Today’s cybersecurity teams can’t get ahead of hackers because they’re drowning in data, fatigued by alerts, and dissatisfied with their jobs.
It’s not that existing IT experts aren’t doing their best. Rather, hackers take advantage of a collective lack of investment in cybersecurity on top of heightened workloads and a skill shortage that keeps getting worse. Over half of cybersecurity professionals are feeling a direct impact of the skills shortage, and 10% say the impact is severe and poses an enormous risk to companies.
Data elitism is the root cause of this negative environment, but companies can take steps to offset it.
Facing emerging challenges
Cybersecurity experts can identify multiple elements that are working directly against today’s professionals. Most recently, the need to assimilate to a hybrid workforce that supports both in-office and remote work is posing unique challenges, many of which are brand new and don’t have pre-existing best practices or foolproof solutions. In effect, the change has required teams to start from scratch amid unpredictable circumstances.
Consider that, and then consider how hacker groups are steadily becoming more sophisticated, creating a constantly changing threat landscape that requires teams to pivot rapidly. On top of that, IT professionals are dealing with software that lacks transparency and punts false positives. How can a team get ahead?
Any company that made a major shift to remote work — which is practically every company as of last year — needs to analyze how the changes have left them vulnerable in ways they haven’t yet considered. Plus, companies should investigate multi-factor authentication, such as OTP (one-time passwords), along with implementing AI (artificial intelligence) and other advanced technologies.
Of course, the biggest challenge companies face in the cybersecurity landscape goes far and beyond specific concerns and threats. The real problem actually comes down to one scary thing: There isn’t enough talent to fill the gaps.
Why gatekeeping is to blame
All the challenges we’re currently facing in cybersecurity and IT, as a whole, can be traced back to one foul word: gatekeeping. Educational elitism drives data elitism and that is the silent killer of the IT industry and many more.
There are currently 500,000 unfilled positions in cybersecurity that offer base salaries between $60,000 and $90,000. It’s not for lack of pay, it’s not for lack of availability, it’s for lack of skilled workers willing and able to fit these roles. And that can be traced back to the lack of three things in the modern workforce: awareness, desire, and skills.
Lack of awareness
Cybersecurity traditionally has been a “nice-to-have” that only a small percentage of businesses could afford. Since the pandemic and shift to remote work, cybersecurity is a critical need for businesses of all sectors and sizes. With the need created almost overnight for many companies, particularly SMBs, plus ever-increasing concerns and requirements even for those who have already implemented some form of cybersecurity, there’s a major lack of awareness in the industry.
The lack of awareness is nothing new, but it has become starkly obvious as more companies have opened their doors to cybersecurity professionals, only to find nobody waving their resume or scrambling to get in line. The lack of awareness impacts every side of the story: Workers who aren’t (or, at least, weren’t previously) aware of the opportunities, companies who aren’t or weren’t aware of the gaps they need to fill, and recruiters who don’t know exactly what to look for in a worker to fit a company’s specific needs.
Lack of upskilling
The menial work of cybersecurity creates another problem. Much of the work required is essentially data entry in a higher tax bracket, and can be easily automated. There aren’t the proper programs in place to upskill workers who would be interested in joining the cybersecurity industry. The challenge doesn’t end there, however. There’s also a great deal of inaccessibility to most tools and services on the market.
Few people possess the technical expertise to triangulate signals and get answers to critical problems. So, with a limited number of candidates able to fulfill a cybersecurity role combined with even fewer fitting the long, often misguided, list of required skills for a specific position, finding and hiring a cybersecurity professional is difficult.
Supporting today’s cybersecurity teams
In an ideal world, cybersecurity teams would receive the support of process automation and advanced technologies, not only to cut down on the menial work associated with the role but also provide improved visibility in today’s hybrid environments. With the right technology, a cybersecurity professional would find ease in monitoring and managing cloud environments, machines, and all the busy work in between.
Upgraded tools can also help dissolve the talent shortage — almost single-handedly — by improving accessibility and making cybersecurity work more appealing by cutting down on the time-consuming and stress-inducing repetitive tasks professionals currently deal with in the day-to-day work of their profession.