4 Reasons for the Qualified Cybersecurity Skills Shortage & How to Overcome it

When you need to hire IT help, do you feel that most candidates do not have the necessary skills for the role? Is your HR team sorting through countless applications, yet suitable candidates simply aren’t there? 

It’s not just you experiencing this shortage of cybersecurity workers...

Numerous reports show there is a huge gap between the security roles that need to be filled and the available candidates, as noted in our previous blog, Trouble Hiring Qualified Cybersecurity Staff?. According to an (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the world needs a 145% increase in its cybersecurity workforce. 

There are several reasons for the lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals, and understanding them will help you address the staff shortage problem within your organization. Here are four reasons finding qualified cybersecurity staff seems nearly impossible:


1. Cybersecurity candidates are applying, but they aren’t quite qualified for the job.

The shortage of the talent pool is one serious problem the cybersecurity industry faces today. In fact, 70% of respondents in ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2020 Report say fewer than half of their cybersecurity applicants are well qualified; while 32% of them say it takes six months or more to find a qualified candidate for an open position. 

The reason? There are not enough qualified people to fill all the jobs available. And by qualified, we mean people with the right skills, certifications, and robust experience. But why is there such a massive gap in qualified candidates in the cybersecurity sector?

Because the online threat landscape is ever-evolving, and bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated in their attack vectors. That means, more than ever, we need knowledgeable candidates who can keep up with the changes in technology. Since digital jobs keep growing with the growth of technology itself, we simply lack qualified candidates to keep up with it all.


2. The complexity of SIEM and other security management tools.

Research shows that most organizations have anywhere from 45 to 75 different security tools. Each of them produces thousands (if not millions) of logs and security alerts each day. 

All of these thousands of alerts should be investigated and analyzed by individuals who have the education and experience required to manage the toolset, allowing them to make the right decisions at the right time and to act when needed. But with the evolving complexity of threats comes the ever-increasing need for more advanced education and real-world experience on mitigating those more challenging threats. The reality is that the pool of those truly experienced cybersecurity candidates is limited, and you need to be lucky to find one when you have an open position. 


3. The high salary demands of qualified candidates.

What’s more, given the shortage in the market, if candidates do have the right experience and expertise, they are in high demand and jump to higher-paying offers quickly. 

It’s an employee’s market, so whoever is willing to pay more wins. It’s OK if you have one position to fill, but what if you need five experts for a specialized security tool simultaneously and are on a budget? Many organizations struggle to fill in the gaps.


4. The post-pandemic shift to remote operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things, and one of the most impactful is the global shift to the online world. 

Billions of people started working from home, using many IT tools they never used before. This exponentially expanded threat landscape presented a new opportunity for bad actors, leading to a dramatic escalation of cyber threats. Furthermore, the quick shift to working from home presented its own challenges in finding robust training or certification online. This means that individuals who may once have been able to receive that training and experience to enhance their cybersecurity skills to the level desired by companies around the world, now had difficulties accessing appropriate training and thus arose compounded the challenge of handling a complex landscape of threats. 


Getting the job done while short-staffed

While knowing why you can’t find skilled cybersecurity candidates adds clarity, it still doesn’t solve your unstaffed problem.

But we know something that does… The answer lies in automation. 

We don’t mean the automation that produces alerts you need to analyze anyway… that just exacerbates your cybersecurity workforce shortage issue. 

It is in the next level of intelligent automation, which combines artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) with behavioral analytics. Such a solution eliminates the need for technology-specific skills and certifications, allowing you to use your human resources to improve your security posture. 

Download A CISO’S GUIDE: 5 Ways to Reduce SG&A and Improve Security Through Automation to learn more about the power of automated cybersecurity threat detection, today.



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