FireEye Stories

One of Cyber Security’s Most Pressing Problems: The Skills Shortage

There is a very prevalent human factor to the success of cyber security; behind the technology lies a team of professionals with a range of technical and specialist skills used to implement defense and proactive hunting strategies. While technology has a big part to play in the war against cyber attacks, it is the human element that is both the catalyst for attack and defense.

Cyber attacks have risen to such a level that in 2018, 77 percent of organizations surveyed had borne the brunt of a successful attack at least once. Although worldwide spending on information security has been predicted to grow to $124 billion, some security researchers have estimated the total cost of cyber crime will quadruple in 2019 to $2.1 trillion, outpacing cyber security spend by 16 times.

These levels of threat activity prompt the demand for skilled workers, driving unprecedented employment activity in a sector that is still relatively new – so much so that the global unemployment level for cyber security is yet to exceed two percent (one percent in Europe). In 2018-19, 53 percent of organizations said they felt there was a problematic shortage of cyber security skills (up 11 percent on 2015). The projected global workforce gap for 2022 is a staggering 3.5 million.

Positive measures are being taken to address the skills gap and worker shortage, but it will take several years of focused effort to get the situation under control. In the meantime, organizations will need to review both long- and short-term strategies to securely navigate their way around the skills gap. This may well involve accepting a little short-term pain while long-term solutions are bedding in.

There are a number of near- and longer-term options to mitigate the risk of a security breach available to businesses of all sizes, including recruiting, training, outsourcing and supplementing expertise with artificial intelligence.

The right mix of solutions to ease the pain of the cyber security skills gap can only be determined by each individual business; their needs, perceived exposure to risk and – of course – budgets. To succeed, organizations must be cognizant of the risks and rewards generated by the solutions currently available, both in the short- and long-term.

To learn more about the growing cyber skills shortage, and options for addressing the challenges that arise from it, read the new FireEye white paper, Combat the Cyber Skills Shortage, today.