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Analyzing the Global Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

Expert Reviews Survey Results, Pinpoints Areas of Concern
Analyzing the Global Cybersecurity Skills Shortage
Simone Petrella of CyberVista

The global shortage of experienced cybersecurity professionals is a serious problem that makes fighting emerging cyber threats challenging, says training expert Simone Petrella.

In a recent survey of 775 IT decision makers in eight countries, conducted by Intel Security in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 82 percent of respondents said their organizations are struggling with a shortage of staff with cybersecurity skills.

Some 71 percent of those surveyed cited the shortage as responsible for direct and measureable damage to organizations whose lack of cybersecurity talent makes them more desirable hacking targets.

Respondents estimated an average of 15 percent of cybersecurity positions in their organizations could go unfilled through 2020. And more than half of respondents believe that the cybersecurity skills shortage is worse than talent shortages in other IT professions.

Among the issues contributing to the current shortage is a mismatch between skills and emerging cyber trends, says Petrella, chief cyber strategy officer at education services provider CyberVista, who analyzed the survey results.

"For many years, when we consider security, the focus has been on defending our perimeter, like defending the walls of a castle," she says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. "But the skills that are actually required ... [are] significantly more advanced levels of data analysis, technology skills, technical analysis and understanding of malware."

In the interview (see audio player below photo), Petrella also discusses:

  • Tips for mainstream IT professionals who want to transition into cybersecurity roles;
  • Advice for CISOs and other security leaders who are having difficulty in finding new staff members with the skills they need to keep up with emerging cyber threats;
  • Why many organizations need to pay more attention to retaining cybersecurity talent;
  • Cyber skills challenges faced by highly regulated industries, including healthcare.

Before joining CyberVista, Petrella, an attorney, was a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she helped build the firm's cyber fusion center. She also led the firm's cyber threat intelligence business in the national security and defense sectors.

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