What role can an IT services company like Communication Concepts, Inc. play in the future of the cybersecurity industry? As the number of capable cybersecurity professionals continues to fall, can outreach help to bring more people into the industry?
The future of the cybersecurity field is in trouble…
Communications Concepts Inc. visited a local high school recently to represent the cybersecurity industry at their career fair. Cybersecurity remains one of the most under-staffed industries, which is why we value the opportunity to show the next generation what it’s all about.
What can be done to improve the future of cybersecurity?
There are many ways to help improve the future of the cybersecurity industry.
In addition to improving post-secondary education opportunities that feed into cybersecurity careers, and offering better wages and benefits, there’s another way that IT companies can make a difference in the future of cybersecurity…
They can reach out to the next generation of IT security professionals right now.
That’s what Communications Concepts, Inc. helped to do when we sent our very own Nathan Maxwell to promote cybersecurity as a career to high school students at their career fair.
Along with two other contacts from the local SecKC, Nathan set up a table at the fair, complete with locks and picks, blinky badges, a Wi-Fi pineapple, and swag.
While the Wi-Fi and swag brought students to our table, the locks and picks were used as conversation starters.
Once we had a student busy trying to get the lock open, we could ask them more about their interests and how they aligned with the work involved in cybersecurity:
- Do you think outside the box?
- Do you like knowing how things work?
- Do you enjoy looking for non-conventional ways to accomplish things?
Given that cybersecurity is all about adapting, staying flexible and determined, these are important questions to ask those who may be interested in it as a potential career.
In one case, we were pleased to get to know one student that spent almost 30 minutes trying to get a lock opened – he changed tools, altered how he held the lock, and how he worked with it.
Whether he got it or not didn’t matter, but his persistence and “stick with it” attitude showed he would be a perfect fit for the industry.
Despite the fact that the cybersecurity industry has never been bigger or more important, it’s getting harder and harder to find skilled and knowledgeable technicians.
After all, the cybercrime business continues to grow. In fact, it’s estimated that the global cybercrime industry will cause up to $6 trillion in damages in just a few years.
Even so, the numbers among professionals in the cybersecurity industry are falling…
Why is the future of the cybersecurity industry in trouble in the first place?
“The shortage of skilled security professionals has been a perennial problem that consistently results in failed security technology deployments. The number of unfilled cybersecurity roles is expected to grow from 1 million in 2018 to 1.5 million by the end of 2020.”
Furthermore, recent polling performed on behalf of Tripwire found even more troubling evidence:
- 93% of polled IT security professionals say the skills required to be a great security professional have changed over the past few years, which is making it harder to find properly skilled cybersecurity professionals.
- 85% report their security teams are already understaffed, and only 1% believe they can manage all of their organization’s cybersecurity needs when facing a shortage of skilled workers.
- 96% say they are either currently facing difficulty in staffing security teams due to the skills gap or can see it coming.
“The skills gap issue continues to worsen,” said David Meltzer, chief technology officer at Tripwire, “which is troubling, since cybersecurity threats only continue to grow. Additionally, security teams are in search of new skillsets to deal with evolving attacks and more complex attack surfaces as they include a mix of physical, virtual, cloud, DevOps and operational technology environments. It’s becoming more difficult to maintain critical security controls, and there are fewer people available to do it.”
What should you do if your cybersecurity team is understaffed?
Whether your IT security team is a little too small to cover all your bases, or you don’t have anyone specifically assigned to cybersecurity at all, you could likely use a little help.
Although it’s not the right choice for every business (depending on their size and the industry they operate in), a simple way to augment whatever cybersecurity personnel you have right now is to work with a Kansas City IT services company. Outsourced IT services can fill in any gaps that you may not have the expertise or time to address.
Beyond that, it’s recommended that you do your part to enhance your cybersecurity, both at and work and at home. Follow these five simple tips as a start:
- Stay up to date: While some users remain skeptical of new updates to their software, the fact is that these patches help to protect your information from known vulnerabilities. By refusing an update, you risk maintaining a weakness in the system that is publicly recognized at that point as a method that hackers may use to compromise your info, so be sure to regularly check for updates.
- Use a wide variety of passwords: Even though you may have over a dozen different logins for the services you make use of on the web, the fact is that unique passwords are an important part of online security. If you were to use the same password for your email, online banking, and social media, the vulnerability of your information is greatly increased because a successful hack of just one account opens up every other one with the same password. Be sure to vary your password from one account to the next.
- Enable two-factor verification: Many services these days, including Gmail, Facebook, and Paypal, offer a secondary step for verification to ensure that hackers would need more than just your password to gain access to your accounts. While the methods may vary, a popular form of two-factor verification today is to have a confirmation code sent to the mobile device that you then use with your password to log in. While it may take a little more time, it only adds to the security of your information.
- Use password management services: To help you manage a long list of unique and strong passwords, services now exist that will log and save all your different login information for you. By remembering just the log in info for that one service (such as LastPass), you can have the service autofill any added account info when you need access, securing all your info in one place and reducing the number of passwords you need to keep memorized.
- Remain vigilant: Maintain a healthy skepticism while surfing the web. If something looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is, so ignore anything that is free or illogically enticing as it is likely a scam. Even clicking on the wrong link can be dangerous, so avoid click-bait and fake emails by enabling spam filters, ad blockers and working only with the websites that are large and trustworthy.
We are proud to have represented the increasingly important cybersecurity industry at this local school fair. The Communications Concepts, Inc. teams hopes that efforts like these will help bring more capable professionals to the field, and make our future more secure.
Like this article? To learn more about cybersecurity, check out the following blogs: