CISOs: We’re Losing the Skills Race With Black Hats

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Nearly half of CISOs in the UK, France and Germany believe they’re losing the skills race with cyber-criminals, according to new research from Symantec.

The security giant teamed up with London’s Goldsmiths University to poll over 3000 IT security decision makers across the three countries. The resulting report, High Alert:Tackling Cyber Security Overload in 2019, has some alarming findings.

Over two-fifths (44%) claimed their teams lack the necessary skills to tackle threats effectively, and 37% said they are overwhelmed with heavy workloads, although these figures dropped to 38% and 23% in the UK, respectively.

Similar numbers claimed their teams are too busy to keep up with skills development (46%), and that technological change is happening too quickly for them to adapt (45%). These figures were again slightly lower (39% and 37%) in the UK.

Goldsmiths director of innovation, Chris Brauer, argued that talent and skills are now the most important weapons in the cyber-arms race.

“The vast majority find this battle of wits an exciting and deeply intellectual challenge. But, this demanding work comes with high stakes and is fought at a frenetic pace with little support,” he added.

“Add to this the relentless volume of alerts and more mundane tasks, and the job can quickly turn toxic. Highly stressed workers are far more likely to be disengaged and ultimately quit. In an industry already plagued by a skills shortage, this is a significant risk to businesses.”

In previously released findings from the report, 64% of those polled said they had considered quitting their role, while 63% said they had thought about leaving the industry completely.

This chimes somewhat with a recent Nominet report which revealed that 91% of UK and US CISOs suffer moderate or high stress.

The skills shortage in cybersecurity has reached nearly three million professionals globally, including 142,000 in EMEA.

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