There aren’t enough cybersecurity workers to fill the open jobs. Executive support and involvement could be the solution to the industry’s growing pressure.
When it comes to cybersecurity, our teams of IT professionals work tirelessly protecting us—our data, our companies, and our millions of devices. But as cybercrimes and threats to our information increase, so does the gap between unfilled cybersecurity positions and the number of overworked, skilled professionals trying to keep our information safe.
The cybersecurity skills shortage continues to worsen, and studies show that 84% of cybersecurity workers are looking for new opportunities, mostly due to job dissatisfaction. In a world where security is key, we should ask ourselves if we are doing enough to protect and support those who work to protect our data.
Nick Hess, CEO of one of the top IT services companies in Portland shares his insights into the skills gap facing the cybersecurity community.
The Impact of a Cybersecurity Labor Gap
Many companies have already felt the pressure of finding the right workers for their IT and security positions, but the problem is growing. Estimates indicate that by 2021, there could be as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions in the industry.
Part of the increasing gap is the pervasiveness of cybercrimes hitting everyone from local governments to hospitals, schools, corporations, and even small businesses. In fact, small to medium businesses are often seen as easy targets due to the implementation of fewer security measures and not staffing cybersecurity professionals.
The growing employee’s gap, however, is also leading to an entirely different problem in cybersecurity: overworked professionals who are experiencing burn-out and dissatisfaction. In a report from ISC(2), some of the key factors impacting the industry include insufficient budget toward security, low-security awareness from end-users, and lack of executive support for security initiatives.
Where do we fit into the equation? In order to support our cybersecurity experts, it is important to understand their needs.
Supporting Your IT Staff
According to the ISC(2) study, some of the top challenges preventing professionals from focusing on key areas of cybersecurity include lack of awareness among other staff members, as well as insufficient funding.
One step toward resolving these burdens is to provide cybersecurity training for employees. The majority of ransomware attacks occur because an end-user clicked on a phishing email. This risk to your company’s data—as well as the state of emergency it creates for your cybersecurity team—could be prevented through staff education.
Another solution comes in the form of a budget. Not every business can boost their IT budgets, however, every company can give their IT teams an opportunity to share their concerns and express their suggested solutions. Even developing a long-term plan can help computer security professionals feel that the company is making strides to support their role.
Along those same lines, understanding and supporting what cybersecurity experts consider important security initiatives also goes a long way toward IT job satisfaction. If long hours and unexpected emergencies are part of the cybersecurity role, at least they know that everything possible was done to prevent an issue.
The Priority of Cybersecurity
The challenges of cybercrime don’t seem to be decreasing, so it is time we placed a priority on cybersecurity and those who implement it in our companies. If you lack cybersecurity professionals on your team or are having a hard time keeping the ones you have, you are not alone.
Taking the time to understand your IT and security needs, support your security staff, and give sufficient thought to improving your security measures will go a long way in keeping your professionals safe and satisfied on the job.