A core component to managing your IT assets is making sure that each asset is protected. With the global adoption of cloud computing, the prevalence of hybrid/remote workforces, and the rise of generative AI, there are more opportunities than ever for your environment to be compromised. Unfortunately, the problem is exacerbated by a severe cybersecurity skills gap.
According to the 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there are nearly 700,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the United States. The study goes on to say that globally, “nearly 3.4 million more cybersecurity workers are needed to secure assets effectively.” It is a costly shortage. The 2023 IBM “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023” found that there was a difference of $1.58 million lost during a breach, or 34.6%, between organizations with high levels of security skills and organizations with low levels.
Simply put, there are consequences to not having access to well-trained cybersecurity talent. The statistics are jarring:
- The global average data breach cost in 2022 was $4.45 million, which is 15% more than in 2020.
- By 2025, 45% of global organizations will be impacted in some way by a software supply chain attack.
- In September 2023, MGM Resorts International suffered a ransomware attack, leading to a data breach with an estimated $100 million loss.
As a result, by the end of 2023, global security and risk spending management is expected to reach $188.1 billion. This is expected to increase by 14.3% percent in 2024, totaling $215 billion. Investments in cloud security and data privacy see the most significant increases, with 24.7% and 24.6%, respectively.
The cybersecurity talent gap is not expected to resolve itself for quite a while. As a result, skilled professionals are in high demand, wages are rising, and smaller and mid-size organizations are being priced out of the limited market. Alternatives are needed to help those companies weather the storm and ensure that their security posture doesn’t decline and put them at risk.
Educate and upskill current employees
- Start by conducting skill gap assessments to determine where your employees need improvement. This can be done through surveys, self-assessments, or by analyzing their performance in cybersecurity-related tasks.
- Provide access to cybersecurity training programs, workshops, and courses. There are numerous online and offline resources, such as courses from organizations like CompTIA, ISC², and Cisco, which offer certifications like CISSP, CompTIA Security+, and CCNA Security. Consider providing financial incentives or reimbursement for employees who pursue relevant certifications or courses.
- Create clear career paths for employees interested in cybersecurity. Outline opportunities for advancement within your organization, which can motivate them to develop their skills further.
- Finally, it’s important to foster a culture of knowledge sharing within your organization. Encourage cybersecurity professionals to mentor and guide their colleagues, sharing their expertise and best practices.
Educating and upskilling your current employees not only addresses the cybersecurity skills gap but also fosters loyalty and commitment among your workforce. By empowering your team with the knowledge and skills they need to protect your organization, you can significantly enhance your cybersecurity posture in a sustainable manner.
Invest in automation
Automation can help streamline and enhance various security processes, reducing the reliance on manual labor, and mitigating the impact of the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals.
- Identify key areas for automation. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your organization’s security processes, including threat detection, incident response, access control, and compliance monitoring. Look for tasks that are repetitive, manual, and time-consuming for your cybersecurity team.
- Implement Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems. These systems can centralize and automate the monitoring of security events and incidents. SIEM tools can help correlate data from various sources and trigger automated responses to certain predefined threats or scenarios.
- Integrate threat intelligence feeds into your security automation systems. This allows your organization to receive real-time updates on emerging threats and automatically adjust security controls and policies accordingly.
- Invest in security orchestration platforms that can create workflows for automating repetitive tasks, incident response processes, and compliance checks.
- Leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to automate the analysis of large datasets for identifying patterns and anomalies. These technologies can enhance threat detection and reduce false positives.
By investing in automation, organizations can optimize their cybersecurity operations, respond to threats more efficiently, and reduce the burden on their cybersecurity professionals. This not only helps bridge the skills gap but also strengthens overall security posture. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between automation and human oversight to ensure that security measures remain effective and adaptable to evolving threats.
Partner with experts
For businesses lacking an adequate or non-existent cybersecurity team, partnering with a third-party provider offers a viable solution.
By teaming up with the right partner, you gain access to essential cybersecurity skills and resources. These expert security services encompass critical areas like threat detection and response, ensuring your organization is well-protected against evolving cyber threats.
Certain cybersecurity solutions are inclusive of fully managed services delivered through a dedicated Security Operations Center, or a SOC. Here’s what a SOC can do for you:
- Continuous Monitoring: A SOC provides 24/7 monitoring of your organization’s digital assets, networks, and systems. This means that threats are detected and addressed in real-time, reducing the window of opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.
- Threat Detection: Highly skilled security professionals within the SOC employ state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies to detect and analyze potential threats. They identify anomalies, suspicious activities, and indicators of compromise, ensuring swift and accurate threat assessment.
- Incident Response: When a security incident occurs, the SOC team is well-prepared to respond rapidly and effectively. They follow predefined incident response plans and playbooks, minimizing the impact of breaches and facilitating a quick return to normal operations.
- Forensics and Analysis: In the aftermath of a security incident, the SOC conducts detailed forensics and analysis to understand the nature of the breach. This not only aids in containment but also informs future security measures.
- Adaptive Security: A SOC doesn’t just respond to threats; it continuously evolves its approach to security. It stays informed about emerging threats and adjusts security measures accordingly, ensuring ongoing protection against new attack vectors.
- Compliance and Reporting: SOCs play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. They generate reports, maintain audit trails, and provide the necessary documentation for compliance requirements.
When choosing a partner or platform for outsourcing cybersecurity tasks, consider cost-effectiveness, scalability to accommodate your organization’s growth, reliability, and responsive customer support. Make sure that your chosen partner adheres to regulations and standards, ensuring that their operations remain in compliance with industry best practices and that your data remains secure.
While there is no knowing when the cybersecurity professional shortage will end, you can still take proactive steps to ensure cybersecurity becomes a top priority for your organization despite the skills gap. By cultivating a culture of security, staying vigilant, and deploying the right strategies, you can navigate these challenges and emerge more resilient, more secure, and better prepared to face the cyber threats of tomorrow.