July 23, 2024

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A Solution to the Tech Skills Gap Could Lie in Cybersecurity

3 min read

Cybersecurity in 2024 is starting to become more of a priority for businesses worldwide.

As data breaches and cyberattacks remain a crucial concern as the threat landscape evolves, companies experience financial losses as a result but also attract leadership criticism. In response, businesses are eager to tackle the challenge with a three-pronged approach, according to Fortinet’s 2024 Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, that combines training, awareness and technology. 

The approach involves helping IT and security teams obtain vital security skills by investing in training and certifications, in addition to forming a cyber-aware workforce who can contribute to a more secure organisation as a first line of defence. Likewise, Fortinet suggests using effective security solutions to ensure a strong security posture.

Confronting the true extent of workplace talent gaps

Nearly 90% of organisations experienced a breach within the last year alone, according to Fortinet’s report. They can attribute this in part to a lack of cybersecurity skills, with 70% citing an increase in cyber risks as a result of burgeoning skills gaps.

As cyberattacks continue to increase, with 62% of attacks targeting critical industries, public anxieties continue to rise about how businesses will continue to be impacted by the growing cyber threat landscape. 

Currently, businesses are attributing data breaches to a lack of cybersecurity skills. Over the last twelve months, Fortinet highlights that 87% of organisational leaders have experienced a breach that they can partially attribute to a lack of cyber skills, a figure that has increased from 84% in 2023.

Fortinet also suggests that more than 50% of respondents indicated that breaches cost their organisations more than US$1m in lost revenue, fines and other expenses in 2023.

Data breaches can be catastrophic for businesses if they do not have the appropriate measures in place, both financially and reputationally. In fact, the global average cost of a data breach was US$4.45m in 2023, causing huge revenue losses for organisations.

A recent notable example was the UnitedHealth hack, a cyberattack on unprecedented scale that hit UnitedHealth Group’s subsidiary Change Healthcare and extracted a multi-million-dollar ransom, in addition to leaking patient data online.

Likewise, several hospitals in London felt the sting of a ransomware attack in June 2024 that impacted essential services and led to the cancellation of planned operations.

The importance of cybersecurity training investment

To mitigate inevitable cyberattacks, the report suggests that four million professionals will be required to fill the growing cybersecurity workforce gap. Fortinet finds that company directors are now viewing cybersecurity as more of a business imperative, with 72% of those surveyed saying their boards are now focusing more on security than before.

The report highlights that investing in training and certification processes for IT and security staff will go a long way to raise awareness of cybersecurity best practices. “This will be especially important as new threats develop and technologies, such as AI, make attacks more precise and sophisticated on a larger scale,” it says.

Crucially, finding candidates to help thwart ongoing threats is no easy task, with 70% of those surveyed by Fortinet stating it is currently difficult to find candidates with certifications that are technology-focused enough.

“To effectively mitigate risk and combat today’s complex threats, organisations must employ a strategic combination of leveraging the right security technology, upskilling existing security professionals through training and certifications, and fostering a cyber-aware workforce,” comments John Maddison, Chief Marketing Officer at Fortinet. 

“As part of Fortinet’s dedication to closing the skills gap through this three-pronged approach, we pledged to train one million people in cyber by 2026. As we near the halfway mark of this five-year commitment, we are close to having trained half a million individuals to date.”

During such an era of digital transformation, engaging with technology-based strategies to mitigate disruption by threat actors is set to remain a key priority moving forward.

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