According to (ISC)2 – the world’s largest nonprofit membership association of certified cybersecurity professionals – the global IT security skills shortage has now passed four million.
This means there needs to be a growth in the cybersecurity workforce of 145% to close the skills gaps and better defend organisations around the world.
In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2018 that the field of cybersecurity would grow 28 percent between 2016 and 2026, making it the fastest growing career field at the time of the study (the average growth for all jobs is about 7 percent).
All this points towards a field that is growing rapidly and will continue to grow moving forward.
Why cybersecurity continues to grow
In recent years, many high-profile data breach cases have made headlines.
Companies like Yahoo!, Uber, and Target faced security threats that exposed possibly millions of Americans’ private information like usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.
As hackers and cybercriminals develop new ways to access sensitive systems and information, even the largest companies in the world must stay vigilant about security vulnerabilities.
Information security analysts, or cybersecurity specialists, are more in demand than ever and there is more pressure than ever on businesses to invest in cyber security solutions to protect their employees and customers.
In the (ISC)2 study, unsurprisingly, over half (51%) of cybersecurity professionals said their organisation is at moderate or extreme risk due to staff shortages.
Below, we look at some of the reasons for the rapid growth in the sector and outline why businesses are at risk if they are not deploying adequate resources towards cyber security.
1. Cybercrime continues to grow
Cyber-crime is on the rise around the world, driven by global connectivity and the increasing use and reliance on cloud services. In a global context, in 2016, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that by 2021 cybercrime will cost $6 trillion annually, up by $3 trillion from 2015. This represents a huge global increase in scope and financial impact of cybercrime across the board. At the end of August, the NZX was subject to a sustained DDoS attack over a four-day period which resulted in a suspension of trading. Over in Australia, The Australian Cyber Security Centre received one cybercrime report every 10 minutes over the past 12 months according to their annual cyber threat report.
2. Cybercriminals are getting smarter
Cybercriminals are finding new ways to access data every day. Social engineering remains the most prevalent form of cyber-attack with ransomware and phishing being the most common attack vector.
The role of a cyber security analyst is to identify security risks before cybercriminals do. It’s then important to develop and implement new preventative security controls for defending against cyberattacks. As hackers’ skills become more sophisticated, a growing number of cybersecurity specialists are needed to develop and implement advanced security solutions – positions that are currently being left unfilled.
3. Cybercrime can cost millions and lead to business failure
As we reported in August, cybercrime is costing businesses millions of dollars each year. According to the annual Cost of Data Breach Report conducted by IBM in 2020, it takes on average 280 days for organisations to identify and contain a cyber security breach.
The report goes on to state that the average total cost of a data breach is now USD $3.6 million worldwide and, in the US, that amount skyrockets to USD $8.64 million.
Data breaches cost businesses in many ways, including the cost of re-securing information, the cost of reassuring customers or providing services when information is stolen, and the cost of new and better security measures. Some businesses even fail after a data breach.
4. Vulnerabilities are everywhere
In a post published by NEC New Zealand in April 2020, we looked at five of the biggest threats to cyber security in 2020 and discovered that vulnerabilities are everywhere.
Whilst traditionally hackers have targeted computers, websites, and servers; any technology based in code offers an opportunity for hackers.
The cloud has become one of the biggest areas of vulnerability for businesses and information and data stored in the cloud is often out of the control of your own internal cyber security measures and relies on a third party to maintain those same security standards.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has also opened a whole host of new vulnerabilities with cybercriminals leveraging internet-connected smart devices to sneak malware onto the network.
From airplane systems and car alarms to power grids and security systems, more products and systems than ever before are at risk for takeover by cybercriminals.
5. Online infrastructure growth
Whether a company uses a private server or a cloud platform to conduct its business, most businesses need security protocols to keep their communications and other activities private and away from those who could use them maliciously. The more companies rely on the internet, the greater the need for cybersecurity help to keep it safe.
A big contributing factor to the rise in cybercrime is the reliance on cloud-based storage and the lack of cohesion between internal security protocols and those of the cloud-based storage partner. It’s important to create a watertight cyber security framework which includes information stored in the cloud.
There is no doubt that cybersecurity is a growing field around the world. Forbes reported that “Cybersecurity is very obviously a job sector of the future. Official estimates put job growth in the sector at 37% per year at least through 2022 – and that is probably conservative. At the start of this year, there were an estimated half-million cybersecurity jobs unfilled in the U.S. alone.
If you would like to talk to us about your cybersecurity needs or learn more about how NEC New Zealand is working with business throughout New Zealand on their cybersecurity requirements, speak to one of our team today.