Why we’re dealing with a lack of cybersecurity experts
Cybersecurity dominates the concerns and budgets of SMBs as modern efforts focus on the expansion data defense. The problem, however, is that companies are hitting a wall: lack of experts. While standard methods of cybersecurity have normalized such as 2FA and complex passwords – the void of personnel who can readily handle various cybersecurity threats and complications is an expansive one. SMBs lack confidence in their long-term cybersecurity stability, largely because of understaffing concerns.
There’s a range of issues SMBs are not aware of, lacking network visibility and metrics about their own infrastructure. For example, threat actors often infect target networks and remain in said network for long periods, collecting data to be used in phishing, malware, or ransomware attacks. This is caused by both a weak cybersecurity posture and absence of IT leaders who can enact practical security strategies. More so, CISO and security management can capture intrusion activity and resolve it, where a lack of staff creates IT “blind spots” in the network.
The demand for better cybersecurity experts and infrastructure has increased rapidly over the past few years, spiking during the COVID pandemic when the expansion of remote infrastructure took place. But even before, the field was high in demand for security veterans and IT experts.
According to Cyberseek, positions in the cybersecurity expert field fall short of needed positions (under 700,000). These cybersecurity jobs take 21 percent longer to fill, according to their findings. It’s clear that while industries need improved infrastructure and cybersecurity experts to “man the helms,” filling said positions is lagging behind.
Efforts to expand cybersecurity infrastructure
SMBs are working to expand their arsenal, with an increased emphasis on cybersecurity spending. However, financial investment does not guarantee security in the IT sector. Additionally, not all SMBs have the ability to spend the necessary capital for comprehensive cybersecurity resolutions and staff.
To rectify this, SMBs and businesses invest in third-party resources or assistance. While virtual services and remote infrastructure is not new, it’s seen an uptick in demand in post-pandemic, high demand environment. Given the numerous threats evolving and threatening networks everywhere, the need for third-party help grows.
Challenges of burnout
Another serious barrier to acquiring and retaining cybersecurity staff is burnout. It’s a trend in high-demand industries where staff members are drowning in work, frustrated with both wages and time constraints.
CISO leaders take full responsibility of cybersecurity management, from developing policies, acquiring staff, training workers, and maintaining communication with executives. The cybersecurity realm is a hectic one, with new tech and advancements frequently occurring. That creates additional challenges to adequately understand associated risks with said new tech, since CISO leaders need insights for evolving threats and trends.
But also consider the emotional and mental strain suffered after a breach incident. Whether by ransomware, human error, hardware failure, or other disaster event, it’s an intense, stressful experience testing time, money, and patience. The time required to rectify and remediate errors – from tracing the source of the intrusion (how it occurred) to getting all systems back online, in itself, is exhausting for everyone involved.
Take that breach scenario, or imagine a situation in which your enterprise was entirely offline due to ransomware (or similar). Consider that event happening repeatedly, or, numerous cybersecurity “fires” needing time to address CISO and related staff. Burnout creates ineffective responses to future breach events and leads to high turnover rates, further impacting the acquisition of trusted cybersecurity advisors.
Getting help for IT services and cybersecurity
Overhauling cybersecurity is a monumental task. Not all SMBs have the financial resources to update their infrastructure or onboard necessary IT and cybersecurity staff. However, the need for these experts is still dire, as is with any enterprise dealing with staff shortages.
Gaps are filled by third-parties and managed providers, IT teams offering remote and virtual services. This gives companies access to expertise they’re sorely lacking in their own infrastructure. In other cases, MSPs can even provide the infrastructure needed for data-driven work. It’s expanded as a popular choice for smaller organizations who cannot afford or locate the needed cybersecurity staff. MSPs are also budget conscious and aware of staff shortages, scaling with their clients and partners to match business needs.
But, even with MSP and third-party providers filling the gaps in both expertise and coverage, it doesn’t change the shortages the cybersecurity market faces today.
The good news is, cybersecurity has entered mainstream discourse and a subject of discussion in the IT and tech sector, versus a niche category fit only for experts. Opportunities are boundless for those interested in the field and there’s greater legislative emphasis on improving cybersecurity infrastructure.
Addressing the cybersecurity expert shortage is a daunting task. In the meantime, companies can utilize the services of an MSP to fill coverage gaps.