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9/22/2020
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Nearly 70% of IT & Security Pros Hone Their Cyber Skills Outside of Work

New research shows how security skills are lacking across multiple IT disciplines as well - including network engineers, sys admins, and cloud developers.

Nearly three out of four organizations are struggling with a gap in security skills, and 68% of IT and security professionals say they work on advancing their cyber skills on their own time, outside of work.

According to new data released today from Cybrary, 46% of organizations do not confirm new-hires' skills for specific roles and 40% rarely or never assess the skills of newly onboarded team members.

The shortage of cybersecurity workers has been well-documented. While that gap has dogged security teams, IT teams also suffer from similar security skill shortcomings – so much so that 65% of 800 IT and security pros surveyed by Cybrary say the lack of security skills has a negative impact on their team's effectiveness.

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Ryan Corey, CEO of Cybrary, an online cybersecurity career development platform, says all types of IT positions, including network engineers, systems administrators, and cloud developers, lack security skills.

"We found that CISOs are frustrated that IT services and products get sent to the security teams at the last minute without having security built in from the start," Corey says. "So what happens is that the security teams slow down the development process and are seen as a bottleneck to the other departments."

Business leaders aren't always aware their teams lack sufficient security skills, he says. "We always like to say that security is everyone's job, but the data shows as an industry we’re not taking that seriously."

Jon Oltsik, a senior principal analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, says companies need to do a better job integrating cybersecurity into the organizational culture - from the top executives and throughout the entire organization.

"They need to make business managers accountable for cybersecurity within their business units," Oltsik says. "Many organizations have adopted the business information security officer (BISO) role as a bridge between the CISO/organizational security and a customized security strategy that aligns with individual lines-of-business. This is a good place to start."

Jodine Burchell, academic research coordinator for Walden University's college of management and technology, says after companies took the last six months to onboard remote workers once the pandemic hit, they are now in a position to focus more on security and skills development.

Burchell, who teaches information assurance at Walden, says she spends a full week on security in her advanced database course.

"I think people are beginning to understand that we have to take the people we have and make them more effective," Burchell says. "There used to be a sense while a product was going through testing and quality assurance that the security people would handle the security aspects, but that's changing."

Cybrary's Corey notes that security pros looking to upgrade the skills of their IT teams should consult the NIST Cybersecurity Workforce Framework to learn more about the types of security skills IT workers need to develop.

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio
 

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