Security Staff Acquisition & Development, Network Security

Cybersecurity skills gap contributes to breaches, security pros say

A team from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy participated in the National Security Agency’s 20th annual National Cyber Exercise from April 8-10, 2021. (Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Medley/Coast Guard)

New research looking at the cybersecurity skills gap shows a direct link between the talent gap and security breaches, leading to the loss of revenue.

A Fortinet survey of security professionals found that 80% of respondents said they had at least one breach that could be attributed to the lack of cybersecurity skills or awareness. Nearly two-thirds of organizations, 64%, experienced breaches that resulted in the loss of revenue, recovery costs and/or fines.

The security firm surveyed 1,200 professionals in 29 countries in the technology, manufacturing and financial industries, according SC Media partner MSSP Alert.

“The cybersecurity skills shortage continues to have multiple challenges and repercussions for organizations, including the occurrence of security breaches and subsequently loss of money,” Fortinet said in a prepared statement.

The IT leaders saw training and certifications in a positive light, as most respondents, 95%, said tech-focused certifications have a positive impact on their teams, and that 87% say they have implemented cybersecurity training programs.

However, a majority (60%) admitted to having trouble recruiting for their organizations, with 52% saying they also struggle with retention.

In response, the company has pledged that by 2026 it will have trained one million professionals on cyber awareness and “make a dent in the skills gap.” Other vendors, most notably Microsoft, have similar initiatives in place, said MSSP Alert.

Stephen Weigand

Stephen Weigand is managing editor and production manager for SC Media. He has worked for news media in Washington, D.C., covering military and defense issues, as well as federal IT. He is based in the Seattle area.

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