We live in a connected world. It’s hard to imagine that what once began as a small number of large computers in the 1970s has grown to encompass billions of connected devices from personal computers, mobile phones, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Yet the advent of personal computing has come with the price of added security risks in day-to-day life. Likewise, the risk to organizations from a network-enabled cyber attack has increased exponentially. Threats can occur at any point on the internet where there is a potential weakness that hackers can exploit either via a phishing email message, a spoof social media posting or even a compromised hardware. As the number of devices grows, the potential for attack and disruption increases.
Additional security risks have also increased with the spread of cloud computing. In an enterprise cloud computing survey, IDG found that 28 percent of all organizations will rely on private clouds as part of their IT infrastructure. This is in addition to the roughly 32 percent that will be utilizing the public space or a hybrid model of cloud computing. A cloud computing market analysis by Cisco found that 83 percent of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud in the near future. This increase, compounded with additional spending increases cited in the Forrester Research report, will further increase the need for increased cyber security measures in the years to come.
The Cost of Security
Cyber security breaches are costly and damaging to any organization, in terms of both capital and reputation. A recent survey reported that 43 percent of organizations had experienced a data breach involving sensitive customer or business information in the past two years. Based on this data, two in five organizations are hit each year with a serious breach in which a significant amount of confidential data is compromised.
It seems like hardly a week goes by without at least one report of a data breach in the news. A store may have had their credit card data stolen. A health insurance company may have lost the records of those they cover. The government loses records of those with clearances—while what was supposed to be private emails are now being published on activist websites. It seems as though no organization, private or public, is safe from cyber attacks.
The nature of cyber attacks is changing drastically. Initially, the most common target was the email, like the messages from ‘banks’ asking for account details or even the inheritance claim from a relative that was unknown. As various avenues of computing advanced, cyber attacks advanced as well to larger scale operations which are no longer limited to targeting an individual but rather enterprises from the financial markets to the government sector. The cost of such advanced cyber attacks cannot be measured in capital losses alone but must also be measured in the intangible such as reputation. According to studies done by IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million which to many companies is too steep a cost.
The Importance of Cyber Security Skills in Organizations
With technology becoming increasingly sophisticated, the skills of the criminals often outpace the ability of security professionals inside organizations. The proof of this is the number of attacks that succeed. With the increased importance of cyber security, qualified and well-trained engineers are in great demand.
Organizations need people who have mastered the skills to secure networks and to protect systems, computers, and data from attack, damage and/or unauthorized access.
The Cyber Security Hiring Crisis
The shortage of security talent is a challenge that must be met. Though budgets are generous, CIOs are still struggling to find qualified hires with security skills that are up to date. John Stewart, chief security officer and SVP at Cisco, has said, “the industry is short of more than one million security professionals across the globe.”
There is a hiring crisis in cyber security. Organizations are desperate to find qualified security professionals and fill key staff positions. According to the ISACA State of Cybersecurity that surveyed more than 3,400 ISACA members, 27 percent of cyber security professionals say that they cannot find skilled candidates, leaving jobs unfilled, another 14 percent are unsure if they are able to fill the positions. According to the same study, 50 percent of organizations planned on increasing their cyber security budget.
Within the next few years, it’s estimated that 3.5 billion jobs in cybersecurity will be unfilled due to skill gaps and market need. The need for skilled professionals is only going to grow as cloud computing and technology continues to expand and security risks increase. A report by Burning Glass Technologies suggests that security job postings have grown by 74 percent and that the security jobs take close to 24 percent longer to fill than regular IT jobs due to the lack of qualifications in the market today.
This IT security crunch is coming at a time when the private and the government sector employers are looking to fill positions in the wake of cyber security threats, data breaches, widespread vulnerabilities like Shellshock and Heartbleed, and expanding compliance mandates. With the advent of new vulnerabilities and DDoS attacks that have crippled internet connectivity in the recent years, more and more professionals are needed to be on guard as trained professionals in cyber security, cloud computing, and other strategically important IT roles.
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Training to Bridging Cyber Security Skills Gap
The training necessary to bridge the cyber security skills gap is available and highly sought after due to the gaps in the market. While no single training delivery model works best for every learner, a learner-centric model must be utilized. At Simplilearn, we’ve found that a “blended learning delivery model” coupled with 24/7 access to teaching assistants in combination with project-based learning opportunities and quizzes/assessments increases competencies and proficiency. Designed by expert authors, our cyber security courses offer high-quality training in both technical and business skills to ensure professional success.