Connecting cyber security concerns with upskilling

Johannesburg, 18 Oct 2023
Companies need more security staff.
Companies need more security staff.

Cyber security is one of the biggest threats facing businesses today. Data breaches are becoming increasingly common and costly, leading many organisations to rethink their security posture and implement new controls. However, many don’t realise that risk in cyber security is closely related to another issue: the tech talent shortage.

Skills gaps hold many businesses back from making the most of new technologies. They’re also one of the biggest obstacles to reliable cyber security. Once leaders recognise that connection, it’s clear that upskilling is an important part of addressing both issues.

How cyber security risks and the talent gap are related

Many people think of cyber security as a technical matter, and to an extent, it is. Defending against today’s threats often means using technologies like automated monitoring, encryption, advanced anti-malware software and zero-trust network architecture. However, teams also need people with the skills to create and deploy them.

Nearly 70% of cyber security professionals say their organisation doesn’t have enough security staff to be effective. Almost half of these employees say this gap has left them with insufficient time to address risks properly. Technical tools won’t be of much use without a workforce with the skills and time to manage them effectively.

It’s also worth noting that much risk in cyber security stems from insider errors. According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of data breaches involve the human element, including privilege misuse and phishing. Learning security best practices is a big part of staying safe, so good cyber security is largely a matter of employee knowledge and skills.

Upskilling is the answer

The cost of a data breach is the highest it’s been in the last 17 years. As the talent gap persists, the role of upskilling in cyber security becomes increasingly clear. Businesses need better security and workers need more cyber security skills, which they can’t easily find outside the organisation. The solution is to foster those talents from within.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is the practice of retraining an existing workforce to equip them with new knowledge and skills. It often comes up in industrial circles when considering how to prepare workers to fill new roles as automation takes over old ones. However, it can play a vital role in knowledge industries as the cyber security skills gap grows.

Finding new security workers is challenging and will only become more so as cyber security risks rise. However, businesses that retrain their existing workforce won’t have much of an issue. Cyber security upskilling ensures companies create an organisation-wide spirit of security in order to grow the tools they need from within instead of relying on outside sources.

How to upskill for cyber security and workforce improvements

Upskilling for cyber security requires employees to learn from experts who have the skills and experience they need. Businesses facing significant tech talent shortages may be unable to provide that from within, but industry-recognised certifications, like those offered by CompTIA, can help.

CompTIA’s workforce training solutions offer various learning opportunities and styles, covering a wide range of IT and security topics. Businesses can leverage these solutions to upskill leaders to become cyber security experts and provide basic security training to all employees. As more of the workforce gains these skills, companies can begin to create a culture of cyber security.

Even employees with security backgrounds and training can benefit from further education, as cyber security is always evolving. These programmes have proven results, too, as 73% of cyber security professionals say ongoing education has improved their team’s performance.

Upskilling solves a wide range of problems

Risks in cyber security and labour shortages are more closely related than they seem at first. Realising this connection is the first step to improving safety and bridging the tech talent gap. Upskilling for cyber security will help businesses raise security expertise from within while also overcoming talent shortages and security vulnerabilities.

Find out more about CompTIA’s workforce solutions.