17 Sep 2020
In the age of COVID-19, cyber threats stop for no one and nothing. You’ll need all hands on deck to combat opportunistic attackers, but their offense may be better than your defense. Industry experts note the IT security skills gap is growing larger every day. Why? Most organizational leaders lack a decisive understanding of IT security and their employees’ roles in it, so they neglect the strategic planning needed to develop and motivate their IT employees along a defined career path. Subsequently, IT security professionals are left with a muddled sense of their place in the organization, as well as rather nebulous career direction. And the gap has certainly widened since the onset of COVID-19—in fact, data from November of 2019 indicates that even with the 2.8 million IT security professionals working worldwide, another 4 million would be needed to close the current skills gap. Even the IT pros currently in place feel modestly equipped. According to a survey conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), a troublingly high percentage of IT security employees report being limited in their training and development. Jon Oltsik, a fellow at ESG, attributes the hindrance to the lack of a clear career map, as well as the constant stress of securing their fellow departments’ systems. Further, seven out of 10 professionals surveyed believe this general shortage of IT security skills has negatively impacted their organization. Forty-five percent believe that shortage has worsened in the past year, and 68% of IT professionals are still struggling to define their career progression amid the confusion. As a comparatively new and ever-evolving field, it can be challenging to articulate and meet IT security employees’ needs. But the key, experts believe, is simple: communication.