Lack of skills is leading cause of the information security ‘talent gap’, according to latest Infose

March 25, 2019

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More than half of respondents say the cyber skills shortage has left their business at increased risk of attack

A lack of skills is cited as the biggest challenge to recruiting cyber and information security talent by almost a third (30 per cent) of respondents to a social media poll conducted by Infosecurity Europe 2019 – Europe’s number one information security event.

This is followed by lack of recruitment budget (27 per cent) and lack of interest in careers within the sector (26 per cent). More than half (52 per cent) believe the skills shortage puts their business at increased risk of cyber-attacks.

“There are shortages of technical skills, particularly in SOC analysis, threat intelligence, research, incident response and forensic investigation,” says Paul McKay, Senior Analyst with Forrester Research Inc, who will himself be speaking at Infosecurity Europe 2019. “This is a result of difficulty in filling entry level roles, and keeping people interested once they’re there. At the top end, boards want CISOs to improve how they articulate business risk and manage the dynamics of how security can enhance the business strategy and vision. This requires commercial acumen and the so-called ‘soft skills’ – actually the hardest to master!”

Not only do more than a quarter of respondents flag up a lack of interest in an information security career as a major barrier to recruitment, but 46 per cent state they have found it difficult to encourage new talent into the sector. This makes it clear that attracting and retaining skilled individuals needs to be a priority.

David Boda, Group Head of Information Security at Camelot, suggests that businesses need to change how they approach recruitment. “Making the information security team visible to potential candidates helps attract those who are most in demand. This could be done by running meet-ups, contributing to the open source community or responsibly disclosing and publishing CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures lists), for example.”

Cybersecurity is a demanding profession and the required skillset is diverse, with a mix of technical, leadership, business and communication skills necessary to effectively protect an organisation against threats and risks. Unfortunately, recent research highlights that there will be as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions in the industry by 2021.

Lisa Hamilton, Deloitte’s Cyber Security Associate Director, believes that actively building diverse teams is an imperative for the sector. “This will bring together individuals with their own perspectives to challenge and think about solving problems differently which will benefit the cyber security industry. To do this, we need to be open-minded when sourcing talent, focusing less on pre-requisites and more on behaviours, characteristics and enthusiasm.”

Victoria Windsor, Group Content Manager at Infosecurity Group, says: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled cybersecurity professionals but it’s such an exciting and stimulating field to work in, with so many opportunities, we want to make sure that we, as an industry, do our best to get this message across. We will be addressing this issue at Infosecurity Europe 2019 by introducing FutureSec – a programme of sessions and events focused on the development of people, skills and careers.

“As new technologies and threats emerge, and business environments become more complex, the skillsets needed will evolve. Government, education and businesses need to acknowledge the cyber security skills gap and work on inspiring people to consider a career in the industry, while increasing inclusivity. Most importantly, the sector must address its own problem with strategies to recruit talent from a range of backgrounds and investments in training and education.”

Infosecurity Europe 2019 is dedicated to building knowledge and capabilities within the information and cyber security community. In addition to a series of Strategy Talks and Tech Talks, visitors can attend sessions including:

The Information Security Exchange – 60-minute sessions that bring together end users and vendors to engage in open discussion and exchange expertise.
A Women in Cybersecurity networking event where industry will meet to celebrate the achievements of women in cybersecurity, debate the challenges around diversity and discuss career opportunities for women in the industry.
Security Workshops – in-depth, extended sessions covering a range of business-critical topics in a practical and interactive format.

Attracting 9,763 responses, the Infosecurity Europe Twitter poll was conducted during the week of 15 March. Infosecurity Europe also asked its community of CISOs about the challenges presented by the increasing convergence of cyber and physical domains, and how security can be managed in a cohesive way.

Infosecurity Europe, now in its 24th year, takes place at Olympia, Hammersmith, London, from 4-6 June 2019. It attracts over 19,500 unique information security professionals attending from every segment of the industry, including 400 exhibitors showcasing their products and services, industry analysts, worldwide press and policy experts, and over 200 industry speakers are lined up to take part in the free-to-attend conference, seminar and workshop programme - https://www.infosecurityeurope.com

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