IT Security Professionals Struggle to Find Talent

A Trustwave and Osterman Research study revealed that 57 percent of respondents say finding and recruiting IT talent are their biggest challenges. In fact, only eight percent believe three-quarters or more of their staff have the specialized skills and training needed to handle complex issues. The report also shows that throwing bodies at the problem doesn't cut it -- more than three times as many respondents would rather grow their staff's skills and expertise than grow the number of people on their team. Further, skills are lacking in key areas with about 40 percent of respondents saying their most inadequate skill sets are in emerging and evolving security threats.

Trustwave Senior Vice President of Managed Security Services Chris Schueler, commenting on the study, said "The shortage of staff able to solve complex security issues is an industry problem that continues to worsen, but the way organizations are going about filling this void is all wrong. Typical recruiting methods are not proving fruitful yet we keep seeing enterprises simply throwing bodies at the problem when what is really needed is better staff training, more budget support to hire the right personnel and additional assistance from experienced third-party experts to help amplify the more complicated and demanding areas of security like testing, monitoring and incident response."

Other key findings from the "Money, Minds and the Masses: A Study of Cybersecurity Resource Limitations" report include:

• A good IT security staffer is hard to find -- Finding and recruiting talented IT security staff members with the right skill sets is a "significant" or "major" challenge for 57 percent of organizations. Retaining these people is also viewed as a difficult problem by more than a third of respondents.
• Most lack essential skills and training -- The majority of respondents believe that less than one-half of their IT security departments have the specialized skills and training to handle complex issues. Only one in nine respondents believe it is "very likely" they will have IT security staff available to meet their security demands in the future.
• A perception of high turnover among IT security staff -- Thirty-six percent of respondents say turnover is higher among IT security professionals than in other parts of the organization.
• Most lack full control over their IT security budgets -- Only 24 percent of respondents say they have complete control over their annual IT security budget. While another 51 percent they have partial control.
• Some have little to no control -- More alarming, 24 percent believe they have little to no control over their IT security budgets. Seven out of 10 organizations report disagreements between IT and senior management on budget and staffing issues.
• IT security pros have difficulty anticipating future skills needs -- One-third of respondents say they have trouble identifying the IT security skills and competencies they need. Nearly half believe the problem will get worse.

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