Alarming Cybersecurity Talent Shortage Poses Challenge to Corporate Security Demands

January 24, 20178:52 am1250 views

Quantifying the challenges businesses face around recruitment of IT security talent, identification of skillsets needed, the level of control exercised over their IT security budgets and other pertinent matters create cybersecurity talent shortage for corporate.

According to a study on cybersecurity resource limitations by Trustwave and Osterman Research found that corporate security demands still outpace the availability of talent at alarming rates.

Based on an Osterman Research survey of 147 IT security decision makers and influencers, the study shows that a fast-moving confluence of skill shortages, worsening threats and disproportionate spending habits is leaving organisations increasingly vulnerable to data breaches, malware, phishing and a variety of other information security problems, which could have serious or even devastating consequences.

According to the study, 57 percent of respondents say finding and recruiting IT talent are their biggest challenges. In fact, only eight percent believe three-quarters or more of their staff have the specialised skills and training needed to handle complex issues.

The report also found that more than three times as many respondents would rather grow their staff skills and expertise than grow the number of people on their team. Further, skills are lacking in key areas with about 40 percent of respondents saying their most inadequate skill sets are in emerging and evolving security threats.

Chris Schueler, Senior Vice President of Managed Security Services at Trustwave comments, “The shortage of staff to be able to solve complex security issues is an industry problem that continues to worsen, but the way organizations are going about filling this void is all wrong.”

“Typical recruiting methods are not proving fruitful yet, so we keep seeing enterprises simply throwing bodies at the problem – when what is really needed is better staff training, more budget support to hire the right personnel and additional assistance from experienced third-party experts to help amplify the more complicated and demanding areas of security like testing, monitoring and incident response.”

See: Global Businesses Face Vulnerability Due to Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

Other key findings from the Money, Minds and the Masses: A Study of Cybersecurity Resource Limitations” report states:

  • A good IT security staffer is hard to find: Finding and recruiting talented IT security staff members with the right skill sets is a “significant” or “major” challenge for 57 percent of organisations. Retaining these people is also viewed as a difficult problem by more than a third of respondents.
  • Most lack essential skills and training: The majority of respondents believe that less than one-half of their IT security departments have the specialised skills and training to handle complex issues. Only one in nine respondents believe it is “very likely” they will have IT security staff available to meet their security demands in the future.
  • A perception of high turnover among IT security staff: 36 percent respondents say turnover is higher among IT security professionals than in other parts of the organisation.
  • Most lack full control over their IT security budgets: Only 24 percent respondents say they have complete control over their annual IT security budget. While another 51 percent say they have partial control.
  • Some have little to no control: More alarming, 24 percent believe they have little to no control over their IT security budgets. Seven out of 10 organisations report disagreements between IT and senior management on budget and staffing issues.
  • IT security pros have difficulty anticipating future skills needs: One-third of respondents say they have trouble identifying the IT security skills and competencies they need. Nearly half believe the problem will get worse.

Michael Osterman, Research President at Osterman says, “We are in a time where organisations are facing a serious shortage of IT security staff members, both in the number available to fill vacant positions, and in terms of specialised skill sets that these individuals need to have. Failure to source IT capabilities can lead to a range of problems, resulting in data breaches and compliance violations.”

“Organisations need to ensure that their IT departments establish a close relationship with senior management to find ways to solve these shortcomings, whether by finding the right individuals or through hiring managed security services providers that can help address the gap and increase protection.”

Also read: Hacking the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

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