What's exacerbating the cybersecurity skills gap and how to overcome it in 2023

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Written by Eoin HinchyCo-founder & CEO, Tines

As organizations grapple with new economic realities, security leaders face the familiar challenge of keeping their systems and data safe with limited resources. To continue to do more with, in many cases, even less is a tricky tightrope walk that requires creativity and strategy to ensure overall success.

To make the most of whatever resources are available, it’s important for security teams to evaluate their unique needs and vulnerabilities carefully. Organizational security starts with data and systems protection. Planning ahead to safeguard critical assets with the right strategies and tools enables security teams to work more effectively, productively, and safely.

The number of cyberattacks continues to rise, but businesses have long been scrambling to find enough security talent with the necessary skills to protect their networks and data. This challenge isn’t going to disappear by itself, and it’s likely to become more pronounced with budget cuts and resource restrictions.

But it’s time for cybersecurity leaders to reframe this issue and propel their strategies forward. Instead of solely focusing on the lack of talent, we must focus on equipping existing human power with the most effective tools and utilizing them in a meaningful way. Doing this is the only way to bridge the gap between the skills needed and the skills available.

Three things we know to be true are:

  • It is increasingly difficult for organizations to attract and retain cybersecurity talent.

  • Repetitive, low-fulfillment workloads impact staff churn.

  • Laying off your security team during economic uncertainty is a bad idea.

The problem with repetitive manual work   

Junior and L1 analysts spend an overwhelming 70% of their time performing the same manual tasks day after day, such as monitoring logs and triaging false positives. These processes are necessary, but they require a lot of time, resources, and attention that could be applied to work that provides more value to the organization and more satisfaction for the individual.

The pipeline of trained security practitioners is running dry, and the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs has grown by 350% in the past eight years. As a result, existing security teams are being spread thin and taking on more responsibilities than they typically would, leading to higher rates of human error and burnout.

How automation helps  

There are no silver bullets in cybersecurity, but one way to combat the cybersecurity skills gap is by enabling practitioners on the front lines to automate tasks that don’t require human intervention. Organizations can unlock an abundance of potential for more impactful activities by empowering security analysts through automation. And with the right tools, technical expertise is no longer a prerequisite for success.

Automating routine tasks also reduces overall costs for organizations. It also leads to speedier response times due to fewer errors and more consistent operations, giving security teams access to the data they need faster than ever before while ensuring its relevancy and reliability.

We frequently hear from our customers that automation helps alleviate some of the pressure for more experienced personnel who have their hands full dealing with more complex issues such as advanced persistent threats. No-code automation doesn’t mean replacing people; it’s merely a new skill you can add to your toolkit, empowering you to do more with less.

The need for change   

Both attracting talent and retaining it circle around the same goal: making sure employees feel engaged, supported, and productive. For security team leaders, this means reviewing systems, policies, and procedures to ensure that they’re not outdated or causing friction. It also means having easy-to-use tools and systems at your team’s disposal.

The current conversation around the skills gap reflects a need for more understanding regarding how best to utilize existing resources to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. The skills gap doesn’t just stem from a shortage of talented people—it stems from poor allocation of those same people. But, with proper planning, resource allocation, and automation, security leaders can overcome this issue, enabling existing talent to tackle higher-impact projects and activities that yield more significant results for the organization as a whole.

If you're interested in learning more, you can read our essential guide to no-code automation here.

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