Monday, April 25, 2016

(The Big Disrupt) Cybersecurity: Why The Cybersecurity Talent Shortage Persists

If timing belongs to the gods there's a high possibility that they frown at CIO's and CISO's everywhere as they're faced with tackling one of the biggest of issues of the 21st century in cybersecurity yet struggle notoriously to find the talent to help them ward off the formidable threat posed by hackers which suggest the IT leaders have fallen foul of their favour. 

There's not much of a CIO's or CISO's job that comes down to luck but the parts of the roles that do clearly indicate that luck isn't smiling at them. The lack of cybersecurity talent has been a chronic long term problem that has plagued IT departments everywhere for years but with the recent spate of data breaches, the gaping hole in IT has become more marked than it's ever been.    

Organizations have paid much lip service to the IT security recruitment issue for some time but the issue is now more prevalent than ever. This lack of IT security talent makes CISO's and CIO's jobs that much harder as they find difficult to build a strong team to defend their organization's network from threats and leaves them reliant on cyber security vendors who may have a strong incentive to secure their networks but maybe selective as to what they're prepared to secure. 

The cybersecurity talent shortage is more pronounced in the public sector as even executive branch organs such as the Department of Homeland Security are finding it hard to attract talent needed to keep the nation secure from cyber threats. The lack of cybersecurity talent is forcing the DHS to compete with firms in the private sector who can offer larger salaries as well as other agencies such as the CIA and the DoD which have the edge over the DHS  in prestige and rich tradition. 

All this may be bad news for CIO's looking to add to new talent but it's great news for IT security specialists as salaries and incentives have gone sky high recent years to attract top cybersecurity talent as the IT security labour market has effectively become a seller's market and with the current spate of data breaches, it's hard to see the current labour market dynamic changing anytime soon. 

Data breaches have played a role in making the buy side of the cybersecurity labour market competitive but data breaches take a backseat to the damning fact that the next potential cybersecurity geniuses simply aren't made aware that they could become one. According to a study by Raytheon and National Cybersecurity Alliance, the depressed supply of cybersecurity specialists may be caused by schools not offering cybersecurity as a career path as men (67%) and women (77%) aged between 18 and 26 said "no guidance counselor, secondary education teacher or career counselor mentioned the possibility of cybersecurity as a career". 

The large talent gap in the cybersecurity labour market has created a great opportunity for any firm that can plug it which explains the growth of MSSP's or managed security services providers. MSSP's are great news for smaller organizations who lack the budget to hire or train staff and help them secure their networks without the large expense attached to building an in-house cybersecurity team. MSSP's also a godsend for larger organizations who often have compete to attract talent and fight even harder to keep it. 

In sum, the cybersecurity talent shortage isn't going away anytime and that's bad news for the digital age. 



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