fortinet Photo: Fortinet

Organizations worldwide are facing a vast gap between the number of positions in the cybersecurity industry that need to be filled versus the number of skilled individuals available to fill those positions. Businesses, governments, and other entities must help address this shortage of qualified personnel or face the future shorthanded and vulnerable to the ever-evolving, always-attacking cybercriminal underworld.

According to (ISC) 2’s 2021 Cyber Workforce Report, the global cybersecurity workforce needs to expand by 65% to effectively defend the critical assets of world’s businesses, non-profits, and government institutions. While the number of skilled individuals needed to fill the gap has decreased from 3.12 million down to 2.72 million in the past year, this is still a significant shortfall that will leave many organizations ill-prepared for cyberattacks.

Revealing New Report

The new Fortinet global skills gap report reveals that the cybersecurity skills shortage results in many challenges for and adverse effects on organizations, including the occurrence of security breaches and, subsequently, financial losses.

The Fortinet report also demonstrates multiple risks resulting from the cybersecurity skills gap. Most notably, 8 in 10 organizations surveyed have suffered at least one breach they could attribute to a lack of cybersecurity skills or awareness. The survey also showed that globally 64% of organizations experienced breaches that resulted in loss of revenue, recovery costs, and/or fines.

Stats about Filling the Gap

Other important data that can be found in the Fortinet report is that 60% of leaders surveyed admitted that their organization is struggling with recruitment and 52% are having significant problems retaining employees. 

To address the problems with recruiting and retaining the qualified individuals needed to join the industry’s fight against cybercrime, organizations need to focus more on women, new graduates, and minorities. However, our research says that globally 70% of leaders see the recruitment of women as a top hiring hurdle and 61% said hiring minorities has been challenging. 

According to the report, organizations are looking to build more capable and more diverse teams. 89% of global companies have diversity goals as part of their hiring strategy. 75% of organizations have formal structures to specifically recruit more women and 59% have strategies in place to hire minorities.

What Can Be Done

Expanding the pool of candidates for cybersecurity jobs by proactively pursuing those in under-represented communities can help fill the gap while providing opportunities for fruitful careers. However, business needs to grow the number of qualified candidates from all communities. This part of the equation for filling the gap requires herding prospective cybersecurity professionals into the appropriate training programs.

The Fortinet skills gap report demonstrated that training and certifications are additional ways for organizations to further mitigate the skills gap. The report revealed that 95% of leaders believe technology-focused certifications positively impact their role and their team, while 81% of leaders prefer to hire people with certifications. Additionally, 91% of respondents shared they are willing to pay for an employee to achieve cybersecurity certifications.

Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda  (TAA) and  Training Institute programs are helping to solve today’s cybersecurity skills gap and preparing the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow. The Fortinet Training Institute has an ecosystem of public and private partnerships that helps us address the skills gap by increasing the access and reach of its cybersecurity certifications and training. We work with global leaders like the World Economic Forum as part of our effort to encourage progress on the most pressing cybersecurity issues. Our partnerships extend to industry, academia, government, and nonprofits to reach more people and help close the cybersecurity skills gap.

Learn more about the Fortinet free cybersecurity training initiative and Fortinet’s  Training Institute, including the NSE Certification program, Academic Partner program, and Education Outreach program which includes a focus on Veterans.