Cyber Security’s New Workforce

A shortage in the global cybersecurity workforce continues to be a problem for companies in all industries and of all sizes. In fact, this shortage remains the number one job concern for those working in the field. 
 
Yet foreign adversaries and cyber criminals are getting more aggressive and advanced, and cyber threats have become an economic and security threat. The estimated current cybersecurity workforce is 2.8 million professionals, while the amount of additional trained staff needed to close the skills gap is 4.07 million professionals, according to (ISC)²
 
The data indicates a necessary cybersecurity workforce increase of 145% globally.
The recent Cybersecurity Workforce Study carried out by (ISC)² shows that these cybersecurity and IT professionals are generally satisfied in their careers and optimistic about their futures. But the size of the current workforce still leaves a significant gap between the number of cybersecurity professionals working in the field and the number needed to keep organisations safe.
 
However, the cyber security workforce shortage is reaching crisis levels. One estimate from Cybersecurity Ventures says the shortage will reach 3.5 million open cyber security positions worldwide by 2021.
 
In the US the NSA has spent the last 20 years cultivating an interwoven network of universities and community colleges across the country capable of educating students in rigorous cybersecurity programs that are tailored to the needs of the agency.
 
Diane Janosek, the head of the NSA’s National Cryptologic School, has set a goal for students to “learn cybersecurity education that can be applied to more than just the defense and intelligence sector. It could be applied to the banking industry, the finance industry, the healthcare industry, manufacturing.”
 
To ensure that these sectors are matched with adequately prepared talent, the participating institutions must meet rigorous curriculum standards that evolve with the threat landscape. 
 
The web of universities and community colleges across the US established a communication network that fosters real cooperation between the designated schools.  The partnerships with universities across the country also expand facility access for the NSA. For example, Dakota State University is developing a secure research facility for the government, called Madison Cyber Labs. If they don’t work for the government, students who graduate from programs like this  often end up working for local hospitals or school districts, sectors that have been devastated by the ransomware epidemic that has closed schools and hospitals. 
 
Cybersecurity Workforce Skills Gap Around The World
In the UK, the current cybersecurity workforce estimate is 289,000, alongside 121,000 in France and 133,000 in Germany. The shortage of skilled professionals across EMEA has grown to 291,000. The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study is conducted annually to assess the US cybersecurity workforce gap, better understand the barriers facing the cybersecurity profession and uncover strategies that organisations can use to recruit, build and strengthen their cybersecurity teams. 
 
It provides insights on these talented individuals who are excelling in this profession, securing their organisations’ critical assets and advancing in their careers. Among the key findings from a study by (ISC)2:
 
• 65% of organisations report a shortage of cybersecurity staff; a lack of skilled/experienced cybersecurity personnel is the top job concern among respondents (36%)
• Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents reported that they are either somewhat satisfied (37%) or very satisfied (29%) in their jobs; and 65% intend to work in cybersecurity for their entire careers
• 30% of survey respondents are women; 23% of whom have security-specific job titles
• 37% are below the age of 35, and 5% are categorised as Generation Z, under 25’s
• 62% of large organisations with more than 500 employees have a CISO; that number drops to 50% among smaller organisations
• 48% of organisations represented say their security training budgets will increase within 2020.
 
(ISC)2:           Help Net  Security:         I-HLS:
 
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