Entering Crisis Mode: Cyber Security Talent Shortage Keeps Rising
Each week, headlines are flooded with the latest cyber security breach that has occurred. Cyber-crime is lucrative and will continue to rise, especially when we are ill-equipped to defend. In the last three years, the U.S. cyber security talent shortage has increased 50% to 314k. This pales in comparison to the global cyber security talent shortage of 2.9M in 2018, which almost tripled from the 1.0M shortage in 2015.
Analysts have been forecasting rapid increases in the talent shortage for years, but what is most concerning is that their estimates continue to rise. In 2015, the global talent shortfall was estimated to be 1.5 million by 2019. In 2016, it was increased to 2.0 million by 2020. In 2017, it was again drastically increased to 3.5 million by 2021.
Given the acceleration of the digital transformation, expansion of cloud and Internet-of-Things (IoT), and demand constraints on technical labor resources, it isn't surprising that we currently find ourselves in this situation.
How did we get here?
We live in the information age, where value is derived from data. The amount of data we need to protect from cyber-criminals has been growing exponentially. It is not surprising given the mass amounts of applications we continue to develop and connect to the internet. 90% of the data that exists in the world has been created over the past two years alone.
It is also important to understand the degree to which cyber defenders are underdogs when facing their adversaries. Cyber defenders must protect against thousands of different entry points, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. This compares to a cyber-criminal who needs to just find one vulnerability and can attack this week, next week, or next year. It is clear to see that the industry needs to dedicate vast amounts of personnel and resources to effectively defend against the damage just one cyber-criminal can make. This will continue to be an uphill battle that the industry, and consequently our society, will face indefinitely.
Where do we go from here?
Brian NeSmith, CEO and Co-Founder of Arctic Wolf Networks, summed it up nicely in his Forbes Technology Council August 2018 post:
"Companies need to broaden their range of potential candidates to seek smart, motivated and dedicated individuals who work well as part of a team. Just because they may not have the degrees, certificates or prior experience a company might hope for doesn't mean they won't be an excellent fit. If they're smart, collaborative and like to solve problems, it might make sense to consider their potential."
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