The cybersecurity skills gap has become a growing problem in the United States as the Biden administration accelerated its efforts to fill more than half a million (nearly 600,000) cybersecurity vacancies in the public and private sectors. However, due to a lack of talent and the necessary skills, many roles and responsibilities are taking a hit, including protecting the country’s digital infrastructure. This is also happening outside the United States and comes just three years after the New York Times reported that Cybersecurity Ventures predicted there would be 3.5 million unoccupied cybersecurity jobs globally by the end of the year. 2021, an increase of 1 million vacancies from 2014. While the industry has worked to close the skills gap, enough cybersecurity positions remain in 2021 to fill 50 NFL stadiums.
It is a vulnerable time for critical government and corporate infrastructure, which have been the target of ransomware attacks in recent years. Without IT teams trained on the latest vulnerabilities and prevention practices, hackers’ work could become easier. Many organizations are turning to automation to prevent future breaches and to protect their IT infrastructure.
Benefits of Automating Cyber Security Roles
Organizations that can automate elements of their cybersecurity roles and responsibilities in the meantime as they work to hire human talent will better protect themselves from cybersecurity hackers, ransomware attacks, and other network threats.
The benefits they will receive from automation include, but are not limited to:
- Save time and money – Investing man-hours and budget to automate security processes and protocols might seem daunting. However, it is an investment that will pay off in terms of time saved and data protection from future cyber attacks.
- Risk Mitigation and Intrusion Prevention – Automating security monitoring and other network maintenance operations can prevent cybersecurity issues from occurring, thereby helping organizations maintain the trust of their customers and maintain the confidentiality of private data and other sensitive information .
- Maintain and / or build a positive reputation – Leveraging automation to protect the sensitive data of an organization and its customers will help retain and recruit employees and candidates for cyber and IT security, as the organization will have a responsible and innovative reputation within the industry.
The importance of automation in 2022
In addition to the benefits of automating the cybersecurity roles listed above, recent data reveals the importance attached to ensuring that all cybersecurity roles within an organization are properly staffed. A recent Lynx survey of Americans in managerial and executive roles indicated that nearly eight in 10 Americans (77%) believe their company has gaps in its current security tools. This became more problematic for many organizations during the pandemic, as hybrid work resulted in the need to manage endpoints outside the company’s physical parameters, increasing the risk of a breach.
Additionally, nearly one in five respondents (19%) said their business has become less secure since the start of the pandemic, with 21% reporting corporate security has remained the same. In addition, fewer than seven in 10 (69%) believed their company was equipped to repel an external security threat. Companies should take these findings seriously as they consider how automation can increase the human workforce in 2022. It is imperative that customers trust the safety of an organization and that the workforce is confident that their colleagues and / or the technology between them will protect information and infrastructure integrity.
The best guide I can provide on prioritizing and building smart strategies for implementing automation in a company’s cybersecurity roles includes the following tips:
- Determine which workloads within the company can be handled by artificial intelligence, and then prioritize which projects are the most significant. This will allow business leaders to know where automation is best to implement and which projects to budget for during annual planning. Automating some workloads will also free humans overexposed to work on fewer administrative tasks and put more mind-sharing towards critical thinking projects.
- Employ automation to determine and defeat cybersecurity threats. Find out which automation tools will work best based on the workloads you’ve identified and integrate them as you train colleagues on how to best work with the new technology.
- Don’t just focus on blocking attacks. Plan for the breach and invest in technologies for early recognition of compromised systems, along with a strategy to return those systems to a known safe and secure state
- Identify growth areas and support cybersecurity awareness training among all staff. Although cybersecurity is ultimately the domain of IT professionals, all users have a certain responsibility to ensure the security of their organization’s data and corporate assets.