The Cyber Security Skills Gap

The realm of cybersecurity is diverse and ever-changing.

Currently, it’s an endless supply of advanced cyber attacks that have attracted the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. But, do we have enough cyber professionals?

Probably not. In fact, if we go by Cybersecurity Venture’s recent report, there will be close to 4 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by the end of 2021. To fill this wide gap, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to up by 150%, according to (ICS)2

In the meantime, cybersecurity professionals continue to endure long hours of work and pressure. It’s not surprising to find speakers at cybersecurity conferences emphasize on health matters, addiction, and other effects related to stress. 

Role Of Cyber Security In Today’s World

“The cybersecurity business is intertwined in every other business,” mentions Ralph Russo, director of the Information Technology Programs Department at Tulane University.

Advancements in technology and the power of the internet has made cyber security a hot topic in senior and director-level meetings. Organizations are finding it critical to protect data and other forms of information, investing as heavy as half a billion dollars, according to a recent Mc Kinsey report. 

With so much at stake, a single cybersecurity breach can bring down an organization or put a permanent dent to its reputation. Gaining trust once affected by such a breach is as critical as the need to invest in cybersecurity in the first place. Clearly, the widening cybersecurity skills gap is putting both employers and consumers at risk. 

Essentially, the world is producing a huge amount of code to satisfy our appetite for digitization and innovation ideas. An average of 111 billion lines of code is created every year. If we look at the trends in future technology, this is just the tip of the iceberg. “More codes translate to more vulnerabilities and right now the industry is hardly meeting the demand for cybersecurity expertise,” insisted Danhieux, a cybersecurity expert.  

Even as the need to fill the “skills gap” is paramount, experts and organizations must approach the issue from different angles rather than looking for candidates with an IT or cybersecurity background only.

A recent (ICS)2 report revealed that 15 percent of cyber professionals were happy to maintain their jobs, leaving the remaining 85 percent willing to explore new opportunities.

These shocking revelations may be attributed to the fact that most companies lack competitive salary packages for IT experts. 

Talent pools in the technology market are rare and cybersecurity engineers with college degrees are even rarer in the market. There can only be one conclusion from this statement- unless the skills are provided, cybercrime will continue to dominate the market.

Though the number of graduates is seemingly increasing, the rate at which cybercrimes is happening does not match up to what the colleges are offering. ESG’s survey revealed close to 53% of organizations were facing cybersecurity shortages last year, a curve which has been trending up since 2016.  

Addressing The Cyber Security Skills Gap

It is evident that the issue of a cyber worker shortage is taking a toll on most businesses. Interestingly, the industry is doing little to solve this situation and the security industry continues to shift the blame elsewhere.

Whenever the talent pool runs dry, universities and other systems of higher education usually take the blow as they are expected to ‘produce’ enough talents. 

Instead of actively coming up with alternatives, companies would rather poach top-tier workers from another company.

Since security companies have shown a lax in developing strategies to come up with lasting solutions, learning centers are slowly coming up. At Infosec Learning we’ve been bridging the cyber skills gap in over 180 institutions, schools, and businesses. Our cyber security curriculum is tailored to today’s needs. We understand the need to expand cyber security programs and our infosec labs provide you with realistic simulations and experiences. 

Infosec Learning Through Hands-On Skills

In today’s environment, we feel the need to move past traditional methods of infosec learning to an approach that attracts increased activity with students.

It is well-known by faculties that a hands-on approach to learning is the ideal method. We are keen to create cybersecurity labs that offer a preferred hands-on environment. We incorporate real-world problems in the curriculum to propel you to higher-order critical thinking skills as required in the cybersecurity career.

Day-to-day issues require professionals to look from both ends (attack/defend)  and adapt to ever-changing threats. A hands-on cybersecurity curriculum will prepare you for business-centric functions and put you in a position to produce effective results in cybersecurity. In particular, our lab simulation techniques enrich the current curriculum and offer a lab competent environment in general. 

Information security labs are a different setting from traditional infosec centers that use virtual equipment as well as space.

Our labs have the latest performance machines on a secured private network. Students can collaborate in the same network, reducing time and space limitations during infosec classes. 

Why Choose Infosec Learning?

Now more than ever, we’re dependable on the emerging digital economy. And as organizations, infrastructures, and businesses shift to a digital level, a single security event can turn catastrophic.

It is important to keep in mind that cybersecurity events cut across all sectors and whenever an attack is done, everyone suffers. 

At Infosec Learning we strive to play a role in bridging people, organizations together to come up with solutions to our global threat of cybercrime.

Our mission is to use advanced technology to update, patch and configure certain tools and devices. Such automation steps could ease the workload of cybersecurity professionals and refocusing their time on more serious issues. Feel free to contact us today for more information and insights on our infosec courses online.

What threats do cyber attacks pose?

The cost of cyber attacks estimated at a staggering $400 million, is yet to be curbed and most institutions are facing these threats every day.

Some of the majorly hit institutions include government agencies, small and corporate businesses, and other critical organizations. 

Healthcare Facilities

Better accessibility to a patient’s health records provides healthcare facilities improved chances of providing quality health care.

Since the shift to digital storage of such data, the threats to cybersecurity have tripled. In 2018 alone, more than 15 million health records were breached.

Attacks included disruption of important patient records leading through denial of service attacks and installing malware that jeopardizes the integrity of patient’s information. 

In a severe example, hackers completely shut down the network of a trauma care center in the Erie County Medical Center for six weeks. Their screen went completely black and the only thing visible was the thousands of dollars of ransom that the attackers demanded.

Luckily, the medical center refused to pay and opted to go back to the manual system of recording information and was not severely hit by the attack. Though this was a lucky incident, a cyberattack on a health facility can bring great consequences and put patients’ lives at risk. 

Government Agencies

In a recent report compiled by CSO, a breach inside the U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM) systems, saw the information of 22 million current and former employees get in the hands of hackers. The system breach which spanned two years stole sensitive information of employees including clearances, foreign travel data, and fingerprints obtained by hackers claimed to be operating from China.

State government agencies also face a greater risk, in particular those that still use outdated systems. Another report revealed that more than 50% of the systems state election commissions use are outdated, making them easy targets for cyberattacks.  

Businesses

The number of businesses affected by cyberattacks is by far the highest in all institutional bodies. High-profile breaches have caused millions to major companies- 540 million for Facebook, 412 million for Friend Finder networks, and a staggering 885 million for First American financial.

As such businesses are industry leaders in their respective fields, they have invested heavily in cybersecurity but still get cyber attacked.

Small businesses have also had their fair share of cyberattacks. In a recent case by insurance carrier Hiscox, the financial costs of cyberattacks in small companies have risen to $200,000 on average.

The risk seems higher in SME’s as 66% of top officials in small businesses are skeptical of cyberattacks and believe that they’re not a target by online criminals. Look at the case of Volunteer Voyages, a sole owner small business which incurred $14,000 in fraudulent indictment after a hacker breached its debit card information.