How to Cope with the Growing Cybersecurity Skills Gap

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As the threat landscape continues to evolve and cybercriminals grow in sophistication, security teams are tasked with bolstering their cybersecurity controls, expertise, and solutions. However, doing all of that in-house has become more difficult due to the ongoing security skills shortage. There’s just not enough talent to go around — and that’s not expected to change anytime soon. 

The industry is trying to attract new talent. Colleges are adding more programs and offering cybersecurity-related degrees, and companies are being more proactive in their attempts to attract professionals from other fields. 

Unfortunately, the need is too great for even these efforts to close the cybersecurity skills gap in the near future. 

Lack of Cybersecurity Talent Fuels the Threat Landscape 

It’s no secret that the rate of cyber attacks is increasing year over year. According to Arctic Wolf’s 2023 Trends Report, the odds of being breached are the same as flipping a coin, and risk management is the top factor influencing security decisions. The understanding of how big the business of cybercrime is has reached organizations, and they’re making strides to be proactive and stay prepared.  

However, there’s a major gap plaguing most organizations — a lack of humans to help. In the same report, 68% of organizations identified staffing related issues as their number one threat to achieving their objectives. Specifically, 56% of organizations would need to hire 5 or more people to meet their needs, and 48% of organizations would need to hire 10 or more people. This trend isn’t new, our 2022 edition of the same report told a similar story, and it’s possible 2024’s will tell the same. 

According to “Top Security Concerns: A Global Perspective,” for 41% of organizations (around the world), the talent shortage is their top concern. However, even with this top concern, 40% of businesses recently had to lay off IT and security staff, highlighting how cost is preventing entities from investing in their internal staff. 

There are not enough people, the ones that are available cost too much, and cybercriminals are taking advantage of the gap. Vulnerabilities are on the rise, as are zero-day exploits, and humans could be doing active vulnerability patching or working on proactive cybersecurity projects. Not to mention that a lack of staff means no one to respond if an internal tool detects a threat.  

with the growing cybersecurity skills gap, there's less trained professionals for organizations to hire. Inside of a security operations center, a man and woman are working

How Organizations Can Enhance Their Security Posture 

There is no clear-cut solution. Organizations should work to make sure their budgets cover at least some internal staff, because no one knows a security and IT environment better than experts who are working with it every day. Organizations should also consider partnering with an outside solution that not only offers tools, but supplements that expertise.  

Specifically, here are four action-items organizations can take to improve their security situation: 

1. Be More Selective of IT Hires

Technical skills are just one part of the equation. In addition to having experience in IT specialties, your candidates should bring a variety of soft skills to the table —since they’re going to be your security champions, they need to be able to collaborate and communicate with a variety of stakeholders. In addition, these individuals don’t come cheap, so selecting carefully can ensure your hires are strategic investments in your organization’s future.

2. Nurture Your Talent

Recruitment is just the first hurdle retention is just as big a struggle. It’s not uncommon for security pros to leave their employers after just a few months. The 2022 Arctic Wolf Trends Report found 65% of cybersecurity employees are actively considering leaving their current position. This means you need to constantly nurture your cybersecurity talent and offer new incentives and opportunities for advancement.

3. Build a Strong Security Culture

The role of a chief information security officer (CISO) is increasingly important — and not just because they provide strategy and support and make sure that IT isn’t burdened with unrealistic expectations. The CISO also brings a security point of view to executives so that cybersecurity isn’t an afterthought but baked into every big company decision. This security perspective then trickles down throughout the organization until it pervades all business operations. In addition, utilizing security awareness programs can help organizations understand, at every level, the role humans play in risk prevention. 

4. Leverage Third-Party Expertise

One of the biggest challenges that IT and security teams face is the proliferation of tools, which are not only getting more unwieldy to manage but also continue to contribute to alert fatigue. Leveraging outside expertise helps you improve the effectiveness of your security operations. Partnering with an experienced security vendor is like having an extension of your team at your disposal 24×7. 

How Arctic Wolf Can Help 

Arctic Wolf® security operations solutions managed by our Concierge Security® Team can help solve your security effectiveness challenges and mitigate your security talent shortage. Our experts monitor your environment 24×7 in real time, and a dedicated team works directly with your IT staff. And we don’t just focus on tactics we can take on strategic tasks as well. 

Learn more about how a partnership with Arctic Wolf eases the security skills gap burden. 

Better understand how organizations are shifting their cybersecurity strategies 

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Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf provides your team with 24x7 coverage, security operations expertise, and strategically tailored security recommendations to continuously improve your overall posture.
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