The Importance of Cyber Training and the Skills Shortage

The Importance of Cyber Training and the Skills Shortage


The importance of cybersecurity training within the public and private sectors is paramount.

Many organizations struggle to find qualified individuals to fill cybersecurity jobs, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to evolving threats. Accreditation body ISC2 estimates there are upwards of 3.4 million open positions in the industry.

The majority of organizations will have suffered some form of cyberattack in the past year, and data from reveals 60% of businesses feel the skills gap is making it difficult to effectively respond to incidents. The remote working trend increased vulnerabilities during the pandemic, where 20% of companies expressed breaches because of remote force. 

This cybersecurity skills shortage is caused by various factors. Among them are low awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, lack of internal and external training paths, and not enough incentives to attract talent to the field.

While effective cybersecurity hinges on hiring professionals, its principles must also span the entire organization. It starts with security awareness training for all staff.

Importance of security awareness training

Awareness training is a process of educating employees about the threats and risks associated with cyberattacks, as well as the steps they can take to protect themselves and their organizations. 

The goal is to improve the overall security culture by increasing the knowledge of everyone involved and enforcing high standards across the board.

Everyone should reach a foundational understanding of the various types of cyber threats, such as phishing, malware, and social engineering. They should also develop the practical skills to implement best practices for staying secure in-office and at home. 

Common measures include creating strong passwords and using 2-factor authentication, effective use of anti-virus software, and conducting work via a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN encrypts data sent over the organization’s network, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to intercept it and obtain sensitive information. It also allows employees to securely access the company’s resources when working remotely.

Of course, every organization will have its own unique requirements on top of generalized practices. 

Security awareness training for employees can take many forms, including in-person training sessions, online tutorials, computer-based simulations, and gamification. To stay on top of the latest cyber threats, this needs to be an ongoing process.

Benefits of cybersecurity awareness training

The benefits of organization-wide cybersecurity training are threefold. 

Firstly, it reduces the overall risk of attacks as everyone knows what to look out for and how to secure their own activity.

Secondly, when attacks do occur, they are more likely to be recognized and reported in a timely manner to mitigate damage.

And finally – with fewer attacks causing less damage, the organization saves money in the long run

Closing the professional cybersecurity skills gap

Awareness and basic skills only go so far without professionals in the mix. Addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage requires further investment. 

It’s true that attracting and retaining top talent can be challenging, as competition for skilled cybersecurity professionals is high. Offering competitive compensation and benefits is a tried-and-true method that can pay off in the long run. 

After all, a single successful cyber attack can cripple an organization both financially and reputationally. The overall cost of data breaches is expected to reach $5 trillion next year.

While hiring experienced professionals is always ideal, entry-level cybersecurity employees can be trained and mentored to fill the gap. Many are young and eager to enter the field and already have skills that the existing workforce may not.

Investing in the future can also go a step further. Why not partner with educational institutions to support and encourage the development of cybersecurity programs that prepare graduates for the workforce?

The internship pipeline is the perfect way to shape the cybersecurity employees of tomorrow to the requirements of the market.

However, if organizations cannot find the right candidates from the external pool, they can aim to develop the skills they need within their existing workforce. 

This might include funding recognized cybersecurity certifications, sending employees to conferences and workshops, or creating internal programs that go beyond basic awareness training.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity is essential, but with so many organizations lagging behind, the importance of cybersecurity training has never been higher.

By increasing awareness and skills within organizations and becoming more flexible about the paths to hiring and nurturing talent, there’s no reason why the skills gap must widen. Milos Djordjevic is a privacy and security expert at VPNCentral