Finding Cybersecurity Talent Is Hard, So Train and Invest

Digital transformation increasingly becomes an essential component for a company to keep up with the constantly evolving global business landscape. As organizations rush the adoption of digital technologies to improve processes, the target for cybersecurity attacks and threats also widens. It makes the task of defending systems from threats and data theft all the more urgent. Add in aggressive actors like those in the recent spate of ransomware attacks and it can be all too easy to miss security holes.

The surge in remote work due to the global pandemic has added another layer to the complexities of data security, requiring more sophistication in technology and more personnel.

Cybersecurity is a combination of technology, management, and resources. However, despite the availability of advanced technologies, one factor that could make or break a company’s data security endeavors is talent. And with a global cybersecurity talent shortage measured in millions, the best way to get the talent you need may be to train current staff for new roles.

Why invest in cybersecurity talent?

With 3.5 million openings globally, andthe shift to hybrid and remote work environments likely to become a fixture in business, the demand for security talent will continue to rise.

That there’s a shortage of talent is a challenge enough in cybersecurity, impacting organizations negatively. And it’s getting worse in recent years as cybercriminals outnumber the defenders. In an age where data governs people’s lives and drives the business, information is also a hot commodity that cybercriminals desire to obtain for varying reasons.

Work from home arrangements creates a paradise for hackers, online scammers, and cyber criminals while organizations scramble to address their growing data protection needs. The duties of a cybersecurity employee have expanded, from fulfilling ad hoc and routine security tasks to training and providing assistance to remote workers.

Developing cybersecurity talent

While cybersecurity is primarily a technology issue, it can incorporate insights from other fields, such as psychology and human behavior, laws and government policies, finance and analysis, and risk management. It is multidisciplinary. And finding people with broader knowledge and experience in different fields of discipline can be difficult.

Ideal candidates for cybersecurity roles are hard to come by. Filling in the void cannot be done overnight. New graduates, for instance, need more on-the-job training and experience. What they learned from textbooks and labs may not be relevant in the real world for the simple reason that technologies evolve. But community colleges with cybersecurity programs, for example, can be a great place to look for new talent that might be able to get up to speed relatively quickly. Internships for students and new graduates can be another way to find talent.

Upskill existing personnel

There are technical skills related to cybersecurity that can be learned and acquired on the job. In fact, 30 percent of cybersecurity professionals come from non-IT and engineering fields. They are an untapped source of cybersecurity talent. When existing employees acquire new skills, it helps develop a positive culture within the organization and lets other employees see opportunity.

Encouraging, training, and developing a team of employees for cybersecurity opens up more growth opportunities. They might have different backgrounds in various fields of expertise that they could bring to the table. Transitioning them to new job descriptions must be the role of the management, and it might just unlock their potential.

Your cybersecurity product vendors may be able to help with training. And if you use any managed service providers, they may be able to help you too. Security companies have had to come up with their own training solutions to meet demand and address the skills gap.

Further reading: Surviving 2021 With Zero Trust Security

Find education and training partners

Collaborative efforts between employers, government, schools and standards and training organizations are needed to address the critical security talent shortage. Be creative and partner with local institutions to address your needs. Many community colleges, as we’ve noted, have taken bold steps to address IT training needs in general – and in some cases they can be a place to look to improve diversity in hiring too.