Cybersecurity staff and skills shortages have been consistent trends over the past few years. According to the (ISC2) 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the 2022 global cybersecurity workforce gap stood at 3.4 million people, an increase of 26.2% from 2021. This means that not only are cybersecurity staff shortages continuing, but they are getting worse and impacting organizations’ ability to fight cyberattacks.
According to the report, 70% of organizations believe they do not have sufficient cybersecurity staff to be effective. And over half of employees at organizations with cybersecurity staff shortages rated the risk of a cyberattack, as a result of these shortages, as “moderate” to “extreme”. For organizations with “significant” staff shortages, 20% of employees rated the risk of a cyberattack in their organization as “extreme”.
Looking at the reasons for cybersecurity staff shortages, the leading causes were an inability to find enough qualified talent (43% of organizations), employee turnover (33%), an inability to offer competitive wages (31%) and low budgets for cybersecurity programs (28%).
These findings are indicators of a prevalent, far-reaching and persistent reality – organizations can’t find enough people, and those they can find they can’t keep.
Adjusting to the New Reality
To address today’s shortage of cybersecurity professionals, organizations must adjust their approach and adopt new measures that are not as heavily reliant on internal staff to maintain their cybersecurity programs, initiatives and tools.
There are three primary measures that organizations can begin taking today to help reduce the reliance, and load, on internal cybersecurity staff – consolidation, automation and fully managed security services.
Measure #1 — Consolidation
The first measure to address cybersecurity staff shortages is a consolidation of security tools. The mathematics are simple – the fewer tools to manage and maintain, the less time and energy is spent switching between systems and management consoles. In addition, the load on cybersecurity staff is lowered.
The solution is to consolidate individual tools and defenses that provide piecemeal protections with one-stop-shop, best-of-suite tools that provide coverage across a wide range of attacks and threat vectors. And it all needs to be managed with a single tool that includes a comprehensive reporting dashboard.
This approach enables security teams to maintain the same level of protection while speeding up processes with centralized management and reporting. This also means spending less time on switching between systems and integrating separate products.
However, it’s important to ensure that this consolidation won’t degrade your security posture. This requires selecting a best-of-suite tool that is also considered best-of-breed from a security standpoint. Doing so will ensure that your cybersecurity protections operate at optimal levels.
Measure #2 — Automation
The next measure for reducing the workload on cybersecurity staff is to automate as many processes as possible; doing so will replace slow and labor-intensive manual configurations.
When it comes to cybersecurity, automation falls into two categories:
- Security automation, which automates actual cyber defense activities, such as policy configuration, rule configuration, signature creation, et al.
- Deployment automation, which automates the deployment of cybersecurity mechanisms that don’t interrupt existing business or technical processes.
As attacks grow larger and more sophisticated, security automation is essential in order to provide constant protection against attacks. Any type of security process that is based on manual processes is vulnerable to shifting attack patterns and new zero-day attacks. It’s important to note that there are currently no protection signatures for either.
This is a particularly difficult problem in today’s staff-constrained world. There simply aren’t enough qualified people who have the time and skills to quickly respond to attacks and perform these activities when one occurs.
By combining these two types of security automation measures, organizations can reduce both the direct load on cybersecurity teams (creating new rules, defining security policies, et al.) and successfully mitigate attacks. In addition, it reduces the impact and interruption to other teams, including DevOps, IT, Operations, Marketing, and others.
Measure #3 — Fully Managed Security Services
The third and final measure to address today’s shortage of cybersecurity professionals is to outsource cybersecurity functions and rely on successful and fully managed security services. They’ll do the heavy lifting for you.
The term cybersecurity encompasses a massive domain that includes many dedicated sub-domains. Examples of these sub-domains include network security (firewalls, VPNs, secure web gateways, et al.), application protection (WAF, bot protection, DDoS protection, and more), endpoint security (anti-virus, EDR, et al.), email security, public cloud security (workload protection, CSPM, IAM security, et al.), and many, many others.
Each subdomain is distinct in its scope of protection, attack vectors, threat surfaces and tools. And as the threat landscape becomes more complex, these domains grow farther apart. Each requires more dedicated, specialized personnel.
It is virtually impossible to find cybersecurity staff who possess the knowledge and expertise required to address each sub-domain and understand the tools that support them. So, even if your organization has enough personnel, it may not have the right skills on staff to cover all the bases.
It simply makes sense to rely on fully managed security services to effectively outsource certain security functions. Provided you select the right managed services provider, you’ll be turning over these functions to experts who perform these activities daily. It’s their sole focus.
Just remember, it’s critically important to ensure the managed security provider has a proven track record and that they are properly staffed and trained. This approach can greatly unburden internal cybersecurity teams while simultaneously enhancing your organization’s level of protection.
Cybersecurity staff and skills shortages affect organizations worldwide; few companies are immune. While finding and retaining trained cybersecurity experts will probably remain a challenge in the coming years, enacting these three measures will go a long way to help alleviate the impact of staff shortages. Best of all, it will help your organization improve the quality of its cybersecurity programs and initiatives. For more information about how you can keep your organization secure and protected from cyber threats, reach out to the Radware cybersecurity experts. We’d love to hear from you.