The Real Cost of the IT Security Talent Shortage

Big companies that struggle to attract sufficiently skilled IT security professionals end up paying up to three times more to recover from a cybersecurity incident, according to a new report prepared by Kaspersky Lab.

Besides the measurable budget impact, a significant share of businesses is observing a growth in wages, a general shortage in expert availability, and the need for more specialists in the field.

Citing complexity of IT infrastructure, compliance requirements and the overall desire to protect business assets, companies are highly motivated to grow their security intelligence. In fact, for a third of businesses, the improvement of specialist security expertise is one of the top three drivers for an additional investment in IT security.

The growing demand is not easy to fulfill due to a lack of available specialists and increasingly complex requirements. Kaspersky Lab employs hundreds of security professionals, and the company’s own recruitment managers report that on average, only one applicant out of forty, meets the strict criteria for an expert position.

But the challenge is not limited to technical know-how. The report quotes Kaspersky Lab’s security experts, who indicate that the need for security managers is even more substantial.

On top of deep technical knowledge, managers’ duties include communication with top management and overseeing the overall strategy – qualities that are especially important, and in fact, more appropriate, for large companies.

The report adds a final touch to the bigger picture of talent shortage with education challenges. Success in IT security requires a certain degree of passion for this particular IT field, willingness to constantly self-educate, and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing threat landscape.

Higher education institutions recognize the need revise their programs, and at the same time acknowledge the challenge of embedding security-oriented thinking into a wide variety of IT courses.

A call to action for the security industry

Overall, 68.5% of companies expect an increase in the number of full-time security experts, with 18.9% expecting a significant increase in headcount. Higher education is an important part of fulfilling such a demand, but this is also a call for a change within the security industry itself.

One of the solutions is to aid universities with relevant experience. Another, and very important in the long term, is to adapt R&D efforts towards the effective sharing of intelligence with corporate customers in the form of threat data feeds, security training and services.

A proper combination of security solutions and intelligence is what helps corporate security teams to spend less time on regular cybersecurity incidents and focus on strategic security development and advanced threats.  

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