Is the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage Really a Resourcing Issue?

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According to recent Sophos research, IT teams are reporting that their workloads (84%) and the number of cyber-attacks they faced (82%) have increased over the last year. Based on direct feedback from 5,400 IT managers across 30 countries, our report shines a light on the resourcing challenges that IT teams have faced over the last year.

The move undoubtedly drove the trend towards increasing numbers of cyberattacks to remote working, which the pandemic forced on us all. This led to the need for greater IT support while providing more opportunities for cyber-criminals.

Resources Stretched to the Limit

This persistent drain on time and resources has meant many IT teams have been pushed to the limit. More work to be done but job applicants for vacancies in short supply. As a result, team members’ strategic planning and career development have been put on the back burner while everyone spends their time doing everything they can to ‘keep the lights on.’

So, how can IT decision-makers (ITDMs) overcome the skills shortage and wrestle back the initiative to focus on their real priorities once again?

There are many answers to this question, but acquiring intelligent automated security software and tools should be right at the top of the list. For example, 92% of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) expect AI technology to be vital in helping deal with the growing amount and complexity of threats in the future.

Take Advantage of New Automated Security Software

By making the most of intelligent automated security software and tools, ITDMs can free up their teams from day-to-day admin and boring, repetitive tasks - giving them the freedom to focus on more strategic and technical work, such as threat hunting.

That would be a significant first step to take, but it’s not the only thing they can do. Working with partners is a great way to help bolster a company’s cybersecurity expertise without having to add to the headcount. Combining in-house and outsourced IT expertise provides the best of both worlds, making it easier to adapt and respond to change, leveraging the best people for each situation.

A little help from outside is exactly what most IT teams are looking for in the current climate. Our report found that 54% of IT managers believe cyberattacks are now too advanced for their in-house team to deal with on their own. With cyber-criminals seeming to raise their game by the day, this need for specialist expertise to thwart attacks is likely to continue to grow moving forward.

Short-circuiting the system in this manner offers a cost-effective way of accessing a larger pool of cybersecurity talent and a broader range of cybersecurity solutions. This specialist support will be particularly welcome when it comes to incident response or 24/7 managed threat detection.

Improve Retention Rates

Outsourcing specialist skills will take the pressure off the in-house IT team and give employees the opportunity and time to develop their own talents and take on more rewarding and versatile work. This means ITDMs are likely to see their employee retention rates boosted. In turn, this will help strengthen the talent pool in the future.

With everything else that’s preoccupying their attention, ITDMs need to remember to put real effort into building their in-house IT security team pipeline with apprenticeships and in-role training. This will help nurture and develop the talent already in the building. Another worthwhile step is investing in tools and training that will enable the team to use their growing skills to the full.

While helping to boost the morale of current employees, this will also help recruit new talent to the business. In addition, adopting innovative technologies that can be managed from any location is another way to help increase the talent pool by making an organization more attractive to those outside.

Building the IT Team of the Future

So, what will the IT team of the future look like?

It’s likely to be bigger, for a start. 68% of ITDMs anticipate an increase in in-house IT security staff by 2023. 56% also expect the number of outsourced IT security staff to grow too. Still, while resourcing might continue to be a problem in the future, it’s good to know there are effective ways around this worrying issue - like increasing staff retention and outsourcing expertise.

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