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Why there is a need for upskilling to combat talent shortage in cybersecurity

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By Shankar Lingam Sunnathi, Senior Vice President – IT & Compliance at Omega Healthcare Management Services

As we increasingly rely on technology, the importance of cybersecurity has become paramount. Cyber threats are growing in sophistication, necessitating organizations to prioritize cybersecurity. However, the need for more skilled cybersecurity professionals faces major obstacles, hindering the ability to hire and retain qualified experts to defend against these threats.

According to the (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2022, there is a significant global shortage of cybersecurity professionals. The study revealed that the talent gap currently stands at 3.4 million professionals, and growing every year. This scarcity affects large organizations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are particularly vulnerable due to limited skilled resources.

Recent data reaffirms the criticality of the cybersecurity talent shortage. A 2022 study by Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that the cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. The report also indicated that the global cybersecurity workforce must grow by 145% to meet the demand for professionals in this field.

Organizations must prioritize training their existing workforce to address this talent scarcity to cultivate the necessary cybersecurity skills. Learning & Development initiatives can help bridge the talent gap and equip organizations with the skills to safeguard against cyber threats. Upskilling can assume various forms, such as formal training programs, online courses, certifications, and apprenticeships. Organizations must invest in upskilling their employees to establish a robust and resilient cybersecurity workforce. This involves identifying skill gaps and delivering targeted training to address those gaps effectively.

Custom training programs can be developed to cater to the organization’s unique needs. One highly effective approach to upskilling is providing cybersecurity training tailored to employees’ specific job roles. For example, IT staff can receive training on identifying and mitigating common cyber threats like phishing scams, while finance employees can learn how to secure financial transactions.

Another way to upskill is by encouraging employees to obtain industry-recognized certifications. Certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and CompTIA Security+ are highly regarded in the cybersecurity field and can help employees develop the necessary skills to combat cyber threats. Apprenticeships present another effective means of upskilling employees. They provide on-the-job training and mentorship, enabling individuals to gain practical experience while acquiring new skills. Apprenticeships are particularly valuable for newcomers to the cybersecurity industry who may lack qualifications or experience.

Organizations should also create opportunities for career advancement to retain talent and foster a sense of value and commitment among employees. This can be achieved by establishing clear career paths and development plans that facilitate progression within the organization.

Upskilling employees to address the talent shortage in cybersecurity benefits both organizations and individuals. Cybersecurity is a highly valued and sought-after field, and individuals with cybersecurity skills are in high demand. By upskilling their employees, organizations equip them with valuable skills that contribute to career advancement and increase earning potential.

The cybersecurity talent shortage remains a significant challenge for organizations. By investing in upskilling, organizations can bridge the talent gap and establish a strong cybersecurity workforce capable of addressing evolving threats.

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