Fixing the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage: Overcoming the Skills Gap

Published on

The cybersecurity skills gap is a well-known problem that is causing issues for businesses of all sizes. Every year, millions of cybersecurity positions are going unfilled simply because there aren’t enough experienced and qualified people to fill the roles. 

Given that we live in times of unprecedented growth for cybercrime, it is not hard to see why this is causing concern. Many businesses that actively want to add cybersecurity expertise to their team find that candidates are either prohibitively expensive or, worse, completely unavailable. 

Of course, it is true that not every business is looking for a full cybersecurity team - but when you can’t even find cybersecurity specialists to be a part of your organisation, it becomes necessary to look for alternatives.

In this article, we will examine what businesses can do to overcome the cybersecurity skills gap and ensure that their IT systems are as secure as possible. 

Upskilling

One of the most crucial ways that any business can overcome a skills crisis is to take it upon themselves to train their own team. Upskilling is a huge part of increasing worker productivity and efficiency, so it is definitely worth considering.

“Waiting for qualified entrants to the jobs market will take too long and, in practice, it’s likely they will not be qualified for long,” says David Steele, writing for Business Leader. “Instead, identifying existing staff with the soft skills, or power skills, to develop, adapt, and learn may be the quickest and easiest path to take. Even staff without a technical background, but with the necessary attitude and abilities, can, with training, fill entry-level positions and find a new career path.”

When it comes to the cybersecurity skills gap, the staff that can be most effectively upskilled are already technical or IT staff. In smaller businesses, this might be an ideal scenario, as members of the IT team are already likely to have some knowledge of the cybersecurity infrastructure in place in the business. Providing them with extra skills could make a difference in their ability to manage it effectively. 

Outsourcing

For many small businesses, the issue of the cybersecurity skills gap is a problem principally because it has pushed up the hiring costs of cybersecurity staff. A small or medium size business is likely to already have budget constraints when it comes to hiring into the IT department. The prospect of having to pay over the odds for cybersecurity expertise isn’t a particularly attractive option.

Thankfully, however, there is an option that can provide small businesses with the cybersecurity skills they need at much lower prices. Outsourcing to a team of cybersecurity specialists can be a very smart way to save money on costs, as well as getting a level of expertise that you probably wouldn’t be able to find, even if you did employ an in-house team. 

Of course, outsourcing has its disadvantages including surrendering some level of control and having to rely on an outside business for your security. But for smaller companies, it can be very effective. 

Training non-technical staff

Given that there is a shortage of candidates for cybersecurity positions, it is beholden to businesses to find alternative solutions. One possibility might appear to avoid the problem, but it can help enormously. This idea is removing from your organisation the idea that cybersecurity is the responsibility only of the IT team. 

You need to foster the attitude that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, also known as ‘data culture’, this is an important process to implement within your entire organisation. From an admin assistant working from home to the CEO in the office, every single person that uses the business IT system has a duty to do their part to keep it secure. 

According to cybersecurity specialists Redscan, fewer than one in four (24%) businesses report that their staff undertake any cybersecurity training. This indicates there is not only the opportunity for businesses to improve their cybersecurity practice with training; there is a need for it.

Widening your search

If you are absolutely certain that you are looking to hire in-house, but you simply can’t find the staff, a key answer comes in widening your search parameters. It may be the case that you can afford the necessary cybersecurity staff, but to do so, you need to get a little creative with where you find them. 

It could be the case that you have never considered the possibility of contractors. Some employers believe it is necessary to hire a full-time, permanent cybersecurity team - however, you might find that you can have easier access to talent if you are willing to employ part-time or short-term contractors.

It may be that you are constraining your search to your geographic area - could it be time to consider a remote cybersecurity team? Yes, it is important to have some IT team members working in-house, but a large number of cybersecurity tasks can be carried out remotely. 

The cybersecurity skills gap is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a problem. One of these solutions could be effective for your business.

 

Join 34,209 IT professionals who already have a head start

Network with the biggest names in IT and gain instant access to all of our exclusive content for free.

Get Started Now