'Critical gap': How can companies tackle the cybersecurity talent shortage?
Rapid adoption of digital technologies like the cloud, couple with the sudden shift towards remote work during the pandemic left little time for most enterprises to create a defence against cyber-attacks.
While adopting a robust cybersecurity infrastructure is critical to protect important data from cybercriminals, it is imperative for companies to build their cybersecurity talent base.
In fact, 80 per cent of organisations surveyed in a Fortinet report suffered one or more breaches that they could attribute to a lack of cybersecurity skills and/or awareness.
Conversations around cybersecurity, therefore, must include the increasing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in India and the subsequent need for enterprises to launch upskilling/reskilling programmes in cybersecurity.
In an interaction with People Matters, Shraddha Reghe, Senior Director – People Practices at Seclore, a data-centric security platform, weighs in on key cybersecurity issues, including the talent shortage in the field and the challenges this poses, while suggesting ways various organisations can tackle this issue.
What is the current status of cybersecurity talent in India?
With enterprises turning to digitalisation, cybersecurity operations have become essential to safeguard against both data breaches and data loss. Industry data shows that India is among the top five countries seeing increasing ransomware attacks after the United States and other Western countries.
Despite this, there is a dearth of skilled cybersecurity talent in India. Surveys have found that more than 60 per cent of organisations in India have a vacancy in cybersecurity while the remaining are struggling due to being short-staffed.
India has one of the largest software engineering talent pools in the world, but it now needs to focus on training a range of experts in detecting cyber and ransomware threats for the world.
While virus detection and backup systems are important in cybersecurity, organisations focusing solely on technology risk overlooking a critically important factor, that is the people.
What are the factors driving the demand for skilled data security professionals in India? Do you think the new data protection bill will further this demand?
Cybersecurity has been the buzzword in the technology industry for the past few years, especially with the ongoing digital transformation across industries.
Coupled with the rapid cloud adoption, hybrid work culture, and the digitalisation of even the smallest tasks, such as making online payments to the local Kirana shop, the outlets of data breaches keep on rising. Cybercriminals have become sophisticated and use smarter ransomware attacks that require enterprises to advance their data security efforts. All these reasons combined have subsequently increased the demand for skilled data security professionals in India.
The new data protection bill released by the Indian government has only added to the rising demand for data security professionals.
Therefore, enterprises will now need to adapt to a changing cybersecurity landscape and introduce new frameworks to ensure critical data doesn’t reach the wrong hands. This has added an innate sense of urgency to bridge the gap of skilled data security professionals in the country.
How can companies address the cybersecurity talent shortage?
The demand for cybersecurity is on the rise with no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. The cybersecurity talent shortage is a challenge, but that doesn't mean it has to be a problem. Companies today are taking critical steps to bridge this gap through innovative ways.
It is imperative to deploy skilled data security professionals who can focus on critical thinking and innovation, allowing the automated bots to take over the tedious, repetitive tasks.
With this, companies can predict and be in front of even the most sophisticated cyber-attacks without them having to hire more manpower to account for them.
Another way that companies can address the challenge of talent shortage by outsourcing their cybersecurity needs. Additionally, upskilling/reskilling initiatives and mentorship programmes are crucial to close the skills gap that exists in the industry.
What are the qualifications to build a career in cybersecurity? What experience is desirable?
Cybersecurity is critical to the economy and across industries. This field is a good fit for professionals looking to solve complex problems and navigate the different aspects of client requirements.
The first step to building a career in data security is by entering the tech workforce. Pursuing an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or online cybersecurity degree should create a smooth gateway to the sector.
However, we are seeing more people from the traditional spaces such as Computer Science showing interest in building a career in this space. Cybersecurity is a fast-evolving sector that requires professionals to keep upskilling/reskilling themselves to be aligned to the client demands.
How is Seclore helping build cybersecurity skills and strengthen its data security talent to meet client needs?
At Seclore, we promote an environment of openness and fearless risk-taking which supports their aspirations and helps them hone their abilities to the full. They are encouraged to imbibe critical thinking and analytical skills enabling us to develop world-class products and elegant solutions to complex problems. They are given exposure to cutting edge technologies.
To activate new learning opportunities which play a key role in one’s career growth, we offer our people access to LinkedIn Learning to upskill or reskill themselves in different areas of professional and personal interest.
We also sponsor professional certifications that help augment their expertise and warp drive their careers.
At Seclore, every new joinee gets inducted into the Seclore work environment with the help of the buddy programme. This programme pairs every new employee with a Seclorite who is there to answer questions informally and help the new member embrace and understand the culture.
Moving beyond the early days of joining Seclore, employees have access to the learning partner programme which provides a framework for product training and technical assistance as and when needed.
Lastly, everyone at Seclore has the freedom to grow not just vertically in their chosen department but also laterally based on their interest and potential. It is a place where we encourage our talent to be curious and innovative.