Cybersecurity Skills In High Demand19 Oct, 20225 minutes
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well, you’re in demand - provided you get in th...
Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well, you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Strong cybersecurity is now more important than ever in the quickly changing digital environment, where technology is profoundly ingrained in every part of our lives. Cybersecurity specialists with the knowledge and experience to protect our digital assets are in high demand due to the frequency and sophistication of cyber threats that are on the rise. This article explores the factors driving the strong demand for cybersecurity expertise, the essential skills that employers are looking for, and the opportunities that await those who enter this fast-paced industry.
According to Jamie Fitzgerald, Cybersecurity Business Manager at Franklin Fitch, the majority of small and medium-sized businesses are wholly underprepared for the threat of a cyberattack, exposing themselves to billions of pounds/euros in financial damage. Whether it’s a lack of funding or ignorance that it won’t happen to them, the need for skilled cybersecurity specialists has never been greater. Between 2013 and 2021, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs increased by 350%, from 1 million to 3.5 million.
"There is a distinct lack of awareness of cybersecurity in SMEs," Jamie says, adding that even if awareness existed, finding people with the necessary skills would be difficult. The cost of a data breach in the United Kingdom has increased by 8.1%, and total costs have reached a seven-year high in 2022, with the average cost to business from a cybersecurity breach being around $3.6 million. Despite these increased security threats, many businesses are not taking cybersecurity seriously enough, and their cybersecurity budgets are still being cut as we move through 2023. It's a candidate-short market right now, particularly in cybersecurity, making it difficult to find the right people."
The Digital Battlefield: Why Cybersecurity Skills are in High Demand
With each technological advancement, cybercriminals find new avenues to exploit vulnerabilities. The digital landscape has become a battlefield where data breaches, ransomware attacks, and identity thefts are the weapons of choice for cyber adversaries. The financial repercussions, reputational damage, and potential loss of sensitive information resulting from these attacks have made cybersecurity a top priority for organizations across the globe. As a result, the demand for skilled professionals capable of defending against these threats has surged.
The potential damage from an attack is huge
Failure to implement appropriate cybersecurity measures can have a devastating financial and reputational impact on a company that is the victim of an attack. According to IBM, 68 percent of businesses are not prepared for cyber-attacks, leaving themselves vulnerable due to ignorance, a lack of funds, or an unwillingness to rock the boat by acknowledging a threat.
While allocating funds for appropriate security at a time when many businesses are cutting spending is not ideal - the average mid-sized company spends tens or even hundreds of thousands on cybersecurity - the outlay is minor in comparison to the potential damage.
Key Cybersecurity Skills in Demand
Cyber Threat Intelligence
Understanding the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by cybercriminals is vital for staying ahead of potential threats. Professionals who can analyze threat data, identify patterns, and anticipate attacks are invaluable assets.
Incident Response and Recovery
In the event of a security breach, swift and effective response is essential to minimize damage. Cybersecurity experts skilled in incident management and recovery protocols play a critical role in mitigating the impact of attacks.
As organizations shift to cloud-based infrastructures, the need for professionals who can secure cloud environments and data storage systems is on the rise. Knowledge of cloud security tools and best practices is highly sought after.
Protecting the integrity of networks and preventing unauthorized access is a cornerstone of cybersecurity. Professionals adept at configuring firewalls, detecting anomalies, and ensuring secure communication are in high demand.
Secure Software Development
With the growing emphasis on secure coding practices, cybersecurity professionals who can identify and remediate vulnerabilities in software development processes are indispensable.
Why is it so hard to fill cybersecurity roles?
So, what cybersecurity-related skills are in high demand, and how can potential specialists land the job they want while also assisting these companies in mitigating an attack?
"Candidates must be able to communicate, gain the support of stakeholders, be hungry for knowledge, and have strong technical skills," Jamie says. "A highly motivated individual is teachable: They can improve their soft and technical skills under your supervision. If you hire someone with the right mindset and foundational knowledge, they may be a better fit than a seasoned candidate with a fixed mindset and unwillingness to change."
Opportunities Await: Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape
The demand for cybersecurity skills transcends industries, encompassing sectors such as finance, healthcare, government, and technology. This wide-ranging applicability ensures a plethora of opportunities for skilled professionals. Roles such as cybersecurity analysts, ethical hackers, penetration testers, security consultants, and chief information security officers (CISOs) are just a few of the diverse options available.
As technology continues to advance, so too will the sophistication of cyber threats. This perpetual arms race ensures that cybersecurity professionals will remain in high demand for the foreseeable future. The scarcity of skilled individuals in this field translates into competitive compensation packages, job stability, and opportunities for career advancement.
Companies need to innovate to attract skilled workers
Jamie, who is currently hiring for a variety of cybersecurity positions in the UK, believes that companies must be willing to be more flexible in order to attract the best talent.
"The market for cybersecurity talent will likely remain tight and candidate-driven. "So, you have to make the role and company appealing," Jamie believes. You can be confident that if you do this and welcome them into a healthy culture, these new employees will deliver value and be valued for their efforts."
How can AI help?
Jamie believes that Artificial Intelligence will relieve some of the pressure on the sector in the future (AI). "AI not only removes the human element, which is prone to risk and error, but it can also help to identify data and pinpoint potential threats," he says.
Some cybersecurity companies are already teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware using complex algorithms, so that AI can then run pattern recognition software. AI systems can also be used to provide access to their users in situations requiring multi-factor authentication. While AI is great for processing large amounts of data and replacing autonomous manual tasks, it will never be able to replace a security analyst's insight or understanding of a problem.
In reality, jobs will change, and while some of us may end up working alongside an automated colleague, we will still be needed, albeit for different functions.
In a world where a single breach can lead to catastrophic consequences, the significance of cybersecurity skills cannot be overstated. The digital frontier is rife with challenges, and organizations are actively seeking experts who can defend against the ever-evolving threat landscape. The demand for cybersecurity skills is not merely a trend; it's a necessity as we navigate the complex interplay between technology and security, striving to protect our digital future.