IT Security Skills Gaps

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‘42% of businesses are not confident that they would be able to deal with a cyber security breach or attack.’

As companies embrace mobile applications, cloud computing, and other high-value innovations, new and larger vulnerabilities have emerged. While information security is everyone’s job, it is the IT experts who bear the greatest burden. As hiring skilled security talent becomes more challenging, many organisations are investing in comprehensive training programs to shore up skills, lower HR costs, and improve the continuity and consistency of their security initiatives.


Among the 68% of cyber sector businesses that have had any cyber security vacancies in the past 3 years, more than half (57%) had at least 1 vacancy that they considered to be hard to fill. Looked at another way, this equates to around a third (35%) of all the vacancies posted in the last 3 years being hard-to-fill vacancies. This gives an indication of the size of the cyber security skills shortage.

Talent Shortages are estimated to reach 1.8 million professionals in cyber security by 2022

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In the face of this critical shortage of IT security talent, many organisations have decided to take their existing team’s security skills to higher levels of expertise with training.

Security professionals know that stale or outdated skills are disastrous for their careers. When employees see that they aren’t being offered the resources they need to keep their skills up-to-date, they are much more likely to seek employment somewhere else where they will get the training they need.

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By using training to help retain your current staff, you not only avoid the time, cost, and the headache of replacing scarce resources, you also keep the institutional memory of the subtleties and nuances regarding how IT is executed in your organisation.

The value of certifications

Security-related certifications should be a key part of any security training program. Certifications can reduce risks by helping employees stay on top of the changing IT security landscape while validating their skills and knowledge. These certifications help ensure employees are competent in assessing, mitigating, responding, monitoring and reporting security risks and breaches.

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'Approximately 653,000 businesses have a basic cyber security skills gap. Cyber teams are looking for people with a holistic skillset which includes soft skills such as communication skills, consultancy skills, people management and the ability to train others'


If your organisation does suffer a breach, authorities will often look at the training and certifications that your staff received. If you can show that you made the effort to train and certify staff to keep your company’s data and infrastructure safe, you will be much better prepared to defend yourself in the event of lawsuits or penalties arising from the breach.

On-going training that helps up-skill and re-skill existing IT employees is no longer an option but a necessary pillar for retention in any successful organisation. IT and cybersecurity leaders need to look at training as a tool to help retain, attract, reward and re-skill staff.

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Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market 2020. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
The Bedrock of IT Security Starts with Training. Jim Zimmerman, Skillsoft
Cybersecurity skills shortage creating, recruitment chaos, Cybersecurity professionals aren’t keeping up with training, and Cybersecurity Job Fatigue. John Oltsik, ESG.
Global Information Security Workforce Study, Benchmarking Workforce Capacity and Respinse to Cyber Risk.” Frost & Sullivan, Center For Cyber Safety and Education.
The 13 Most Valuable IT Certifications Today. Sarah K. White, CIO

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