With major data breaches becoming an almost daily occurrence, companies are rethinking their strategies for protecting their technological infrastructure. Cyber crime is now estimated to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion just a year ago. In the first half of last year alone, there were 301 known breaches exposing more than five million sensitive records, and many of those breaches were related to hacking and malware.
If the cyber security battle is to be won, companies must keep pace by building a capable team of technologists and cyber security experts who understand how bad actors think and can build a protocol to actively protect their networks.
Following are five key steps for upskilling your team of cyber security professionals:
1. Evaluate Your Current Skills Gap
Even with hacks and data breaches at an all time high, many CIOs still haven’t addressed the threats that cyber criminals pose to their companies. A recent PWC global survey reported that 48 percent of companies did not have an overall information security policy yet; 44 percent don’t have an employee security awareness training program; and 54 percent don’t have an incident response process in place. Much of this shortfall can be attributed to a lack of cyber security expertise from applicants for open positions within the organization. In fact, 84 percent of organizations believe half or a fewer number of candidates who apply for open security jobs are qualified. The critical first step to corporate cyber proficiency is to survey the organization and determine where skills gaps lie, from network access and cloud infrastructure to employee security awareness and the ability to build a company-wide protection plan.
2. Know the New Threat Vectors
The more you know about where potential new attacks will come from, the better you can keep your cyber security teams properly skilled. Because of their effectiveness of gaining back-door access to networks through unwitting employees, phishing attacks remain the hack of choice for many cyber criminals, with 76 percent of information security professionals revealing that their organization experienced phishing attacks in 2017. Meanwhile, ransomware “kits” and ransomware-as-a service offerings on the Dark Web have spiked an astonishing 2,500 percent. IoT (Internet of Things)-based attacks are also rising to match the explosive growth of IOT devices used in businesses. While 96 percent of respondents in a Tripwire study said they expect an increase in IoT security attacks, 51 percent said they’re not prepared for malicious campaigns that exploit or misuse industrial IoT.
3. Elevate the Cyber Security Role
Companies will need to prioritize their cyber security efforts from the top down. Chief information security officers (CISOs) are commonly elevated to a senior corporate role, with 40 percent of them now reporting directly to the CEO. According to an Information Systems Security Association survey, the demand is so high that 46 percent of senior cyber security professionals are receiving at least one solicitation to consider a new position each week. There is even a new role being created to fill demand; the “virtual CISO” who provides services on a contract basis to companies that need specific security or governance policy expertise.
4. Train to Think Like Hackers
One of the hottest roles evolving in the cyber security space is the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), a valuable corporate resource that defends the infrastructure by employing the same tactics that cyber criminals and malicious hackers use – without the danger of getting in trouble for it. CEH certification training is geared to help IT professionals master the advanced concepts of writing virus codes, exploit writing, reverse engineering, and the tactics hackers use to penetrate corporate networks, firewalls, IDS and wireless systems. According to a report, certified ethical hackers earn 44 percent higher salaries than their non-certified peers, so you don’t need to spend much time trying to convince a tech pro to become a CEH.
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5. Choose Certifications to Fit Every Need
Fortunately, upskilling your IT teams can be performed in a proven system that places an emphasis on the most current techniques available in a convenient online setting.
Some of the most common certifications include:
CISSP: The Certified Information Systems Security Professional is the gold standard in the field of information security. CISSP professionals are trained in all aspects of IT security, including architecture, design, management and controls, and they can create and implement a security plan that protects the entire IT infrastructure.
CISM: Certified Information Security Manager is a key certification for IT professionals who manage, design, oversee and assess enterprise information security. Enterprises and government agencies increasingly expect their IT professionals to hold a CISM certification, and it is considered essential to ongoing education and career development.
CISA: The Certified Information Systems Auditor is trained to govern and control enterprise IT, particularly in performing an effective and efficient security audit on any IT organization. The certification is usually aligned with ISACA standards.
COBIT 2019: COBIT 2019 is a key framework for managing and governing enterprise IT environments, reflecting the central role of IT to create value for the enterprise. It takes a systematic approach to cyber security, illustrating the impact cyber attacks can have on businesses and showing how to transform cyber security processes to continually improve.
Taking steps to upskill your cyber security team is one of the most important tasks CISOs and CIOs can take to protect their technology and financial assets from a growing list of cyber threats. The sooner you take action, the faster you can mitigate the damage for the inevitable cyber attack.