By Erica Rascon
Your organization manages sensitive information every day. You rely on cybersecurity specialists to protect your data from misuse. The demand for security specialists is skyrocketing, yet a shortage in candidates leaves the industry—and your organization—vulnerable.
Symantec reports that the global demand for the cybersecurity workforce is expected to rise to 6 million by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million.
The profession is slated to grow by 36.5 percent through 2022. While that is a notable improvement, it is still woefully short. Reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that the demand for information security specialists is expected to grow by 53 percent as soon as 2018. Currently, 209, 000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. remain unfulfilled.
The result is a lack of 24×7 monitoring by nearly 75 percent of security enterprises. There simply aren’t enough specialists to supervise your data around the clock.
The shortage of talent causes many security teams to fall short of their goals. A report by 451 Research compiled responses from more than 1,000 IT professionals. The outcomes revealed that 34.5 percent of security managers couldn’t implement desired security projects due to a lack of staff expertise. More than 26 percent fall short of objectives due to inadequate staffing.
To fill the void, many organizations opt to cross-train existing IT staff.
Chris Cochran, Threat Intelligence Leader at IronNet Cybersecurity expounds: “The great thing about cross-training is that IT technicians already have a background in a cyber craft. This shortens the time it would take to make someone operational in a given task or field. The downside is that, more often than not, you find cyber experts stretched for time and expertise. They are being spread too thin across the landscape. We need resident experts. We need people that will focus on the hard problems and create solutions.”
Securing specialized talent should be a top priority for all organizations that manager sensitive data. Enterprises must get creative as they vie for the attention of limited candidates.
Veronica Mollica, founder and executive information security recruiter at Indigo Partners regularly encounters competitive exchanges. “Our candidates are facing competing offers from multiple companies with salary increases averaging over 30 percent. Current employers are scrambling to retain talent with counter offers including 10% and higher salary increases for information security team members to remain on board.”
Dice technology career site reports that security software engineers have an average salary of $233,333. That’s about $8,000 more than the average CSO salary. In addition to competitive salaries, employers will need to consider additional options with the package.
“Although salaries in our field are generally substantial, I find it is job satisfaction that reigns supreme for both recruiting and retention,” says Cochran. “To make a Marine Corps analogy: It is hard to find a manning vacancy in a unit that has an awesome mission. Individuals want their work to matter. Individuals want the freedom to use their tools and skills to create innovative solutions to hard problems. Individuals want to work for an organization or mission that they care about. If companies can create a corporate culture that allows concepts like that to thrive, recruiting and retention will be much easier.”
Competitive compensation packages, creative freedom, and engaging assignments are only the first steps. Ultimately, the field needs more qualified talent.
Existing digital security specialists within your organization can serve as instructors, volunteers, and mentors at youth cybersecurity schools throughout the U.S. Many colleges and universities are expanding their degree programs. These training grounds refine talent from an early age and present organizations with the opportunity to forge brand loyalty.
“There are several of us in the field that are making an effort to inspire young adults to seriously consider cyber and cybersecurity as a profession,” says Cochran. “The cyber world has been generous to a lot of people. I believe it to be our duty to give back and inspire our youth to carry the torch to places we haven’t even dreamt of.”
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