Global cybersecurity skills shortage threatens organisations

Intel Security has released a new report that reveals the wide-reaching effects of the global cybersecurity skills shortage.

The firm partnered with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to conduct the research used in its report titled “Hacking the Skills Shortage” which approaches the issue of how the talent shortage in IT has affected companies as well as nations.

82 per cent of those surveyed admitted to a shortage of cybersecurity skills, with 71 per cent going so far as to say that the shortage is responsible for direct and measurable damage to organisations and that it makes them more prone to cyber attacks.

The senior vice president and director of the Strategic Technologies Program at CSIS, James A Lewis, described how this shortage is detrimental to the industry as a whole, saying: “A shortage of people with cybersecurity skills results in direct damage to companies including the loss of proprietary data and IP. This is a global problem: a majority of respondents in all countries surveyed could link their workforce shortage to damage to their organisation.”

In the United States alone, 209,000 cybersecurity jobs were left unfilled during 2015. Although 25 per cent of respondents confirmed that their organisations have lost proprietary data due to the cybersecurity skills gap, there is no sign that the gap will be filled in the near future. The respondents to the survey estimate that 15 per cent of cybersecurity positions in their companies will not be filled by 2020.

Intel Security Group's vice president and general manager, Chris Young, acknowledged that the current climate of cyber attacks and security breaches is of great concern to the security industry and that something must be done to address the shortage of cybersecurity skills, saying: “The security industry has talked at length about how to address the storm of hacks and breaches, but government and the private sector haven't brought enough urgency to solving the cybersecurity talent shortage.

"To address this workforce crisis, we need to foster new education models accelerate the availability of training opportunities, and we need to deliver deeper automation so that that talent is put to its best use on the front line. Finally, we absolutely must diversify our ranks.”

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