Skills gap in cyber security arena worsens

It is becoming more difficult to find skilled cybersecurity professionals as the ever-evolving threat landscape continues to pose a challenge to the industry.
12 March 2019

Cybersecurity skill gaps are worsening. Source: Shutterstock.

Cybersecurity is an issue that is always top of mind for everyone in the business space.

Right from the SMEs to the bigger corporations, keeping networks safe while ensuring profitability is a core concern.

It is therefore quite worrying that a recent survey showed significant issues with the cybersecurity skills gap.

The survey was administered to 336 IT security professionals in February. Eighty percent of survey respondents said it’s becoming more difficult to find skilled cybersecurity professionals.

As emerging technology and threat landscapes experience rapid transformation, the skillsets needed will change as well.

Nearly all respondents (93 percent) also agreed that the skills required to be a great security professional have changed over the past few years.

According to experts, the skills gap issue continues to worsen, which is troubling, since cybersecurity threats only continue to grow.”

Additionally, security teams are in search of new skillsets to deal with evolving attacks and more complex attack surfaces as they include a mix of physical, virtual, cloud, DevOps and operational technology environments.

The reality is that it’s becoming more difficult to maintain critical security controls, and there are fewer people available to do it.

While 85 percent of respondents said their security teams are already understaffed, only one percent were confident they can manage all their organization’s cybersecurity needs when facing a shortage of skilled workers.

96 percent of them say they are either currently facing difficulty in staffing security teams due to the skills gap or can see it coming.

Of those, 68 percent are concerned with losing the ability to stay on top of vulnerabilities, 60 percent worry about being able to identify and respond to issues in a timely manner and stay on top of emerging threats, and 53 percent fear they will lose their ability to manage and secure configurations properly.

Respondents were also asked if they would benefit from outside security help and if so, in what areas, and the results made for an interesting read.

  • 93 percent said they would benefit from security help outside of their organizations.
  • 71 percent said their teams would benefit from security assessment help, 53 percent say penetration testing, and 51 percent say vulnerability management.
  • 94 percent said they have invested in or are likely to invest in managed services for security.

Because security teams are stretched thin, it’s going to be more important than ever to build strong partnerships. Organizations, therefore, should collaborate with trusted vendors to take pressure off their in-house resources.

Maintaining a strong foundation of security is non-negotiable, so it’s imperative that organizations partner across the info security community to continue meeting security goals effectively.