As the Information Age slowly gives way to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the rise of IoT and IIoT, on-demand availability of computer system resources, big data and analytics, and cyber attacks aimed at business environments impact on our everyday lives, there’s an increasing need for knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals and, unfortunately, an increasing cybersecurity workforce skills gap.
The cybersecurity skills gap is huge
A year ago, (ISC)² estimated that the global cybersecurity workforce numbered 2.8 million professionals, when there’s an actual need for 4.07 million.
According to a recent global study of cybersecurity professionals by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), there has been no significant progress towards a solution to this problem in the last four years.
“What’s needed is a holistic approach of continuous cybersecurity education, where each stakeholder needs to play a role versus operating in silos,” ISSA and ESG stated.
Those starting their career in cybersecurity need many years to develop real cybersecurity proficiency, the respondents agreed. They need cybersecurity certifications and hands-on experience (i.e., jobs) and, ideally, a career plan and guidance.
Continuous cybersecurity training and education are key
Aside from the core cybersecurity talent pool, new job recruits are new graduates from universities, consultants/contractors, employees at other departments within an organization, security/hardware vendors and career changers.
One thing they all have in common is the need for constant additional training, as technology advances and changes and attackers evolve their tactics, techniques and procedures.
Though most IT and security professionals use their own free time to improve their cyber skills, they must learn on the job and get effective support from their employers for their continued career development.
Times are tough – there’s no doubt of that – but organizations must continue to invest in their employee’s career and skills development if they want to retain their current cybersecurity talent, develop it, and attract new, capable employees.
“The pandemic has shown us just how critical cybersecurity is to the successful operation of our respective economies and our individual lifestyles,” noted Deshini Newman, Managing Director EMEA, (ISC)².
Certifications show employers that cybersecurity professionals have the knowledge and skills required for the job, but also indicate that they are invested in keeping pace with a myriad of evolving issues.
“Maintaining a cybersecurity certification, combined with professional membership is evidence that professionals are constantly improving and developing new skills to add value to the profession and taking ownership for their careers. This new knowledge and understanding can be shared throughout an organisation to support security best practice, as well as ensuring cyber safety in our homes and communities,” she pointed out.