News & Analysis

Cybersecurity Skills Gap Widens

The global security workforce has more than 3.4 million open positions and Indian companies are amongst those facing the biggest challenge in filling them up

The global cybersecurity workforce has a gaping hole of 3.4 million open positions, says a new research report which underscores that the biggest challenge enterprises face is the use of out-dated means of filling them up. Instead of seeking candidates with degrees in related fields or previous experience, companies need to move away to a more agile methodology. 

The report released by cybersecurity company Fortinet further notes that Indian enterprises are facing an acute skill shortage in the domain that puts them at a greater risk with 84% of the respondents to a survey in the country suggesting that unfilled positions due to skills mismatch have resulted in additional cyber threats. 

Finding the right skills are getting tough

Vishak Raman, vice-president of sales, India, SAARC and Southeast Asia at Fortinet says the report indicates that more than 80% of the respondents are finding it tough to hire certified professionals. To stay ahead of cybercriminals, enterprises need to prioritize cybersecurity training and skilling. 

On behalf of the cybersecurity company, the research was conducted by Sapio, which conducted surveys and interviews with more than 1,850 IT and cybersecurity leaders across several countries such as India, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and the UAE among others. 

The Fortinet report (download here) says the talent shortage resulted in increased breaches with 92% of the respondents in India experiencing at least one cyber intrusion over the past 12 months. These breaches were also proving costlier as 40% of these enterprises spent $1 million on remedial methods, up from 38% last year. 

Enterprises are open to sponsor certifications

With the skill gaps likely to continue in the near term, more than two-thirds of these enterprises expect cyberattacks to go up over the next 12 months. In fact, 90% of the respondents said the company leadership was advocating increased hiring of IT security professionals, especially in the wake of the 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce study putting the 3.14 million resource gap. 

The report also points out that Indian enterprises were actually faring better compared to their global counterparts when it came to hiring veterans in the cybersecurity operations. Moreover, Indian companies were engaging more women in the cybersecurity roles compared to the global enterprises. 

The Fortinet-sponsored survey also notes that companies favored persons with certifications and specific training while hiring with 98% of Indian businesses going for candidates with the requisite tech-focus. Over 80% of the employers expressed readiness to sponsor cybersecurity certifications for their employees.  

With the rapid rise in the field of artificial intelligence, new challenges were emerging in the cybersecurity realm, the report said, adding that Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point Research had already raised the flag on the most advanced AI model GPT-4 as being under risk of getting manipulated by bad actors to generate malicious code. 

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