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Cybersecurity Skills Gap Contributed to 80 Percent of Breaches According to New Fortinet Report

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Fortinet today released its 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report. The new global report reveals that the cybersecurity skills shortage continues to have multiple challenges and repercussions for organizations, including the occurrence of security breaches and subsequently loss of money. As a result, the skills gap remains a top concern for C-level executives and is increasingly becoming a board-level priority. The report also suggests ways the skills gap can be addressed, such as through training and certifications to increase employees’ education.

The Widespread Global Impact of the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage
According to (ISC)2’s 2021 Cyber Workforce Report, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65 percent to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets. While the number of professionals needed to fill the gap has decreased from 3.12 million down to 2.72 million in the past year, this is still a significant void that leaves organizations vulnerable.

Fortinet’s report demonstrates multiple risks resulting from the cybersecurity skills gap. Most notably, 8 in 10 organizations surveyed have suffered at least one breach they could attribute to a lack of cybersecurity skills or awareness. The survey also showed that globally 64 percent of organizations experienced breaches that resulted in loss of revenue, recovery costs and/or fines.

Vishak Raman, Vice President of Sales, India, SAARC and SEA at Fortinet, said, “According to the Fortinet report released today, the skills gap isn’t just a talent shortage challenge, but it’s also severely impacting business, making it a top concern for executive leaders worldwide. Through Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and Training Institute programs, we are committed to tackling the challenges revealed in the report through various initiatives, including programs focused on cybersecurity certifications and recruiting more women into cyber. As part of this commitment, Fortinet has pledged to train 1 million professionals to increase cyber skills and awareness and make a dent in the skills gap by 2026.”

Given the increasing costs of breaches on organizations’ profits and reputation, cybersecurity is becoming more of a board level priority. Globally, 88 percent of organizations that have a board of directors reported that their board asks questions specifically about cybersecurity. And 76 percent of organizations have a board of directors who has recommended increases in IT and cybersecurity headcount.

Advancing Cybersecurity Skills Through Training and Certifications
Fortinet’s skills gap report demonstrated that training and certifications are critical ways organizations seek to further tackle the skills gap. The report revealed that 95 percent of leaders believe technology-focused certifications positively impact their role and their team, while 81 percent of leaders prefer to hire people with certifications. Additionally, 91 percent of respondents shared they are willing to pay for an employee to achieve cyber certifications. One major reason for certifications being highly regarded is due to their validation of increased cybersecurity knowledge and awareness.

In addition to valuing certifications, 87 percent of organizations have implemented a training program to increase cyber awareness. However, 52 percent of leaders believe their employees still lack necessary knowledge, which raises question around how effective their current security awareness programs are.

For organizations looking for security awareness training, Fortinet offers a Security Awareness and Training service through the award-winning Fortinet Training Institute. The service further protects organizations’ critical digital assets from cyber threats by building employee cybersecurity awareness. This service receives updates from Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs threat intelligence so that employees are learning and keeping up with the latest evolving cyberattack methods to prevent company breaches and risks from being introduced.

Addressing Recruitment and Retention Challenges with Diversity Commitments
A significant challenge for organizations has been finding and retaining the right people to fill critical security roles ranging from cloud security specialists to SOC analysts. The report found that 60 percent of leaders admit their organization struggles with recruitment and 52 percent struggle to retain talent.

Among hiring challenges is the recruitment of women, new college graduates and minorities. Globally, 7 out of 10 leaders see the recruitment of women and new graduates as a top hiring hurdle and 61 percent said hiring minorities has been challenging. As organizations look to build more capable and more diverse teams, 89 percent of global companies have explicit diversity goals as part of their hiring strategy according to the report. The report also demonstrated 75 percent of organizations have formal structures to specifically recruit more women and 59 percent have strategies in place to hire minorities. Additionally, 51 percent of organizations have efforts in place to hire more veterans.

The survey was conducted among more than 1200 IT and cybersecurity decision-makers from 29 different locations, including India, U.S., France, Japan, Mexico and more. Survey respondents came from a range of industries, including technology (28%), manufacturing (12%), and financial services (10%).

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