How to Tackle the Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Part 1

Jason Skidmore, CEO of Vernovis, recently led a discussion at Cloud Security Alliance: Ohio River Valley Chapter’s Technical Track, The Cybersecurity Professionals Shortage, about the challenges in finding the right (and enough) cybersecurity experts. The gap is widening while the need is increasing. The session received such positive feedback, we wanted to capture the key take-aways in a 3-part series for those who couldn’t attend.

How to Tackle the Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Part 1

In a world where cybersecurity is more important than ever, companies need to hire the best and brightest. But with the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, it can be difficult to find those who are qualified and experienced enough to help your company get ahead of the curve.

What’s causing the problem?

There are a lot of reasons why the cybersecurity skills gap is such a big problem, and it’s not just because companies are finding it harder to hire people with the right skills. It’s also because they’re losing talent—both inside their organizations and out.

According to Cyberseek there are nearly 715,000 cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. right now. The number of unfilled positions globally reached 3.5 million in 2021, a 350% increase over the past eight years, according to data from CybersecurityVentures.

This can be attributed to the increased threat landscape, but also increased demand for security talent from small to mid-sized businesses. Companies that never cared about employing security experts in-house are now realizing the importance of having them. Especially organizations that are bringing in higher revenues and growing quickly, they’re beginning to recognize the need for top-tier talent, and they’re more willing to pay for security professionals.

If that weren’t enough, the cybersecurity skills gap is being compounded by cybersecurity professionals fleeing the profession. A recent survey commissioned by Trellix found that over one-third of the cybersecurity workforce are planning to change careers. Those surveyed site reasons such as salary and compensation (24%), burnout (23%), lack of appreciation (12%).

Top 5 Strategies for Tackling the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

With all this going on, you may ask yourself the question “How do I find the right candidate?” We’ve helped our clients from small businesses to enterprise organizations find the right cybersecurity talent and want to share our five-prong approach to tackling the cybersecurity skills gap.

1. Recruiting

When evaluating your recruitment strategy for cybersecurity talent, there are a list of things to consider including compensation, job description, length of the process and more.

2. Retention

In light of The Great Resignation, and a significant percentage of cybersecurity professionals reevaluating their careers, once you have great talent you need to keep it. Retention encompasses factors like culture, training opportunities, mentorship, and feedback loops to name a few.

3. Partnerships

Have you considered utilizing a staffing and recruiting partner? What about completely outsourcing your security functions to a third-party vendor? These are great options to explore if you’re limping along without proper cybersecurity functions in place.

4. Alternate Sources

Fortunately, there are many organizations looking for creative ways to fill the current gaps we’re experiencing in IT and cybersecurity skills gaps. Between high school programs and career development programs fast-tracking individuals into tech and cybersecurity, there are effective, non-traditional talent sources to consider.

5. Personal

From your network, your management style, to your recruiting budget, there are aspects within your personal control that can help improve your access to candidates and attractiveness as an employer.

We’ll be breaking down all these strategies into a two-part follow up. Be sure to subscribe below to be the first to know!

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