Your Solution to the Cyber Security Skills Gap

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There is a human factor integral to the success of cyber security. Increased levels of threat activity have prompted the demand for skilled workers in this relatively new sector–so much so that the global unemployment level for cyber security is yet to exceed 2% (1% in Europe).[1]

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Historically, organizations viewed technology as the answer to cyber security. Buying the latest antivirus software led us to believe our precious data was protected from criminal activity. Today’s truth is quite different. Hackers are working around the clock to break through commercial security software and compliance software still leaves organizations at risk. Trained staff are required to supplement cyber security technology, providing vital analysis and response to the data they receive.

The limited cyber skills supply is driving up the average salary of a cyber security worker to a level many companies can no longer accommodate. The public sector is particularly hard hit as workers, heavily targeted by recruiters, migrate to the better-paid private sector.

However, a large paycheck may not always compensate for high workplace pressures. Understaffed and underqualified security teams may spend a disproportionate amount of time on high-priority issues and incident response, with limited time left for planning, strategy and ongoing training. Unlike many industries, cyber security rules of engagement are continuously evolving. Employees must constantly update their knowledge on new attack methods to protect their employers, and those employers don’t always provide this training.

In the race to hire cyber security professionals, HR teams need to revisit both their search criteria and recruitment methodology. Small tweaks to strategy and attitude can uncover a latent workforce. To hire skilled, trained staff, recruitment processes need to become more responsive and proactive. Organizations that adapt more quickly are likely to have access to more qualified candidates.

The global shortage of cyber security professionals

Global Shortage

Technology-based automation and emerging security AI capabilities are another solution. AI can be used to help inexperienced teams evaluate threats or process large amounts of data. AI will never truly replace a living, breathing team, but it can automate mundane, repetitive tasks, which allows security teams to focus their attention on strategic planning, assessment and real-time threat response and analysis to more effectively protect organizations. AI may not be for everyone, but for some it may prove invaluable.

For those looking to outsource services, managed security service providers (MSSPs) offer an immediate boost or fulfill the responsibilities of in-house cyber security teams. Delivering a wide variety of services from firewalls, intrusion detection, virtual private networks, vulnerability scanning and antivirus services, they are designed to reduce overall overhead while giving you access to specialized professionals.

As the service market for cyber security matures, it is changing shape. MSSP offerings are becoming more dynamic. Fusing security products and operational services with frontline intelligence is now becoming more commonplace, helping businesses get the most out of security software while simultaneously improving their in-house skills.

To narrow the security skills gap, organizations must be cognizant of the risks and rewards generated by current solutions available to them, both near and long-term. There is no “one size fits all” solution to the problem and as businesses navigate their way through their options, the impact of the skills crisis worldwide is an increasing likelihood of a successful breach. Positive measures are undoubtedly being taken to mitigate risk, but it will inevitably take several years of focused effort to get the situation under control.

  1. [1] CyberEdge Group, LLC (2017). 2017 Cyberthreat Defense Report.

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