The cybersecurity workforce shortage is real, and it's going to take time and effort from every organization to resolve the issue. Filling positions will not be as easy as hiring new people or paying them less than current employees. In fact, it's much harder than that because there are many factors involved in mitigating cyber threats, and of those, the requirement of cybersecurity workforces is a paramount one.
According to a report by Cybersecurity Workforce Study published in 2021, the worldwide cybersecurity workforce shortage is all set to become a whopping 2.72 million by the end of 2022. The data also connotes that with such a shortage the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 65% to defend the mission-critical organizational assets.
The ongoing shortage of qualified personnel continues to put pressure on IT and security teams at a time when threats are becoming better funded, more sophisticated, and more focused on vulnerabilities exposed by remote and hybrid workers.
Given the reality that the personnel shortage is not likely to change dramatically in the near future, organizations have to develop plans and strategies to do more with less.
Let’s explore the current state of cyber-defense professionals’ shortage and how organizations can develop plans and strategies to optimize their cybersecurity mechanisms, even with lesser workforces.
You may have heard that the cybersecurity workforce shortage is a problem, but you might not know exactly how serious it is or why it's so prevalent. The numbers don't lie: there are more than 250,000 unfilled security jobs in the US alone and global organizations are struggling to fill their ranks as well. In fact, according to a recent report by Burning Glass Technologies (BGT), which tracks staffing trends in IT departments worldwide, there are currently over 6 million open roles for IT professionals across all industries—that's nearly double what BGT found back in June 2019!
As you can see from this data point alone, companies across every industry will likely struggle with finding qualified candidates for years to come unless something drastic changes soon. Not only does this mean we're facing an imminent crisis at our borders; but also because one of our biggest challenges comes down to what we expect from them: do we expect them to become experts on everything related? Or do we just want someone who knows how Google works?
The need for qualified cybersecurity personnel continues to grow, but the ongoing shortage of qualified personnel is putting pressure on IT and security teams at a time when threats are becoming better funded, more sophisticated, and more focused on vulnerabilities exposed by remote and hybrid workers.
Given this reality, organizations have to develop plans and strategies to do more with less.
What can you do?
Here are three tips:
1. Take stock of your current resources: What skills do you have in-house? How many people do you have who can fill these roles? What can you do to upskill those employees?
2. Look outside your organization: Do you know of any local colleges or universities that might offer courses in cybersecurity or specific certifications like CISSP or GSEC? You may find some options for training within your own community that could help fill in some gaps in your workforce.
3. Seek out help from experts: If you don't know where else to turn, consider reaching out to external experts who can provide insight into how best to address your needs and develop programs that will help advance your team's capabilities without sacrificing quality control measures or security standards necessary for protecting data assets from external attacks from hackers seeking access
The cybersecurity workforce shortage is a problem that is growing. It's not just a US problem, it's not just an issue at large companies, and it's certainly not just a small company issue.
The shortage is affecting organizations across all industries, including government agencies and private sector firms.
You might be wondering if there are actually more jobs than qualified candidates. The answer is yes, but it depends on where you live and what kind of job you want.
If you're looking for a cybersecurity professional who has at least five years of experience in the field, then your chances of finding that person are slim to none.
In fact, according to the Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage report released by ISACA and Accenture Institute for High Performance last year (and updated this past March), there were only about two thousand open positions across all industries—with just over one hundred thousand qualified candidates looking for work!
That means that less than one percent of people who would be considered highly skilled enough to take on such a position has already been hired.
So what can you do to mitigate the risk of cybersecurity workforce shortage?
One way to mitigate this problem is by having a clear understanding of what your organization needs from its cybersecurity professionals. This will help you hire the right people for your needs and ensure that they are properly trained for the role.
Another way is by implementing a comprehensive hiring process that includes assessment criteria, interview process, background check and reference checks.
There are several steps you can take, including:
Before you can start to plan for the future, it's important to understand where we are today. This will help us determine what our needs are, who will be needed to fill those roles, and what challenges we face in doing so.
It's also important to understand how cyber threats have changed over time—and not just the big ones like WannaCry or NotPetya that everyone's heard of (although those should always be taken seriously). A lot of smaller-scale attacks go unnoticed because they're not as flashy but still cause significant damage on their own terms: stealing data from an employee's laptop or phone at work; infecting a company network through email phishing scams; hacking into an internal system used by engineers working on software updates; spreading malware through spam emails sent by competitors trying to get ahead in business negotiations via stolen names and addresses (this last one is particularly concerning since many businesses still use this method).
‘Grow up and out.’ This strategy is used by many companies to mitigate the risk of cybersecurity workforce shortage, but it's not a foolproof way to prevent it from happening again in the future. The idea here is that you're going to train existing employees so that they can do more or hire new ones who are better suited for the job at hand. This is an effective way of mitigating risk because it lets you have more control over your company's operations while also helping you avoid hiring people who aren't qualified for their positions on paper (or even at all). However, there are some drawbacks: if word gets around about how much experience your organization has with this type of training program—and what kind of payouts are involved—then other organizations might become interested in poaching away key employees from yours.
It's important to research and identify the right solution. You'll want to make sure it fits your organization's needs, budget, culture, and security needs. You may even need to look at several solutions before you find one that works for all of these factors.
Once you've identified a solution that meets your needs as well as possible within its budget constraints (and if there is such a thing), then it's time to implement it.
In summary, we need all hands on deck to solve the issue of cybersecurity workforce shortage, and it's going to take a lot of time and effort from every organization. The good news is that this problem is not going to be solved overnight. It will require a lot of time and effort from everyone involved in cybersecurity policy-making as well as people who are working in IT departments at organizations across industries.
Most companies have a plan for dealing with security threats, but do they have a plan for managing the risk of not having enough qualified cybersecurity workers onboard as well?
How can companies mitigate the risk of cybersecurity workforce shortage? What are the benefits of having a proper plan for cybersecurity workforce shortage?
The answer to these questions is simple: it's all about planning. In order to mitigate your company's risks, first, you need to know what type of attacks are most likely to occur against your organization, then how long it takes them to execute their mission (i.e., how much time will it take them before they're able to cause damage). Once we've gathered that information together into one place and organized it into an actionable strategy—we call this "the playbook"—then we can begin preparing ourselves against potential threats by putting together our own playbook.
It's time to get serious about cybersecurity. The current workforce shortage is a threat that needs to be addressed head-on by all organizations and individuals in the cybersecurity industry. We have to take steps now before it's too late.
The cybersecurity workforce shortage is real, and it’s going to take time and effort from every organization to resolve the issue.