3 Ways to Bridge the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Posted by: Batya Steinherz
July 11, 2024
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3 Ways to Bridge the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

By 2025, thanks to the millions of unfilled cybersecurity positions, cybercrime damages are projected to reach $10.5 trillion. As it turns out, despite the fact that between 2022 and 2023, the cybersecurity workforce increased by 8.7%, there simply aren’t enough qualified professionals to defend against emerging cyberthreats. 

And the solution may not be about just increasing the supply of cybersecurity workers. Rather, a multi-dimensional approach is needed – one that enables collaboration across people, processes, and technologies within and beyond organizations.

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the growing cybersecurity skills gap – where it came from, and what can be done to close it.

Mind the (Cybersecurity Hiring) Gap

As organizations – and their attack surfaces – grow and expand, the cybersecurity landscape is becoming increasingly complex. This complexity is reflected in the organizational silos between IT and security teams – silos which hinder cybersecurity defense strategies. 

It’s also reflected in the changing attitudes to security. Traditional security approaches like attempting to address every vulnerability are no longer feasible. Rather, organizations have learned that not every CVE should be addressed, and instead, focus on prioritizing issues beyond classical vulnerabilities looking at a host of exposures such as misconfigurations and weak credentials, that, in reality, pose the greatest risk to critical assets.

This change has driven improved collaboration across disciplines – IT, security, and more. It’s also driven the shift towards automation and analytics for more efficient threat identification and remediation.

However, all this takes manpower. And that’s often a commodity that just isn’t available – Organizations all too often lack the people with the right expertise to manage this complex environment. 

“We simply do not have enough people to fight back,” says Mike Heredia, VP EMEA at XM Cyber in a recent joint webinar with Hays, a leading global expert in cyber recruitment. “However, it’s not just a simple supply and demand problem”. Rather, it’s a gap between the evolving security landscape, the skills of existing and future cyber workers, and the technology that supports them.

Adapting to the Landscape, Addressing the Gap

Dealing with the reality of the cybersecurity skills gap forces many organizations to get creative. Here we’ll take a look at 3 strategies you may want to consider if you are looking for “the right one” and simply haven’t found them yet:

1 . Optimize What You’ve Got 

When new hiring is not feasible or is prohibitively costly, optimizing the existing workforce is a key strategy. Organizations can take the route of auditing employee skill sets to identify strengths and weaknesses. This allows for targeted training programs that bridge knowledge gaps and create well-rounded cybersecurity professionals. But training shouldnt be viewed as a one-time fix. Because the cybersecurity landscape is so fluid, organizations are also prioritizing continuous learning to ensure their workforce not only gets ahead of the curve, but stays there.

2. Leverage the Right Tech

Technology is another weapon to help address the skills gap. By implementing automation, data analytics, and the right AI-based tools, organizations can somewhat release security professionals from the burden of mundane tasks. These tools can sift through vast amounts of data to identify potential threats, allowing human analysts to focus on investigating and resolving critical issues. This frees up valuable time and expertise for more strategic initiatives like threat hunting and vulnerability management.

3. Consider Re-skilling from Adjacent Fields

Since the talent pool for cybersecurity professionals is limited, organizations are looking beyond traditional recruitment methods. Re-skilling individuals from adjacent fields with transferable skills is a promising approach. IT professionals with a strong understanding of networks and systems, for example, can be retrained in cybersecurity principles and practices. This strategy not only expands the pool of potential candidates but also leverages existing knowledge within the organization.

Reskilling does, however, require a robust training framework and ongoing mentorship. New recruits need to be equipped with the technical know-how to identify and address security vulnerabilities. This may involve certifications like Security+ or CISSP, which validate a professional’s cybersecurity competency, or mentorship programs that pair experienced cybersecurity professionals with newcomers. Courses like the XM Cyber Exposure Management Mastery course can give new-to-the-field professionals the information they need to address the most impactful risks facing their environments, along with 5 CPE credits.

Bridging the Gap: A Collaborative Approach to Cybersecurity

The key to meeting the challenges of the cybersecurity gap is adaptability – both at the organizational and individual levels. Organizations need to be flexible in their approach to talent acquisition, embracing reskilling initiatives and fostering a culture of continuous learning. Individuals, too, need to be adaptable, willing to develop new skills and stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends.

The cybersecurity skills gap isn’t just a numbers problem; it’s a complex challenge demanding a holistic solution. While talent development and creative recruitment strategies are crucial, true success hinges on fostering collaboration across people, processes, and technologies. Ultimately, closing the cybersecurity skills gap requires a multi-pronged approach. By optimizing their existing workforce, leveraging technology, and adopting creative talent acquisition strategies, organizations can build a more robust cybersecurity posture and mitigate the looming cyber threats.

To learn more about how organizations are bridging the cybersecurity skills gap, check out our joint webinar with Hays, a leading global expert in qualified, professional, and skilled recruitment.

Batya Steinherz

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