The cybersecurity skills gap is a phrase often used to describe the difference between the number of cybersecurity positions available and the number of actual cybersecurity professionals that exist to fill those positions. Currently, there are far more cybersecurity positions than there are skilled practitioners available to fill them.
The cybersecurity skills gap is also sometimes referred to as the cybersecurity workforce gap.
The cybersecurity skills gap increases the risk of threats, breaches, and attacks by creating an environment in which organizations are unable to adequately staff security professionals possessing the right expertise and experience. Thus, critical positions remain unfilled, and organizations are unable to sufficiently protect and defend themselves.
Two major research studies have highlighted the ongoing cybersecurity skills gap problem. In 2019, (ISC)2 found that the “cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 145% to close the skills gap and better defend organizations worldwide.” In 2021, a second study by (ISC)2 examined the current estimate of individuals working in cybersecurity (known as the Cybersecurity Workforce Estimate) and the Cybersecurity Workforce Gap, which is the number of additional security practitioners needed for organizations to adequately defend their assets. This 2021 study found that “Together, the Cybersecurity Workforce Estimate and Cybersecurity Workforce Gap suggest the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets.”
Industry researchers are quick to point out that these studies only reflect the gap between the number of actual security professionals and the number currently needed by the industry. The statistics do not necessarily account for the anticipated increase in threats and attacks, which is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years.
How Can Organizations Manage Security Risks due to the Cybersecurity Skills Gap?
As cybersecurity staffing challenges continue to peak, organizations struggling to fill open cybersecurity roles should consider working with a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provider. An MDR provider can offer skilled staff to augment the staff in Security Operations Centers (SOCs) and Security Operations (SecOps). Outsourcing security activities to an MDR also offers cost-effective benefits over attempting to manage security in house, as well as the ability to scale as workloads increase or decrease.↑