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“The U.S. has a total employed cybersecurity workforce consisting of 715,000 people and the number of unfilled positions now stands at 561,000 in North America. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of responding organizations reported a shortage of cybersecurity staff, with a lack of skilled or experienced security personnel their number one workplace concern (36%). Unsurprisingly, over half (51%) of cybersecurity professionals said their organization is at moderate or extreme risk due to staff shortages.

 

The report pointed to four key strategies to help organizations tackle such shortages. These include in-house training and development and setting applicant qualification requirements at the right level to ensure as wide a net as possible is cast. Organizations need to attract new workers from other professions, or recent graduates with tangential degrees, as well as seasoned professionals from consulting and contracting sectors. Finally, organizations should look to strengthen from within by cross-training existing IT professionals where appropriate.”

The implications for business resilience are worrisome.

  1. Security positions are going unfilled for months. Unfilled positions lead to negative impact across the board: on productivity, customer service, security, innovation, speed to market and profitability.

  2. Tools are not being used effectively. Support teams (usually not security teams) are installing, managing and monitoring security tools without the background to make them effective. 

  3. Security oversight is lacking. Projects and products are being deployed without security oversight leading to potential risks for their companies.

  4. Falling behind in cybersecurity training. Companies say they are falling behind in providing an adequate level of cybersecurity training.

What’s more, the lack of skilled cybersecurity personnel is doing more than putting companies at risk; it’s affecting the job satisfaction of existing staff. This is a dangerous side effect that affects morale.

- By Dave Barton

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