How to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap and Keep Up With Evolving Threats

Josue Ledesma

January 23, 2023

How to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap and Keep Up With Evolving Threats

The threat and risk landscape has changed dramatically and too rapidly for many organizations to adapt or even keep up. Cybersecurity departments are facing an increasing number of threats and are expected to stave off novel attacks as malicious actors continue to find new ways to compromise their data, their clients’ data, and even organizations as a whole. 

Internally, organizations’ infrastructure and environments continue to grow in complexity, as the dependency on hybrid cloud infrastructure, software supply chain, and SaaS apps continues to increase. This is overwhelming cybersecurity departments who are already struggling to have the right resources, finding it difficult to hire top talent, and are overburdened with too many vendors, tools, and data sources. 

Given this challenge that spans internal and external factors, cybersecurity leaders need to reconsider how to organize and structure their cybersecurity strategy to optimize available resources and use tools that are easy to deploy, easy to manage and easy to use. 

Here’s what you need to be aware of to adapt your cybersecurity strategy to best address today’s landscape: 

Build a strategy that considers cyber risk as organizational risk

If you’re struggling with getting the right resources and funding for your department, you may need to shift your internal communication strategy to get corporate alignment. This means being clear on how cybersecurity has evolved and how companies need to adapt. 

Cybersecurity risk is no longer just IT risk and it should act accordingly. The threats and risk environments have led to a dramatic increase in the cost of a data breach, forensic investigations, legal fees, and recovery efforts. This means cyber risk now includes: 

  • Reputational risk 
  • Legal risk 
  • Compliance risk 
  • Customer risk 
  • Data risk 
  • Business Operational risk 
  • Financial risk 

This is largely due to the fact that the average company’s perimeter has evaporated. Critical and sensitive assets are on the edge and/or often housed in third-party servers, systems, and databases. The same shift to the cloud and digital transformation that has facilitated a faster and more optimal business operation has also led to a complex environment that has increased the attack surface of an organization and is often the vector of compromise for unprepared organizations. 

The fix: Cybersecurity leaders need to be leaders for the whole organization, not just their department. This means communicating the risk involved effectively, shifting their strategy to accommodate this new threat landscape, and securing more resources, budget, and support across the entire organization. By getting corporate alignment from the board and across multiple departments, you’ll be able to secure the right resources while also getting enforcement support for policies and tool implementation. 

Rework your cybersecurity department strategy

Due to external circumstances, the make-up of your cybersecurity department also requires a shift. The cybersecurity talent shortage continues to exacerbate and there is no clear way for organizations to remedy the situation. This speaks to a larger issue of why the traditional model of having an in-house cybersecurity team is outdated. This is for a number of reasons. 

Cybersecurity recruitment is expensive

Attracting and retaining top cybersecurity talent can get expensive quickly and take a big portion of your budget. Starting salaries are high as are burnout and turnover rates so you’ll end up spending a lot of money just on hiring a talent and having little left for crucial tech.

Finding the right talent can be near impossible

Between new threats, classes of attacks, and the advent of new technologies and applications in the AI and ML space, having up-to-date cybersecurity knowledge is its own challenge. The industry is moving too fast and teams need constant training or expertise to deal with new threats or manage certain security tools designed for the modern risk organizations face today. Many of the top security talent is also taken by cybersecurity firms. For many organizations, the job openings in the cybersecurity department simply won’t be filled, largely because there aren’t enough qualified people looking for a job.

In-house cybersecurity isn’t comprehensive enough

Unlike security threats and risks, in-house cybersecurity teams don’t work 24/7 (nor should they). Savvy hackers know that off-hours might be their best opportunity to try and breach an organization. If a company doesn’t have the right measures in place, they may fall victim to one of these attacks. Internally, there aren’t many options an organization has to completely secure their organization at all times. 

The fix: Here is where working with other vendors and/or cybersecurity partners might work best. New partnerships and services aimed to shore up the talent gap and provide 24/7 protection can be a crucial asset. However, as we’ll discuss in our next section, this isn’t permission to load your team up with tools and tech.

Minimize vendor overload and tool complexity

As organizations grow and scale, so do their cybersecurity responsibilities and requirements. Since it’s not realistic to grow the department accordingly, many security leaders opt to make up the talent gap with additional vendors, tools, data sources, platforms, and systems. 

Unfortunately, this is a common trap that ends up with a department that has too many vendors and too many tools. Your cybersecurity team might be overworked, burned out, and unable to manage so many disparate data sources and false alerts. If you have an abundance of security information tools, alert fatigue might actually have the opposite effect of what’s intended. 

Depending on your tech stack, there may be a lot of false positives and data to sift through. An overwhelmed cybersecurity team might end up missing key indicators of compromise (IoC) which can be disastrous if your organization ends up being breached or compromised. This will result in a longer detection and recovery time which will only add to the cost of a compromise and may impact business operations. 

With so many tools and vendors to manage, your cybersecurity department will be less efficient and less productive, meaning your organization isn’t as secure and resilient as you want it to be. 

The fix: Rather than trying to make up for a smaller-than-desired department with additional tools and vendors, work towards having a centralized and streamlined department. You should seek to do more with less, meaning opt for efficiency. This requires aggregating data sources, potentially looking for a suite of tools from a single vendor to simplify management, and prioritizing amplifying your department’s existing capabilities and efforts.

Managed services might be the best option for many organizations

Given the modern challenges many organizations now face, managed services may be the best option. These include MDR, MSP, and XDR solutions that provide comprehensive cybersecurity support 24/7. 

These services are designed to be tailored to organizations and work with their specific environments and capabilities. 

For example, MDR services operate as a third-party, working on behalf of the organization and taking actions in case of a compromise, breach, or incident, outsourcing the detection, response, and recovery efforts that are required in case an issue occurs. 

MDR for XDR services aim to centralize existing data sources and are designed to optimize and streamline a larger cybersecurity department that’s looking to improve productivity efforts. 

All of these managed services provide 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) support. They have teams of cybersecurity experts who are proactively threat-hunting and looking to find potential exposures, compromises, or issues within an organization’s environment. 

These partners can serve as an outsourced cybersecurity department for organizations who are struggling to find talent and are lacking the resources to build an in-house department. 

Learn more about how to defeat the skills gap with a single solution.


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Josue Ledesma

Josue Ledesma is a writer, filmmaker, and content marketer living in New York City. He covers cyber security, tech and finance, consumer privacy, and B2B digital marketing.

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