How your SME can bridge the cyber security skills gap

There is currently something of a crisis that has the potential to affect every business across the UK – there is a shortage of individuals with expertise in cyber security. This cyber security skills gap is serious; it has been predicted that the worldwide need for cyber security jobs is expected to reach 6 million jobs by 2019, but that only 4.5 million people will have the necessary skills and qualifications.

Here are some important ways that your business can start to bridge the cyber security skills gap and ensure that it is best placed to defend against hackers and cyber criminals.

Provide training for your staff

The need for cybersecurity expertise is growing, but with talent scarce and at a premium, it can be difficult, and in some instance unfeasible, for smaller businesses to hire full-time members of staff in security roles. However, one way that you can potentially bridge the gap is to provide training for your existing technical and IT staff in all aspects of cyber security.

For example, if you have a web developer, it can be hugely valuable to improve their understanding of the latest types of web application security risks and how your business’ web site can be protected against them.

Implement an on-going training programme that includes everything from specialist courses, attending industry events, reading and webcasts. It can be a good idea to set up a specialist development plan for individual team members to ensure that they are on the right track and have the knowledge they need.

Mentoring is also a good option. Have junior employees spend time with colleagues that are more knowledgeable about cyber security for a hands-on learning experience.

Rethink your IT recruitment processes

It is important to remember that every hiring decision that you make needs to be taken with cyber security in mind. If you are hiring staff in any kind of technical position you should make sure that you assess their knowledge of, and attitude towards, security during the interview process. This can help to ensure that new staff entering the business take the correct approach to cyber security and help to foster an awareness culture.

If you are in a position to hire for a role with a specific emphasis on security you may also encounter the problem that you don’t know exactly what skills you require. Without a security expert already in the business it can be difficult to know how to assess the knowledge and suitability of candidates.

This is why it can be hugely valuable to work with a specialist recruitment agency who can take the time to understand your business and assess your requirements. They will then be able to find and suggest candidates for roles that come with a skillset that will be of most use to you.

Outsource your security needs

The fact is that the gap in cyber security skills comes at a time when cyber-crime is increasing, as is the sophistication and skill level of hackers and cyber-criminals. It is critical, then, that businesses find ways to bridge this gap sooner rather than later.

One cost effective way to quickly improve your organisation’s cyber security posture is to outsource your needs to a provider of managed security services. By providing a team of professional cyber security experts (see: on-demand, an MSSP could help your organisation to quickly detect and fix security vulnerabilities, undertake 24/7 network security monitoring and provide help and support when needed.

“The advanced and evolving nature of cyber threats means that even with strict security controls in place, your business is still not immune to being compromised. To minimise cyber security risk, having the capability to identify and eliminate attacks that evade your perimeter defences is now essential.

Providing the security expertise, tools and intelligence needed to respond to threats and breaches. With MDR, reduce the time it takes to detect attacks from months to minutes.” Redscan

With cases of hacking and data theft on the increase, the cybersecurity skills gap can seem like a major problem. This is especially for smaller businesses without the resources to hire security-focused technical staff. Nevertheless, it is important to take action, as if your organisation lacks the knowledge and resources required to safeguard against the latest threats it could be become an easy target. Following the advice above can help your company bridge the cyber security skills gap and sure up defences.

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