The Cybersecurity Staffing Shortage Explained
The global pandemic has resulted in a drastic increase in the number of employees working from home. This situation has led to challenges for cybersecurity staff, who are now having to ensure that employees in a variety of locations are working securely, on top of their standard daily tasks.
As reported by Kate Rogers and Betsy Spring for CNBC, “This rapid shift is a tall order for an industry that was already in need of skilled professionals long before the pandemic took hold.”
The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is a global issue. As reported in late 2019 by (ISC)2, the largest association of cybersecurity professionals, there is a global shortage of 4 million cybersecurity workers, with nearly 500 thousand of those workers needed in the United States, say Rogers and Spring.
“A separate survey of more than 300 cybersecurity professionals from ISSA shows that 70% of organizations report being impacted by the worker shortage and 45% of respondents say the cybersecurity skills shortage and its associated impacts have only gotten worse in recent years,” report Rogers and Spring.
David Shearer, CEO of (ISC)2 shares that experts in the field are rightfully concerned as they not only have open positions to fill, but also need to make plans for replacing an aging workforce. Diversity is another concern – the field is underrepresented for both women and minority groups.
“It’s going to take everyone we can find to be interested in cyber,” says Shearer. “As people start to retire, it’s only going to exacerbate the fact that it’s an undersized cyber workforce.”
While some hiring may have temporarily paused at the start of the pandemic, companies are now moving forward and adapting to interviewing and hiring in a virtual space.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job outlook for information security analysts is projected to grow 31%, much faster than average, between 2019 and 2029. In comparison, the average growth rate for all occupations is 4% and for computer occupations is 11%. These numbers are as of September 1, 2020.
“The increasing adoption of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses and a rise in cybersecurity threats will create demand for managed security services providers in this industry,” says BLS.
For those with an interest in information technology, the number of openings in cybersecurity – as well as the high salaries – make the field a strong choice.
“(ISC)2′s data finds the average North American salary for cybersecurity professionals is $90,000 a year and those who hold security certifications can make more,” say Rogers and Spring.
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