The Widening Cybersecurity Talent Gap (infographic)

As a modern business necessity, simply going without adequate cybersecurity solutions is not viable. According to hundreds of IT professionals, the talent shortage is dire and poses one of the greatest challenges facing their organizations. Currently, 51% of organizations are suffering from a cybersecurity skills shortage, a huge jump from just 23% in 2014. Between these years, the shortage grew steadily as fewer positions were filled and the demand only grew. Cybersecurity threats are ever looming and the growing talent gap leaves many businesses and organizations feeling vulnerable. So what does this talent shortage really look like, and how can organizations deal with it?

In the United States, more than 300,000 unfilled positions are of the cybersecurity variety. Around the world, the situation doesn’t look much better. Globally, that projected demand will only grow and by 2021, 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will need to be filled. In Australia alone, 88% of IT decision makers say there is a national shortage of cybersecurity skills in their organizations and across Europe there will be a skill gap shortage of 350,000 workers by 2022. India on its own has some of the highest demands of cybersecurity professionals with a projected need of one million employees by 2020. We’re just a few short years away from this reality, so how can we help close the talent gap, fill jobs, and meet our desperate cybersecurity needs?
Related: What does it take to be a female leader in cybersecurity?
Education options stand out as a solution for closing this talent gap - leading universities are beginning to catch on to the need for more cybersecurity programs. Princeton offers both undergraduate and graduate programs for Computer Science, Master of Science in Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Dartmouth and Carnegie Mellon University offer similar programs, all focused on furthering education for a future of cybersecurity professionals. Students of these programs show high percentages in graduate rates and as these programs continue to grow, more and more trained individuals will become available to the organizations who need their unique skills.

With a near 0% unemployment rate for cybersecurity professionals, graduates of these programs enjoy a higher level of job security than average employees. However this comes at a price for employers - cybersecurity team members could potentially be just one better offer away from leaving for a different job opportunity. For smaller businesses, hiring a competent team of cybersecurity professionals poses an even greater challenge. Meeting the salary expectations of a highly trained, dedicated cybersecurity team isn’t always possible and finding candidates to fill positions isn’t easy. But even small businesses need to be on top of their cybersecurity needs - what’s the alternative?

In response to the talent shortage, many businesses both large and small look towards solutions from support companies, rather than wasting precious resources to build up an in-house team. While long term goals of assembling a cybersecurity dream team are still active, using managed service providers bridges this gap in the interim. Abbreviated as MSP, managed service providers offer a cost-effected, personalized alternative to hiring cybersecurity professionals. Integrated security platforms ensure integrity of servers with detail security options in much the same way an individual cybersecurity professional would.

Unfortunately, the talent gap for individuals with these specific skills is ever widening, and at the same time the demand is increasing. As a modern business necessity, simply going without adequate cybersecurity solutions is not viable. But when the talent just isn’t available, where are businesses to turn? Take a look at this infographic for more on the cybersecurity talent gap, what it will take to close the gap, and how businesses are making solutions for themselves in the interim.

How Do We Stop the Widening Cybersecurity Gap? There is currently a 0% unemployment rate among cybersecurity professionals, and the industry is hundreds of thousands of people short in the United States alone. This infographic outlines the scope of the problem as well as some of the top college programs to help fill the gap.

Read Next: 11 Cyber Security Questions Every Small Business Should Ask.

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