The Cybersecurity Skills Shortage Will Harm Your SMB's Ability to Protect Critical Data. Here's Why

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The cybersecurity skill shortage is real

Hiring staff can be time-consuming. Whether placing ads or relying on word-of-mouth, interviewing, checking references, and negotiating salary takes time and shifts attention from other tasks.

Trying to hire staff in an field where there's a shortage of qualified candidates is even more time-consuming.

Cybersecurity is one of those fields. A survey by ISACA's Cybersecurity Nexus reveals that a quarter of the companies surveyed took at least six months to fill cybersecurity positions. Hiring managers found candidate skills lacking, “most job applicants do not have the hands-on experience or the certifications needed to combat today's corporate hackers.”

A Frost & Sullivan/ISC study estimates that by 2020, the global cybersecurity workforce will have 1.5 million unfilled positions. And this comes while budgets for cybersecurity are rising, along with salary. In the same survey, 62% of companies reported that their company didn't have enough information security professionals.


Research by Cybersecurity Ventures is even more dire, their research estimates 3.5 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2021.

In the US, CyberSeek (in 2017) estimated there were 780,000 cybersecurity positions filled and an additional 350,000 openings.

Even the Federal Government is having problems hiring staff. The following is from the July 12, 2016 Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy memorandum:

“Both Federal and private sector executives cite the lack of professionals with the requisite knowledge and skills as a significant impediment to improving their cybersecurity. However, there simply is not a sufficient supply of cybersecurity talent to meet the increasing demand of the Federal Government. Recent industry reports project this shortfall will expand rapidly over the coming years unless companies and the Federal Government act to expand the cybersecurity workforce to meet the increasing demand for talent.”

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If you're an IT professional, this is an awesome opportunity. If you're a SMB owner or executive, this is a nightmare in the making as you try to recruit staff capable of protecting your vital information.

You're competing for scarce talent with the largest companies, not just in the U.S., but globally. SMBs will have a difficult to impossible time matching salary and career advancement that larger organizations can offer.

Of course SMBs will continue to be able to hire IT staff but will have an increasingly difficult time hiring and retaining IT talent with the skills to keep their network and information as secure as possible.

So what should you do?

Smart businesses don't continue to ram their heads into a brick wall, eventually hoping to knock it down. If you're having a hard time finding cybersecurity talent (and I'd be shocked if you aren't), it's time to go around, over, or under that wall.

The answer is simple – don't do it yourself.

Outsource network security and you don't have to worry about the cybersecurity skills shortage


Outsource your network and security to a third-party expert who has the resources and ability to acquire the right cybersecurity talent and the resources to continually train and educate those professionals to keep their skills fresh and relevant.

Many SMBs are already taking this step. Ponemon research shows other SMBs relying on service partners to buttress their IT security needs:

Personnel, budget and technologies continue to be insufficient to have a strong security 

posture. As a result, some companies engage managed security service providers to support 

an average of 36 percent of their IT security operations. The services most often used are 

monitored or managed firewalls or intrusion prevention systems and intrusion detection 

systems and security gateways for messaging or Web traffic. Ponemon SMB cybersecurity

A picture is worth 1,000 words, so I'll leave you with the infographic below. It's slightly dated in that the numbers have increased since this was created, but it's still an excellent snapshot of the challenge of hiring cybersecurity experts.

Don't bash your forehead bloody. Look into outsourcing your network and information security needs.

A visual look at the cybersecurity skills crisis by ISACA_Cybersecurity_Infographic1

Source: ISACA

Categories: Security, Office Hacks, Managed Services

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