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Domain Skill Assessment   | 2 Min Read

Closing the Security Skills Gap

Written By Nikshep Mehra

While sipping our coffee, every morning, we take a deep breath and prepare ourselves for some news on cybersecurity.

Wham!  Not again!

The news on yet another cyber-attack pours in.   

UN finds that there is a huge struggle in cybersecurity, all over the world. A survey was conducted among 134 countries which showed, that there are massive gaps in cybersecurity. The list includes some of the most powerful nations in the world. 

But, before we proceed any further, we delve into the causes for a cyber-attack.

Closing the Security Skills Gap

The Causes

The cybersecurity experts believe that the human link is the weakest in the security chain.

The primary cause is the lack of skilled workers. Period.

Moreover, companies may have sufficient budgets, but it is difficult to hire what they need. This is due to the technology orientation of the skills.

In the words of Marc Van Zadelhoff, general manager of IBM Security,

Even if the industry was able to fill the estimated 1.5 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2020, we’d still have a skills crisis in security. The volume and velocity of data insecurity is one of our greatest challenges in dealing with cybercrime.”  

Let us now come straight to the challenges faced by the IT heads:

What are the Challenges?

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap issue is a huge problem and the organizations constantly seek for solutions to fix it. The challenges for cybersecurity skills gap are:

To begin with, the security breaches are due to nefarious activities in some other country or a major technological catastrophe. The critical role is played by action or the failure of an insider. 

Next, research from Cisco states that 29 % of the organizations lost revenue due to a data breach.

Finally, the IT heads seek higher levels of technical expertise and analytical skills, providing insights. They need business savvy, strong-on-communication kind of skillsets. Not that easy to obtain.   

Honestly speaking, there is a problem. And we actually need tips to deal with it:

Tips for dealing with Security Skills Gap

You must not miss on some vital points related to the security skills gap. Here are some pertinent tips that immediately comes to our mind:  

Learning on-the-job

Knowledge in the IT security domain attains obsolescence at a faster rate.[6] Hands-on experience is rated higher than a technical degree. The best training achievable is -through experimental, hands-on learning.

Professional Development

A lack of training budget hampers the growth of the professionals. Corporates assume that reading and certifications are sufficient for the staff to stay up-to-date in the age of rapid technological advancement.

However, the best way to acquire skills is through hacking competitions and professional certifications.

An Innovative Way

Another way to handle talent shortage is what IBM calls the “new-collar” job. The traits inherent to the role are problem-solving, relentless curiosity. Not that is easy to acquire in a classroom training.   

The traits are better picked with technology - through certifications and on-the-job training.  

It is good to know that in 2015, 20 % of the cybersecurity professionals in the U.S were “new-collars.”

What will it take to bridge the Gap?

The cybercrimes are increasingly getting organized and aggressive. On the other hand, there is a dwindling shortage of talents. So- there is a need to empower the IT security workforce:

Finding the Perfect Fit

Having understood that there is a cybersecurity skills gap. The right combination of psychometric tests finds the cultural fit for a company.

Predicting the Intrinsic Skills

Mettl’s skills gap suite handles the security skills gap. It predicts the intrinsic skills in your workforce. And detects the non-adhering behavioral traits.

Other than the basic traits, additional skill sets are acquired through the on-the-job training.

Many Fortune 500 companies, take fresh graduates with analytical talents and develop them into security professionals - in a matter of few months.

Mapping Core Competencies

High potential candidates are agile learners. The learning agility assessment tests cater to these agile learners - to ensure organizational success.

The assessment tests can be mapped to the core competencies of the workforce. It also helps in building the team into a cohesive unit.   

The Quest Continues

The cybersecurity skills gap is a real and global issue. There is no dearth of job opportunities- but a severe talent shortage.

The skills gap analysis is solved by mapping the core competencies of the workforce and predicting the intrinsic skills.

The professional services companies like Deloitte and Ernst and Young recruit armies of security professionals - as a panacea for their security concerns.

The emerging technologies like IoT, mobile technologies and Cloud Computing contribute to the rising need for skilled cybersecurity workforce.  We intend to provide further insights from the IT heads in our epaper on the same topic.

References

[1] http://www.techrepublic.com/article/cybersecurity-two-thirds-of-cios-say-threats-increasing-cite-growth-of-ransomware/

[2] https://www.rsa.com/content/dam/rsa/PDF/2016/11/closing-the-skills-gap-rsa-kpmg.pdf

[3] https://securityintelligence.com/how-the-cybersecurity-skills-gap-is-being-closed/

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkauflin/2017/03/16/the-fast-growing-job-with-a-huge-skills-gap-cyber-security/#719de2af5163

[5] https://hbr.org/2016/09/the-biggest-cybersecurity-threats-are-inside-your-company

[6] https://securityintelligence.com/five-must-read-articles-on-the-cybersecurity-skills-gap/

[7] https://hbr.org/2017/05/cybersecurity-has-a-serious-talent-shortage-heres-how-to-fix-it

[8] http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/technology/2015/03/overcoming-the-info-security-skills-gap.html.

Topics: Domain Skill Assessment

Originally published April 12 2019,updated June 29 2019

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