Addressing the Cybersecurity Staffing Shortage

President and CEO, Netsphere.

The demand for cybersecurity and IT positions is growing faster than companies can hire. With cybersecurity being a critical part of any business that carries valuable and private data and information, finding and retaining this kind of specialized talent is essential.

Unfortunately, there is a massive shortage of personnel in the industry, particularly due to rapidly changing job requirements and qualifications, driven by companies with a growing need for secure systems and processes. Several reports this year show an unprecedented demand for information technology security analysts or cybersecurity positions with around 700,000 vacancies in the cybersecurity job market.

Every industry holding consumer data, including medical and financial, has a responsibility to protect consumer information and keep it private. Every day, hackers pose a threat to our data and the control of our systems. Protection can be assured when full end-to-end encryption efforts are deployed, the gold standard for protection.

Such a significant shortage of personnel leads to an influx of concrete consequences in the workplace. For example, when there are not enough cybersecurity experts on staff, it is impossible to stay on top of all active threats against a network. When there is not enough time for proper risk assessment and management, oversights can occur.

Recognizing the need to invest in cybersecurity and the growing shortage of personnel, the US government is taking steps to help end the shortage and build strong walls against cyber threats.

The Biden-Harris administration has announced funding for a first-ever state and local cybersecurity grant program to equip state and local agencies with the tools to protect against the threats their communities face. In addition, the administration also ensures that the private sectors and entities put in place their best defenses in the event of cyberattacks. Entities such as hospitals, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and many others have or will receive updated regulations and upgrades to improve their systems and processes.

In addition to government action, businesses can reduce the IT labor shortage in several ways:

Recruit abroad to meet demand. With a national average salary starting at six figures, it’s not a bad industry. Employers want to turn the bright minds of younger generations into their team members working to protect themselves from hackers, not become them.

• Provide additional training to employees to acquire the desired certifications and skills. Some of the most sought after certifications are ISACA CSX Cybersecurity Fundamentals, MTA security basics, and CompTIA Security+. Offering or allowing access to these skills helps you develop and create talent.

• Work with secondary schools and universities to train more young professionals and integrate them more quickly into the labor market. A continued focus on internships, student hires and mentorship programs will help fuel the industry with the enthusiastic new talent employers need. Along with this, over the summer the White House announced a 120-day apprenticeship program to help provide guidance in cyber jobs.

Nonetheless, cybersecurity is a real threat that is not going away any time soon, especially with recent events and the growing threats of organized and state-sponsored cybercrime. It is imperative that we remain diligent and proactive in our efforts to build the best possible defense teams to protect our sensitive and valuable data.

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