Cybersecurity skills gap leaving businesses vulnerable

ISACA research indicates that nearly 62% of businesses face understaffing issues within their cybersecurity teams

At a time where cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, people and businesses cannot afford to put themselves at risk. An attack on a single company could have an adverse effect on an entire supply chain and network.

Leading global professional association, ISACA, that assists individuals and organisations in their pursuit of digital trust, has launched new research which takes a look at the state of cybersecurity.

The research found that among cybersecurity professionals who reported changes in the frequency of cyberattacks, compared to the previous year, 52% indicated that they are currently facing a higher volume of cyberattacks.

Although businesses recognise the increased threat level, a staggering 8% of the organisations who complete cyber risk assessments do these monthly, while 40% contact them annually. Failure in regularly assessing cyber risks exposes organisations to potential attacks and elevates the likelihood of breaches remaining unnoticed for extended periods.

Cybersecurity teams are simply understaffed 

A contributing factor to businesses being unable to measure and test cyber defences regularly, is a lack of human resource. Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents have reported that their cybersecurity team is understaffed. 

Of those organisations with unfilled roles in cybersecurity, 39% are looking to fill entry level positions that do not require experience, university degree, or credentials.  Typically, 44% of organisations state that they require a university degree to fill entry level cybersecurity positions when they have them. 

Dave Adamson, CTO at Espria; a leading independent managed service provider, firmly believes in the importance of outsourcing to offer businesses cost-effective support for growth, reduced risk for cyber threat, and maximising resources’ time. 

Adamson comments: “ISACA research, revealed today, shares that almost 62% of businesses find their cybersecurity teams are understaffed, as threats continue to increase.

“This is not surprising though, given the rapid rise of cyber security threats and the rate of digital transformation. It’s unfeasible to expect an organisation to be able to scale its internal resources quickly enough to meet the demands of cyber threats.”

How to overcome the cyber skills gap

However, there are some steps that businesses can take to overcome the cyber skills gap and improve cyber resilience. Among those organisations that are making progress, 50% of the surveyed companies are upskilling non-security staff, 46% are increasing the use of contractors or external consultants, and 27% are implementing reskilling initiatives.

According to cybersecurity experts, hands-on experience in a cybersecurity position (97%), held credentials (88%), and successful completion of practical cybersecurity training courses (83%) are considered very or somewhat crucial factors in evaluating whether a cybersecurity candidate is qualified. 

Chris Cooper, a member of ISACA’s Emerging Trends Working Group, said: “If businesses are to maintain their cyber resilience in an ever-evolving threat climate, we must encourage and nurture talent in the cybersecurity industry. 

“Employers are looking for people who already have hands-on experience, but we will only enable people to build that experience by creating more entry-level roles and investing in the right training and development for everyone in the industry, from the ground up.” 

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