The cybersecurity world is currently grappling with a significant labor shortage. And that’s a problem with deep impacts.
In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has cited the cybersecurity labor shortage as a major national security threat. The Washington Post notes that “the dearth of cyber workers is making it harder to protect government data from being stolen by adversaries and diminishing its ability to help improve cybersecurity in industries vital to national and economic security.”
Understanding the cybersecurity labor shortage
(ICS)2, an international nonprofit membership association focused on inspiring a safe and secure cyber world through education and skill-based certification, first noted the labor shortage in 2020. The organization’s annual workforce study sought to understand the impact of the pandemic on cybersecurity professionals and revealed a need for over three million qualified workers.
Not much has improved in the two-plus years since that report. A recent report from the Ponemon Institute on the state of machine identities dug deeper into the impact of this shortage, revealing that 50% of organizations lack personnel in key roles.
This situation is alarming: without the personnel required to properly analyze, detect, and remediate security-related incidents, breaches are inevitable. And while the industry is well aware of the situation and taking great strides to fill the personnel gap, incidents are increasing at such a breakneck pace that we’ve reached the point where it’s nearly impossible to simply add more people to provide the necessary coverage.
Fortunately, the future is not all bleak. We still need to focus on fixing the labor shortage, but it’s also imperative for organizations to adopt technologies that can help their existing cybersecurity teams work more efficiently. These technologies can go a long way toward resolving the challenges we face today.
3 tips to make your existing cybersecurity team more efficient
The most immediate impact you can make to improve cybersecurity efforts in your organization is to make your existing team more efficient. Here’s a look at three ways you can do that today:
1) Replace Manual Work with Automation
The most often overlooked way to change the efficiency curve is to find and eliminate manual processes in favor of automation.
Notably, many cybersecurity teams waste hours on operational tasks that could be easily automated. Beyond time savings, automation can also have other positive impacts on the business, as it can alleviate the risks associated with misconfiguration due to human error.
While automation requires investment in technology, it’s a huge win for organizations that can recapture lost efficiencies – which has a direct financial benefit in a tight labor market.
2) Move to the Cloud with Managed Service Providers
Using managed cloud service providers to run security infrastructure is an immediate win for most organizations.
In this case, moving to the cloud is no longer about reducing headcount. Rather, it’s about taking a highly skilled workforce and reallocating them to produce a higher level of security for the business.
Teams that take this approach can reallocate the time of key personnel from specialized cybersecurity operations (which have now been outsourced to third-party experts) to instead focus on critical cybersecurity functions. Once they do so, these teams typically see an almost immediate reduction in the operational overhead required to run specific systems.
3) Prioritize Retention Among Your Current Cybersecurity Team
It goes without saying that prioritizing retention among existing team members is one of the most critical things companies can do in the tight cybersecurity labor market, as replacing a lost cybersecurity professional will be extremely difficult and costly to your business.
A lot goes into prioritizing retention, but there are certain steps you can take that will be a win-win. Consider the two tips above: Making changes to eliminate manual and repetitive processes and engaging your existing team with the challenges of keeping the business safe from attack rather than bogging them down in the day-to-day operations of security infrastructure will undoubtedly lead to a happier, more engaged, and more efficient team.
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