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Businesses are vulnerable due to shortage of cybersecurity talent; study

Intel Security highlights the shortage of talent in cybersecurity resulting in organisations becoming desirable targets

Businesses are vulnerable due to shortage of cybersecurity talent; study
Intel Security's Raj Samani: "To address this workforce crisis, we need to foster new education models, accelerate the availability of training opportunities, and we need to deliver deeper automation so that talent is put to its best use on the frontline."

Intel Security released its global report, "Hacking the Skills Shortage", outlining the talent shortage crisis impacting the cybersecurity industry across both companies and nations.

In partnership with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the report highlighted that the majority of respondents (82%) admit to a shortage of cybersecurity skills, with 71% of respondents citing this shortage as responsible for direct and measurable damage to organisations whose lack of talent makes them more desirable hacking targets.

"A shortage of people with cybersecurity skills results in direct damage to companies, including the loss of proprietary data and IP," said James A Lewis, senior vice president and director of the Strategic Technologies Program at CSIS. "This is a global problem; a majority of respondents in all countries surveyed could link their workforce shortage to damage to their organisation."

Despite 1 in 4 respondents confirming their organisations have lost proprietary data as a result of their cybersecurity skills gap, there are no signs of this workforce shortage abating in the near-term. Respondents' surveyed estimate an average of 15% of cybersecurity positions in their company will go unfilled by 2020.

With the increase in cloud, mobile computing and the Internet of Things, as well as advanced targeted cyberattacks and cyberterrorism across the globe, the need for a stronger cybersecurity workforce is critical. 

"The security industry has talked at length about how to address the storm of hacks and breaches, but government and the private sector haven't brought enough urgency to solving the cybersecurity talent shortage," said Raj Samani, VP and CTO, EMEA, Intel Security. "To address this workforce crisis, we need to foster new education models, accelerate the availability of training opportunities, and we need to deliver deeper automation so that talent is put to its best use on the frontline. Finally, we absolutely must diversify our ranks."

The demand for cybersecurity professionals is outpacing the supply of qualified workers, with highly technical skills the most in need across all countries surveyed. In fact, skills such as intrusion detection, secure software development and attack mitigation were found to be far more valued than softer skills including collaboration, leadership and effective communication.

The report also revealed that, unsurprisingly, countries and industry sectors that spend more on cybersecurity are better placed to deal with the workforce shortage, which according to 71% of respondents, has resulted in direct and measureable damage to their organisation's security networks. Furthermore, only 23% of respondents say education programs are preparing students to enter the industry.

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