Struggling to find a cyber security professional with the skills to protect your business? You’re not alone: The shortage of qualified cyber security experts is nationwide. In October 2019, the Institute of Data reported that demand for cyber professionals currently outstrips the amount of specialists in the field by 2,300 workers. In fact, the shortage may go far beyond our borders, with some sources suggesting the global glut of cyber security professionals may exceed 1.8 million workers by 2020.
For business owners looking to protect their enterprise from cyber security threats, this poses a challenge. Within a shrinking workforce, how do you find a reliable cyber security expert who can manage your networks and proactively prevent digital attacks? Alternatively, can you manage your own cyber security infrastructure? These questions are particularly concerning for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), which frequently lack the profile and resources to attract qualified cyber security professionals, who are in high demand.
In order to answer these questions, it’s important to understand their root causes. In partnership with cyber security experts ESET, we explain why companies of all sizes are currently struggling to attract skilled cyber professionals – and how to tackle the problem.
Cyber security challenges for Australian businesses
1. Lack of specialised knowledge
At the core of the cyber security skills shortage is a lack of professionals who have completed the relevant cyber security certifications. Rather than attracting qualified graduates and skilled migrants with IT security certifications, the workforce is seeing growth – albeit minimal – from workers transitioning from another industry. While they may have referrable skills, they simply lack the specialised knowledge and expertise to tackle fast-moving cyber security threats.
In large part, this is due to the fact that IT and cyber security have only become formal fields of study in recent years. Over time, the number of qualified professionals will likely grow as the fields become established – though this may take several years, which most businesses can’t afford to spend waiting.
2. Growing cost of cyber security solutions
Given the global skills shortage, it’s no surprise that the cost of implementing cyber security is on the rise. In 2019, the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network predicted that global spending on cyber security products and services will increase by nearly 90% over the next 10 years due to growth in both demand and associated costs.
While many large organisations and government bodies are financially equipped to deal with this cost spike, the same cannot be said for SMEs. For smaller businesses, the cost of cyber security solutions accounts for a larger chunk of their operational budget – up to 4%, compared with just 1-2% for larger enterprises. In many cases, this figure is enough to make contracting cyber security professionals or investing in other forms of cyber security protection impractical, if not impossible.
3. Difficulty of maintaining IT security infrastructure in-house
Even for companies who can afford to contract a cyber security professional, the battle doesn’t end there. Once a contract has finished or the cyber expert is no longer on the company premises, it’s often up to the company’s other employees to manage cyber security efforts. A lack of time, resources, and specialised knowledge can complicate this task, and often means that cyber security best practice and systems established by the contracted professional fall by the wayside.
Beyond this, the constant emergence of new cyber threats and aggressors makes it difficult for staff who are not trained in cyber security to keep up with trends. Security partnerships that keep users up-to-date on emergent threats are a good way to overcome this challenge, and should be integrated into holistic cyber security plans.
Take your business’ cyber security into your own hands
As any SME owner or corporate stakeholder knows, cyber security is a matter of high priority. The speed at which cyber threats evolve and new aggressors emerge means that businesses simply can’t wait for the Australian cyber security talent pool to grow.
If you’re considering taking charge of your own digital security, we recommend investing in a solution like ESET Secure Business or ESET Threat Intelligence Service. Suitable for businesses of varying sizes, both platforms allow you to manage your own security across on- and off-premise endpoints. To learn more about these powerful security programs and which is best for you, get in touch with ESET today!