The high cost of the cybersecurity skills gap: Why we need to act now
Criminals always use our incompetence to their advantage. According to a report by (ISC), there is a shortage of almost three million cybersecurity professionals worldwide. Various facts lead to this shortage of cybersecurity specialists, such as the increasing complexity of cybersecurity threats, the rapid pace of technological advancements, and insufficient investments in cybersecurity education. But what does that mean for cybercriminals? More easy money to make.
The cybersecurity skills gap
The cybersecurity skills gap refers to the need for more qualified professionals with the skills and knowledge to protect all online data effectively. The said gap has been drastically growing in recent years, and it is expected to continue to widen in the near future.
However, the cybersecurity skills gap is more than just a theoretical problem. Sadly, it has real and significant costs, both to organizations and to society as a whole. Let's look at how the cybersecurity skills gap impacts all of us.
Increased risk of cyber attacks
The increase in cyber attacks is the reason for the cybersecurity skills gap. Without enough qualified professionals to detect, prevent, and respond to cyber threats, individuals and businesses are way more vulnerable to attacks. And that is indeed concerning because cyber attacks are only becoming more frequent, sophisticated, and damaging.
Higher cost of cybersecurity
The need for more cybersecurity professionals also results in a higher cost of maintaining cybersecurity. With limited qualified specialists, organizations must pay higher salaries to attract and retain cybersecurity talent. In addition, outsourcing cybersecurity services from third-party providers can be expensive, especially when the provider is located in a different country with a different cost of living.
Negative impact on business
The cybersecurity skills gap can also have a negative impact on business. With a limited cybersecurity workforce, organizations may be unable to comply with cybersecurity regulations, which can result in fines and reputational damage. In addition, cyber attacks can disrupt business operations, resulting in lost revenue and damage to customer trust.
Impact on National Security
The cybersecurity skills gap is a problem for both businesses and national security. A lack of cybersecurity professionals in government agencies and the military can leave the nation vulnerable to cyber attacks, severely affecting national security and public safety.
What can we do about it?
Knowing the current situation, it is more important than ever to take action and invest in cybersecurity. Here are some ways in which we can do this:
- Invest in cybersecurity education and training
Investing in cybersecurity education and training is one way to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap. This includes funding cybersecurity degree programs, certification programs, and professional development opportunities. This investment can attract and retain cybersecurity talent and ensure that professionals have the skills and knowledge to effectively protect systems and data from cyber threats.
- Increase general public knowledge about cybersecurity
General digital safety starts with ourselves. As a society, we must learn the basics of cybersecurity and the possible threats. Investing in good antivirus software, regularly updating passwords, not opening suspicious links, and even using a VPN is essential. What is a VPN connection? Simply put, it is a service that encrypts your internet traffic and masks your real IP. With a VPN turned on, it is almost impossible to intercept your data.
- Encourage diversity in cybersecurity
Another way to find new cybersecurity talents is by encouraging diversity in this field. Currently, the cybersecurity workforce is predominantly male and lacking in variety. Encouraging more women, people of colour, and other underrepresented groups to pursue cybersecurity careers can increase the pool of qualified cybersecurity professionals and bring fresh perspectives and ideas to tackle cyber threats.
- Implement automation and artificial intelligence
Automation and artificial intelligence can also help to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap. These technologies can be used to automate repetitive tasks, such as patching and updating systems and to analyze large amounts of data to identify potential threats. This can free cybersecurity professionals to focus on more complex tasks and reduce the need for a large cybersecurity workforce.