Bangalore: Cybersecurity skills gap contributed to 80% of breaches revealed in a report from cybersecurity company Fortinet.
The new global report found that the cybersecurity skills shortage continues to have multiple challenges and repercussions for organisations, including the occurrence of security breaches and subsequently loss of money. Interestingly, for C-level executives skills gap remained a top concern and is increasingly becoming a board-level priority.
“The cybersecurity skills gap isn’t just a talent shortage challenge, but it’s also severely impacting business, making it a top concern for executive leaders worldwide,” said Vishak Raman, VP – Sales, India, SAARC and SEA – Fortinet.
The Widespread Global Impact of the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage
According to (ISC) 2 ’s 2021 Cyber Workforce Report, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 65% to effectively defend organisations’ critical assets. While the number of professionals needed to fill the gap has decreased from 3.12 million down to 2.72 million in the past year, this is still a significant void that leaves organisations vulnerable.
Fortinet’s report demonstrates multiple risks resulting from the cybersecurity skills gap. Most notably, 8 in 10 organisations surveyed have suffered at least one breach they could attribute to a lack of cybersecurity skills or awareness. The survey also showed that globally 64% of organisations experienced breaches that resulted in the loss of revenue, recovery costs and/or fines.
Given the increasing costs of breaches on organisations’ profits and reputation, cybersecurity is becoming more of a board-level priority. Globally, 88% of organisations that have a board of directors reported that their board asks questions specifically about cybersecurity. And 76% of organisations have a board of directors who has recommended increases in IT and cybersecurity headcount.
Advancing Cybersecurity Skills Through Training and Certifications
Fortinet’s skills gap report demonstrated that training and certifications are critical ways organisations seek to further tackle the skills gap. The report revealed that 95% of leaders believe technology-focused certifications positively impact their role and their team, while 81% of leaders prefer to hire people with certifications.
Additionally, 91% of respondents shared they are willing to pay for an employee to achieve cyber certifications. One major reason for certifications being highly regarded is due to their validation of increased cybersecurity knowledge and awareness.
In addition to valuing certifications, 87% of organisations have implemented a training program to increase cyber awareness. However, 52% of leaders believe their employees still lack the necessary knowledge, which raises questions about how effective their current security awareness programs are.
“Through Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and Training Institute programs, we are committed to tackling the challenges revealed in the report through various initiatives, including programs focused on cybersecurity certifications and recruiting more women into cyber,” added Raman.
“As part of this commitment, Fortinet as pledged to train 1 million professionals to increase cyber skills and awareness and make a dent in the skills gap by 2026,” said Raman.
Addressing Recruitment and Retention Challenges with Diversity Commitments
A significant challenge for organisations has been finding and retaining the right people to fill critical security roles ranging from cloud security specialists to SOC analysts. The report found that 60% of leaders admit their organisation struggles with recruitment and 52% struggle to retain talent.
Among hiring challenges is the recruitment of women, new college graduates and minorities. Globally, 7 out of 10 leaders see the recruitment of women and new graduates as a top hiring hurdle and 61% said hiring minorities has been challenging. As organisations look to build more capable and more diverse teams, 89% of global companies have explicit diversity goals as part of their hiring strategy according to the report.
The report also demonstrated that 75% of organisations have formal structures to specifically recruit more women and 59% have strategies in place to hire minorities. Additionally, 51% of organisations have efforts in place to hire more veterans.
More than 1200 IT and cybersecurity decision-makers from 29 different locations, including India, U.S., France, Japan, Mexico and more were surveyed. The surveyed respondents came from a range of industries, including technology (28%), manufacturing (12%), and financial services (10%).
(Image source – Fortinet)