The cyber security skills gap is real and growing; there simply aren’t enough cyber security employees to go around.

Cyber crime is rapidly escalating, and board rooms are taking notice. KPMG’s 2017 U.S. CEO Outlook survey shows cyber security risks to be among CEOs’ top concerns, yet only 40% of them feel that their organizations are fully prepared to handle a cyber attack. This isn’t surprising in light of the very serious – and worsening – cyber security skills gap. The cyber security unemployment rate was zero in 2016, and it’s expected to remain there until 2021. Coincidentally, that’s the same year by which Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs.

Small and medium-sized firms are being hit the hardest by the cyber security skills gap, as the short supply of qualified talent is quickly snapped up by multinational firms that can afford to pay the high salaries and provide the “Cadillac” benefits and perks that this talent has the power to demand. The situation is expected to worsen in light of New York’s new cyber security law, which requires finance and insurance firms operating within the state to hire CISOs and “qualified cyber security personnel.”

Governments and private-sector organizations are wringing their hands over how to deal with the problem. The mayor of New York City has announced a plan to invest $30 million in in cybersecurity training, academic research and development labs, with the goal of creating 10,000 new cyber security jobs over the next decade. IBM has launched what it’s calling a “new collar” jobs initiative to train both students and older workers in cyber security.

Outsourcing the Best Way to Immediately Bridge the Cyber Security Skills Gap

In light of the cyber security skills gap, the best option for most organizations is to outsource their cyber security functions to a reputable cyber security provider such as Lazarus Alliance. Our Cybervisors® service allows organizations of all sizes to immediately retain the services of the best and brightest subject matter experts in cyberspace law, cyber security, risk assessments and management, audit and compliance, governance and policies, and more.

In addition to getting the help you need right away, there are many other benefits to outsourcing your enterprise’s cyber security functions, including:

• Significant cost savings. It is almost always less expensive to outsource cyber security than to hire and maintain a security team full-time in-house. Even outsourcing just part of your cyber security functions, such as compliance, could result in significant savings.
• Allows you to focus on your business’ core competency. Most likely, you don’t hire in-house staff to handle your own legal matters or do your own taxes. You realize that law and accounting are not part of your core competency, so you outsource those functions to attorneys and accountants. (Along the same lines, you probably outsource your building security to a security firm!) Using this logic, why would your firm handle its own cyber security? Outsourcing this function to a professional frees up monetary and human resources that can be used to create, innovate, and drive your business.
• Allows you to access a level of expertise most companies don’t have internally. Cyber security is a highly specialized field, and the skill set it requires is quite different than those in other IT areas. It’s also highly dynamic, with new technologies and threat vectors emerging daily. Our Cybervisors® focus on only one thing: cyber security. They are highly experienced in this field, they are immersed in it, and they engage in continuous education to stay abreast of the cyber threat landscape.

Initiatives like the ones New York City and IBM have launched are positive steps in the direction of bridging the cyber security skills gap, but training new cyber security professionals takes time, and organizations need help right now. Your organization can’t wait 10 years, or even six months, to get the security help it needs, at a price it can actually afford. The cyber security skills gap is here for the long-haul, and outsourcing is the best way to handle the problem right now.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Peters is the CEO of Lazarus Alliance, Inc., the Proactive Cyber Security™ firm, and Continuum GRC. He has served as an independent information security consultant, executive, researcher, and author. He is an internationally recognized and awarded security expert with years of IT and business leadership experience and many previous executive leadership positions.

He has contributed significantly to curriculum development for graduate degree programs in information security, advanced technology, cyberspace law, and privacy, and to industry standard professional certifications. He has been featured in many publications and broadcast media outlets as the “Go-to Guy” for executive leadership, information security, cyberspace law, and governance.