Security firms losing out on top tech talent

Image credit: Shutterstock
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Just as businesses fight to attract and retain top talent, so to do cybercriminals and new research from Symantec has revealed that almost half (48%) of cybersecurity leaders in France, Germany and the UK believe their teams are falling behind in the skills race against would-be cybercriminals.

The cybersecurity firm surveyed 3,045 decision makers across all three countries to compile its High Alert Tackling Cyber Security Overload in 2019 report which was conducted by Dr. Chris Brauer and his team at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The findings reveal that the skills gap is putting increased pressure on an already overloaded profession with nearly two thirds of cybersecurity professionals considering quitting their jobs (64%) or leaving the industry entirely (63%).

EMEA CTO at Symantec, Darren Thomson provided further insight on how the growing skills gap is leaving businesses at risk, saying:

“It is disturbing enough to know the barbarians are at the gate, without knowing the people attempting to defend you are outgunned and burned out. Yet, this is exactly what this new data reveals. It is hard to overstate the threat posed by an enemy that is learning faster than you are. If organisations value the security of their data and their finances, they must heed this warning and make strategic investments to address this emerging skills gap.”

Skills gap

Of those surveyed, just under half (44% total, 38% in the UK) of cybersecurity professionals say their teams lack the necessary skills to combat the threats faced by their organizations with over a third (37% total, 23% in the UK) reporting that their teams are simply not able to manage the sheer scale of their current workloads.

DR. Steve Purser, head of core operations for ENISA and a former financial sector CISO highlighted the risk of burnout in the cybersecurity industry, saying: 

“I see a huge risk of burnout in today’s industry. Many people are operating at their limit. When you look at the hours on top of the day job, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that it’s going to take its toll.”

As cybersecurity teams struggle to keep pace with cybercriminals and the speed of technological change continues to accelerate, the cybersecurity talent gap will only grow larger as organizations' defenses grow weaker. 

According to Symantec's study, 46 percent (39%in the UK) of cybersecurity professionals report their teams are too busy to keep up with necessary skill development, 45 percent (37% in the UK) say technological change is happening too quickly for them and their teams to adapt and almost half (48% total, 46% in the UK) say attackers now have 'unprecedented' resources and support from bad actors such as organized crime and state-sponsored hackers.