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Cyber security talent shortage killing organisations’ abilities to secure systems and networks

New Trellix research has found that 97 per cent of Aussie cyber security professionals are aware of significant skills gap across the profession amid a growing demand to fill security-related roles as nation-state actors and cyber criminals grow in volume and sophistication.

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Thu, 02 Jun 2022
Cyber security talent shortage killing organisations’ abilities to secure systems and networks
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Among the key findings, 85 per cent of the respondents believe the workforce shortage is impacting their organisations' abilities to secure increasingly complex information systems and networks with about 30 per cent of the current workforce planning to change professions in the future.

According to Bryan Palma, CEO of Trellix, cultivating and nurturing a cyber security workforce for the future requires expanding who is viewed as talent and changing the practices across the public and private sectors.

"Our industry is already 2.72 million people short.

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"Closing the cyber security talent gap is not only a business imperative, but important to national security and our daily lives.

"We need to remove barriers to entry, actively work to inspire people to do soulful work and ensure those in the field are retained," Palma said.

As threats from nation-state actors and cyber criminals grow in volume and sophistication, more education is needed.

The worldwide shortage of cyber security professionals is growing as well.

While some countries like Russia and China have been investing deeply in nurturing cyber security talent through state-funded education, many nations are without dedicated programs, the study emphasised.

Trellix sought to understand education levels and found over half (56 per cent) believe that degrees aren't needed for a successful career in cyber security.

The survey also found support for development of skills (85 per cent) and the pursuit of certifications (80 per cent) were selected as highly or extremely important factors for the industry to expand the workforce.

Diversity has been found to drive better outcomes according to the Trellix data. Out of the cyber security professionals surveyed, 78 per cent are male, 64 per cent white and 89 per cent straight, and a large majority of respondents (91 per cent) believe there needs to be wider efforts to grow the cyber security talent pool from diverse groups.

Employers could also be doing more to encourage community mentoring programs with a presence in K-12 schools (94 per cent) according to survey respondents, and areas most likely to attract people to cyber security included efforts to promote the soulfulness of cyber security careers (43 per cent), encouragement of STEM students considering cyber security careers (41 per cent), and more financial support for students in cyber security career paths (39 per cent).

When it comes to encouraging more people to consider a career in cyber security, the survey respondents reported inclusivity and equality for women (79 per cent), diversity of the cyber security workforce (77 per cent), pay gaps between different demographic groups (72 per cent) as highly or extremely important factors for the industry to address.

Most survey respondents (92 per cent) believe greater mentorship, internships, and apprenticeships would support participation of workers from diverse backgrounds into cyber security roles. About 85 per cent believe individuals are discouraged from entering the profession simply because they lack perspective into the field's various potential roles and opportunities for upward mobility. Almost 94 per cent of those surveyed believe their employers could be doing more to consider employees from non-traditional cyber security backgrounds and 45 per cent report having previously worked in other careers.

Finally, the survey revealed that "cyber security is soulful work", with the vast majority (92 per cent) of respondents reporting cyber security as purposeful, soulful work that motivates them. However, cyber security professionals say that they are hungry for recognition, with 36 per cent noting they feel a lack of acknowledgement for the good done for society. Of those looking to leave the field, 12 per cent say it is due to lack of feeling appreciated.

Based on a Vanson Bourne survey, commissioned by Trellix, the findings are based on 1,000 cyber security professionals in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and the US across a variety of sectors.

[Related: WA supercomputing centre has first room-temperature, quantum computer installed onsite]

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