, and contribute to the nation's vision of becoming a world leader in cyber resilience.


1192-24 CISO Executive Network


CISO Executive Network Sydney 2024 is proud to announce the welcome of Lieutenant General Michelle McGuinness and Acting Deputy Cyber Coordinator Joe Smith as the distinguished speakers. Secure your spot now to join us at this invitation-only and high-level intimate cyber security gathering under strict Chatham House Rules. To learn more and apply for a pass, visit this link.