Bridging Skills Gap in the Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape

by June 11, 2020


The relentless growing threats of cyber-attacks and data breaches have made cyber threat management a business imperative. Across diverse industries, businesses are looking for effective cybersecurity solutions to safeguard digital assets and ensure the protection of their customers’ information. Effective cybersecurity requires organizations to bring a strategic cyber culture that will help spread awareness among employees to understand cyber threats. This is imperative because most of the breaches occur due to internal errors, whether by the workforce or internal networks.

As from C-suite to various department managers play an integral role in securing their organizations, many are still grappling with how to make this role more effective. This is why most business leaders are actively looking for professionals with cybersecurity knowledge to keep run their businesses safely and smoother. But, the demand of professionals by companies is far greater than the supply of cyber talent pool which is creating a major lack of cyber talent.

In a global study of over 2,000 cybersecurity professionals, technology professional association ISACA in its report titled “State of Cybersecurity 2020” found that many enterprises are short-staffed, have difficulty in identifying enough qualified talent for open positions, and do believe their HR teams do not adequately understand their hiring needs. As per the report, 57 percent of enterprises have unfilled cybersecurity positions on their team at present. The report has further emphasized on diversity while hiring cybersecurity professionals. It noted that there is still a considerable gender gap as there are more men than women in most teams.

As the landscape of cybersecurity continues growing, cyber teams within an organization continue to struggle with identifying resources with the right skill sets. According to the ISACA report, most respondents said having a degree does not necessarily indicate that a candidate is ready for the job, while just 27 percent of respondents consider recent graduates in cybersecurity are well-prepared. Meanwhile, 95 percent believe hands-on experience is the top qualification necessary while hiring candidates, along with hands-on training is crucial for including professionals in their team as 81 percent reported.

Since the ongoing threats of COVID-19 around the world have already sent employees to work from home, the dynamics of a decentralized workforce has given rise to cyber risks. In this scenario, organizations must find the balance between the need to strengthen network capacity to house increased remote traffic and the imperative to secure systems, networks and data. They also need to acquire more talents in order to ensure security in such a crisis.

Despite these demands, the deficiency of cyber talent remains challenging for enterprises as cybersecurity ventures estimations show the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs will grow by 350 percent to reach 3.5 million by 2021.

However, to address the growing need of recruiting and retaining cybersecurity talent, businesses must rethink training and professional development opportunities that can help contribute to career advancement. They should focus on encouraging continuous learning and seek out for new technologies as well. Hiring candidates with diverse, non-traditional backgrounds can also have a significant impact on an organization’s cyber initiative as they can easily be trained in cybersecurity to make a great fit with the company.

Although, the skills gap in the cybersecurity world is not going anytime soon as it requires much more strategy, planning and investment to ensure long-term efforts in this field.