Many businesses are attempting to mitigate the impact of the cybersecurity skills gap by enhancing the productivity of their existing workforce, and incident response (IR) orchestration can assist.

IR orchestration offers a directed reaction, ensuring that analysts know what to do and when to do it. It provides analysts with the intelligence and tools they need to do their tasks. As a consequence, analysts react and resolve events more quickly, and junior analysts respond in the same way as more experienced analysts.

How to beat the Skills Gap in Cybersecurity

We outlined real-world examples of how organizations use IR orchestration to improve their teams at all levels — from analysts to the C-suite — in our on-demand webinar, “How to Alleviate the Security Skills Gap Through IR Orchestration,” which featured Joseph Blankenship, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Blankenship outlined three steps your company can take to begin orchestrating its response processes to close the skills gap.

1. Make Repetitive Triage Tasks Easier

Analysts are slowed down (and, often, burned out) by the need to manually analyze the hundreds of security events that occur every day. Analysts spend hours searching and retrieving reports from various systems during the triage phase of the response. This reduces productivity while also increasing employee tiredness and churn.

Many of the fundamental and time-consuming investigative duties that security managers perform daily may be automated. This not only enhances employee productivity and effectiveness but also allows analysts to concentrate on more strategic (and significant) activities.

2. Create a Structure for Reporting, Evaluation, and Improvement.

IR managers can arrange response stages and accompanying reporting using an IR platform. This allows them to assess the performance of their team, identify bottlenecks, and discover possibilities for professional growth. For example, if specific teams or team members routinely take longer in the detect and analyze phase, they may require training on how to more effectively use threat intelligence feeds or other enrichment controls.

3. Inform the C-Suite

In addition to reporting on team performance, coordinating a response with an IR platform may assist security managers in providing C-level visibility into the condition of their organization’s global security function. It can accomplish so by aggregating global security and incident response activity into a single perspective.

Security executives may start fresh talks about larger changes within the security department by developing internationally-focused key performance indicators (KPIs) and reports for the C-suite. This raises awareness of specific skill gap requirements and aids in justifying budget and staffing expenditures. For example, if phishing incidents increased in India, there would be an excellent chance to justify anti-phishing training and teaching in the region.

What is the cause of the cybersecurity skills gap?

The spread of next-generation technology into mainstream culture has benefited consumers, entrepreneurs, and company owners equally. Our society is more linked than ever before, thanks to the growth of mobile computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and modern social media.

But, with all of this technology, there are also new issues to contend with. According to recent research, the number of firms reporting problematic shortages in cybersecurity capabilities among their employees has progressively climbed over the last several years. While around 23% of businesses reported such a problem in 2014, more than 50% suffer the same concern now.

Furthermore, recent statistics reveal that, predictably, 100 percent of IT organizations see cybersecurity and privacy breaches as a problem, with 88 percent concerned about their ability to manage their IT infrastructure and 78 percent concerned about how they’ll follow data privacy requirements.

So, what is the issue with cybersecurity? What is driving such a scarcity of knowledge on such an important issue? Let’s take a closer look.

The primary reasons

The following are some of the key causes of the cybersecurity skills gap:

1. Inability to collaborate

Cybersecurity is a team effort that requires the support of the whole organization. A CEO or CISO must not only retain a thorough and diverse IT workforce to take a proactive posture against hackers and cybercriminals. but they must also create two-way channels of communication to handle any problems before they become out of hand.

IT personnel and cybersecurity researchers must also collaborate—both with one another and with other industry specialists. Given the continually changing nature of the Internet and its linked technologies, no single person—or even a single team—can keep up with the day-to-day changes.

2. Inadequate process standardization

Although cybersecurity is not a standardized profession, protecting an online system from possible hackers may be automated. This is not to argue that a corporation can get rid of its whole IT team; rather, the reverse is true. Not only are skilled IT professionals required to bring in this uniformity, but they are also required to enforce it.

Cybersecurity standardization may be accomplished in a variety of methods, including:

Penetration testing allows IT professionals to run proprietary hacks and exploits against a system to guarantee it is safe from outside hackers and unforeseen dangers.

Standardizing an IT team’s incident response procedure ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands what to do if a breach occurs.

For everyone involved, it’s a win-win situation. Owners and CEOs may rest easy knowing their assets are safe. IT personnel can put their skills and expertise to use. Customers also do not have to be concerned about their data slipping into the wrong hands.

3. There are insufficient training opportunities

Also, there is a scarcity of training options in the business. Although this is an area that is improving all the time, especially as more schools and institutions embrace fields of study like big data, the Internet of Things, and cybersecurity, academia is still far outpaced by today’s hackers’ desire, motivation, and simple boredom.

Solutions that could be implemented

Although closing the cybersecurity skills gap will take a concerted effort, society is moving in the right direction. Several possible options are being investigated and used by businesses, including:

1. Investing in people

Some businesses are boosting their spending on human resources to combat cybercrime. According to recent surveys, just 32% of firms now provide appropriate IT security training. According to the same report, 86 percent of respondents do not invest enough money in internal training programs.

Other businesses hire IT professionals based on their potential rather than their expertise. This is a dangerous approach because working in cybersecurity necessitates technical knowledge and the capacity to adapt to fast-paced changes. but some firms have found significant success by recruiting outside the box. Mathematicians, accountants, and even artists have been effectively employed and deployed to IT security or research teams. Such breadth of knowledge aids in assessing problems from every feasible viewpoint.

Another potential solution is to invest in attracting more women to the profession. According to recent statistics, female workers make up barely 11% of the total industry workforce. Women in Cyber Security and Women in International Security are two organizations that are assisting women in gaining a stronger foothold in an area that has previously been dominated by males.

2. The millennial generation

Millennials may be one of the most effective instruments for combating cybercrime. They are not only conversant with technology, but many of them want to enroll and run a tech-related job. According to recent polls, 68 percent of respondents consider themselves to be technical pioneers, while 41 percent consider themselves to be early adopters of new technology.

This is great news for employers. Technological innovators are noted for their unconventional thinking and proactive approach to next-generation technologies. Some may develop new utilities, tools, and strategies to aid in the battle against cybercrime.

Regarding utilizing new technology, early adopters are often ahead of the curve. They assist by discovering and popularizing new technologies, and they are frequently tech-savvy enough to avoid possible frauds and other social engineering efforts.

Unfortunately, according to recent surveys, less than 10% of millennials are interested in pursuing a long-term career in cybersecurity. Other analysts believe that our current generation of IT specialists is already reaching retirement age, which will exacerbate the skills deficit in the coming years.

However, the lack of millennial engagement is not due to a lack of technical curiosity. Millennials, on the other hand, tend to gravitate toward more “interesting” tech development occupations, such as video game development, social media, engineering, and app development, to name a few. By rebranding cybersecurity as “cool,” recruiters and other recruiting agencies may be able to attract a younger workforce eager to combat cybercrime.

3. Process automation

Process automation is gaining popularity in the cybersecurity industry. While it wasn’t long ago that data breaches and other catastrophes needed a bespoke, manual response, the capability of today’s machine-learning and AI-powered cybersecurity tools has rendered manual involvement nearly obsolete.

Humans must still implement and/or program these systems, as well as oversee the procedures they employ. Not only does this put IT, professionals, on the front lines of the cybercrime fight, but it also helps them master new concepts and technologies ahead of their colleagues.

Getting rid of the gap in the future

Companies that devote greater resources to cybersecurity research and IT teams, as well as planning, will be able to close many of the skills gaps. This isn’t always simple, especially given the 21st century’s quick and ever-changing nature of IT growth. However, there are some significant trends in place to assist, beginning with a general increase in cybersecurity awareness over the last decade.

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