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The Cybersecurity Skills Gap is Real, Now What?

Industry estimates suggest more than one million unfilled security jobs exist worldwide. But filling those jobs is difficult as ISACA, an association of IT professionals, points out: 35 percent of security pros say they are unable to fill open positions, 53 percent say it takes three to six months to find a qualified candidate and only 16 percent believe at least half of their applicants are qualified.

The result? ESG, an IT analyst and research firm, says that 83 percent of enterprises find it "extremely difficult" or "somewhat difficult" to recruit and hire security professionals, and ISACA notes that fewer than half of cybersecurity professionals believe their security teams are able to detect and respond to complex incidents.

There is a lot going on in our industry that focuses on the "here and now" part of the problem. The immediate, short-term pieces of the intricate puzzle include training and certifications, collaboration and sharing, innovations in technology like automation and threat intelligence, and resource-friendly deployment models like the cloud and managed security services.

But what are we doing for the future? Obviously, we need to consider the long view as well. A revealing stat from found that less than 2.4 percent of graduating students hold computer science degrees. As a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, the group is certainly doing its part. But what about the rest of the industry? What are we doing to step up?

Just this week, Trustwave and LifeJourney, a company that provides online career simulation experiences, announced a new initiative that may not solve the global skills shortage, but certainly is one important step toward it. LifeJourney will provide the platform and access for Trustwave security experts to offer students the resources and mentorship they need to discover and develop future careers in cybersecurity. More details are available here.

By teaming with LifeJourney on this initiative, students gain an informative and engaging opportunity to explore the challenging world of cybersecurity, to choose this exciting career path, and to join in the cause to fight cybercrime, protect data and reduce risk.

You'll see more from Trustwave in this arena as we're actively working on helping to fill the cybersecurity skills gap. And for a broader visual view into why an endeavor like this one is needed, check out this infographic from ISACA.

 Cas Purdy is VP of corporate marketing and communications at Trustwave.