World faces cybersecurity skills shortage

A padlock on a motherboard surrounded by keys

The world is facing a crisis in finding cybersecurity professionals, according to a new survey, with respondents blaming governments for failing to have to right policies in place to nurture talent.

The survey of 775 cyber security professionals by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that 82 per cent felt there was a shortage of people with cybersecurity skills and 71 per cent said that a lack of talent was making organisations more vulnerable to direct attacks.

"A shortage of people with cybersecurity skills results in direct damage to companies, including the loss of proprietary data and IP," said James Lewis, senior vice president 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."

In the UK, just 14 per cent of respondents said the British education system was adequate in preparing IT professionals for cyber security with 75 per cent of professionals saying there was a shortage of talent in the UK.

Despite that, the country is ranked highest in current investment in cybersecurity education and is thought to be best situated to institute educational reforms.

Overall, slightly more than three quarters of those surveyed said their governments are not investing enough in building cybersecurity talent, and the same percentage said the laws and regulations for cybersecurity in their country are insufficient.

The report recommended that countries can change this shortfall in critical cybersecurity skills by increasing government expenditure on education, promoting gaming and technology exercises, and pushing for more cybersecurity programs in higher education.

"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 Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager of Intel Security Group.

"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."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.