Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

7 Solutions for Combatting the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

The demand for cybersecurity is huge right now and not slowing down anytime soon. It's an approximately $352 billion industry that is growing at a 15% rate through 2026. 

Cybersecurity is healthy and necessary to the economy and several industries, but there also exists a skills gap that is posing its own set of challenges. Companies are trying their best to keep up with the demand, and we're seeing shifts in the field as a result.

These tips will help you address the cybersecurity talent shortage in a way that makes sense for your business. 


Know What Challenges You're Facing

You must unpack the biggest challenges at play in the cybersecurity industry so that you can address them head-on. Anytime skills gaps exist, jobs go unfilled and companies have a tough time filling roles. 

If you'd like to close this gap by overcoming the skills shortage, examining the issue piece by piece will get you results. 

So, how can you make that happen?

Study the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

In a sobering report, the cybersecurity skills gap is responsible for 80% of breaches today. This is a reason for alarm and a clear reason to make sure your pros are skilled and capable. 

If you can close the skills gap without strictly bringing in new people, it decreases turnover and increases continuity in your company. So, just how bad is the cybersecurity talent shortage when you take a look at the numbers?

The field is short approximately 3 million workers as a whole. This means that even with every crop of graduates or fresh cybersecurity pros gaining their certifications, they're simply not skilled enough to meet the growing demand.

Cybersecurity Issues Are on the Rise

To compound matters, cyber attacks and breaches are becoming more prevalent and affecting companies in all industries. Cyber crimes are on track to create nearly $11 trillion in damages by 2025. 

This denotes that cyber crimes are big business, and companies need to be vigilant about their managed detection and response (MDR) strategies. Breaches and attacks aren't just increasing in frequency – they're also becoming more advanced, varied, and different. 

These needs drive up the demand, and only the best-trained cybersecurity pros can keep up with it. 

If your company deals in consumer products, you consistently have an influx of new customers choosing to trust your brand. This requires trained cybersecurity professionals that can keep transactions secure and protect sensitive information.  

The Great Resignation Is Hitting All Industries

Recognize that a lot of the shift with the skills gap isn't limited to cybersecurity or IT. The Great Resignation is a phenomenon affecting business and commerce as a whole. 

This refers to a massive, widespread movement of workers quitting their jobs for various reasons. Some of the purported reasons for these resignations include:

  • The desire to make life changes after living through the pandemic
  • Disillusion with a work-first lifestyle
  • Dissatisfaction with particular career fields
  • Low pay and jobs not taking care of their employees
  • Few opportunities for advancement
  • An overall sense of job burnout and poor health
  • People have gotten used to working remotely and spending more time with their families

Since this resignation trend reaches all industries, it's an issue that requires your attention to maneuver around. Understanding these parameters can help you adjust accordingly. 

We've reached 20-year highs for resignations recently, and this Great Resignation is showing no signs of slowing down. Losing valuable cybersecurity skills in the workplace due to this movement only makes these professionals more difficult to replace. 

Examine Your Company's Cybersecurity Needs

Now, that you understand the landscape of what you're facing, take time to examine your business and how you can make changes to deal with the skills gap. More than 40% of cyber breaches hit small businesses. 

If you run a small business, you're particularly vulnerable to attacks and should figure out how to keep skilled pros in your office at all times. 

Here are seven simple steps you can take:

1.) Keep Your Information Technology (IT) Team Lean

You don't necessarily have to out-hire the competition to cope with the skills gap. Instead, use all of your time, energy, and resources for a smaller, more dedicated team. 

A lean Information Technology (IT) team is a best-case scenario for your business today. It reduces your overhead costs while putting your attention where it really matters. With a leaner team of professionals, your company can focus strictly on risk management and mitigation, rather than arbitrarily monitoring. 

Think of it like having a couple of seasoned off-duty officers to secure your property, rather than several unarmed guards patrolling in shifts. By having a smaller, dedicated cybersecurity staff, they'll learn more about your company's needs on a deeper level. 

This institutional knowledge gives you better cybersecurity service while always having the most skilled pros. 

2.) Outsource Your Cybersecurity Needs

Another approach is to contract with a company that can give you thorough cybersecurity work. This means that you're hiring a company on a retainer rather than paying salaries. 

Outsourcing gives you a better shot at having nothing but skilled pros working out your security needs. You're leaving the hiring and training up to another company so that it's not a long-term investment that you have to make. 

Whenever you outsource your cybersecurity, you'll enjoy benefits like:

  • It reduces your company's overhead and operating costs
  • You get a dream team of pros with multiple disciplines, experiences, and expertise
  • They're better able to coordinate and handle attacks quickly and completely
  • You can get preventative help that stops cyber threats in their tracks
  • They often can work remotely and around the clock
  • Pros are more likely to be up-to-date on skills and certifications
  • Lightening the workload for people in your building

Companies that provide outsourced cybersecurity services work with companies of all sizes and types. 

3.) Security Automation Is Becoming Essential

Automation is a way for you to move with the changing times while also addressing the cybersecurity skills gap. Not only are cyber criminals increasing their frequency of attacks, but they're also investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to stay steps ahead. 

Companies today are having to fight fire with fire by automating their cybersecurity. This can predict and get in front of even the most sophisticated cyber attacks without you having to hire more manpower to account for them. It's another way to also close the skills gap without needing to hire more people. 

Automating your cybersecurity will also help you to prevent any holes, lapses, or oversights that are commonplace. Using AI lets you carry out audits and always know your company's ability to handle breaches and threats in real-time. 

Cybersecurity automation can help you out by:

  • Minimizing the cost of a breach to save your company potential millions in damages
  • Customizing your incident response and scaling with your business
  • Improving the way that your company manages data
  • Creating an infinite number of scenarios and simulations to prepare for cyber attacks
  • Ramping up your software security and certifications

It's a constantly evolving process that will keep paying off in more ways than one. 

4.) Make Learning Part of Your Company's Culture

Learning and continuing education need to remain part of your company's culture to stay ahead of the curve with cybersecurity practices. Even a small team can keep up with and close the skills gap when this is a priority. 

Proactively help your cybersecurity professionals by investing in their education. Offer training, courses, and testing for certifications that are the most in-demand. Your professionals will appreciate that they can level up in skill without having to come out of pocket. This makes your company attractive to new hires and can help increase your retention numbers. 

Some of the most important certifications to consider include:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Incident Handler (CIH)
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)
  • EC-Council Certified Security Analyst

You remove the need to bring in fresh talent when you continuously invest in your in-house pros. When you lower turnover, you increase familiarity and capability, which is best for your company's cybersecurity needs in the long run. 

There's no reason you can't push continuing education since there's an abundance of free resources available. Point your employees toward some of the following:

  • Infosecurity Magazine
  • Dark Reading blog
  • Maddie Stone's Twitter account
  • BarCode podcast
  • Down the Security Rabbit Hole

Consider holding some brown bag sessions where your professionals can share what they've learned. 

5.) Prioritize Mentorship and Opportunities

Education aside, make sure you're building your company culture in all regards. This will help you foster growth and make sure that everyone in your company has the opportunity to advance. As your company evolves and implements digital changes, make sure that senior mentors are coaching people along every step of the way. 

Having solid mentors in place contextualizes every move you make so that your cybersecurity pros understand the "why" behind it. It's easy to get left behind with such rapid evolution. Many employees suffer in silence rather than admitting that they're lost or having trouble grasping new skills and protocols. 

Providing guidance every step of the way will do away with this issue while keeping everyone's skills up to par, from the most senior professional to your newest. 

6.) Diversify as Much as Possible

Workforces in all industries today need to make diversification a priority. Not only does this reflect the world that we live in, but it also drives innovation and change within the company. 

When you have diversity in your workforce, your company naturally becomes more open to change and staying with the times. This leads to cybersecurity pros that are more skilled. They're also more likely to collaborate and pass on what they learned, making your company more secure and competitive at the same time. 

Fine-tune your hiring practices so that diversity is part of your company's initiatives. By bringing in the best candidates the first time, you're more likely to keep cybersecurity professionals for many years to come, getting the best return on investment from the hiring process. 

7.) Invest in the Retention of Your Pros

Rather than filling your building with new and talented pros each year, make it a goal to keep your employees for as long as you can. This requires you to offer competitive salaries, consistently provide incentives, and make your workplace somewhere that professionals will want to grow. 

Learn the mindset and what drives millennial professionals, since this generation is now the largest part of the workforce, and will be for the next several years. It is a generation that's no longer content with staying at one company for their entire careers and has motivations that extend beyond the paycheck. 

Consider offering hybrid scheduling and remote positions, since this is what the workforce demands and prefers in this day and age. Allow open channels of communication for feedback, and move beyond the 9-to-5 cubicle model of working. 

Put results at the top of your priority list so that you can get past increasingly outdated ways of running an office. The end result is that you'll get an office full of cybersecurity professionals who love where they work, and who want to use their skills for your company rather than elsewhere. 

Fixing the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

The cybersecurity talent shortage is a challenge, but that doesn't mean it has to be a problem. Start with the tips above so you can start chipping away at the cybersecurity skills gap. Then, if you'd like to learn more, we recommend watching our "How to Overcome the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage" webinar.

Build a SOC

 

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