Overcoming the cybersecurity skills shortage

4 Minute Read

Over half of security teams think the global security skills shortage is “very bad” or “serious”.

So, what’s going on? For anyone working in cybersecurity, it’s certainly not a big news flash that it’s getting harder to find and retain good people. It’s the scale of the trend that continues to startle. Around 21% of the global cybersecurity workforce left their job in the last year. Moving forward, the pure volume of vacancies will be even harder to address, which in turn will continue to inflate salaries.

3.4 Million Cybersecurity Vacancies: Good News or Bad?

The global security skills gap increased by 26.2% from 2021 to 2022. This is actually good news for skilled cybersecurity professionals, as you’ll have your pick of jobs. But for employers, the news is a little less positive. You’ll have trouble finding qualified candidates to staff your team, and when you do, you’ll be paying a premium for that talent. And even once you get them, an even bigger challenge will be hanging onto them.

So if you can come up with the cash and be diligent in recruiting, you’ll be okay, right? Not necessarily. The high turnover rate is only partly about money. It also has a lot to do with how interesting the work itself can be. If it’s boring and repetitive, that’s a turn-off and will likely lead to higher turnover. Good security people value challenges and stimulation. Overly administrative work will push hard-to-replace people out the door.

Staffing Opportunities in Security Automation

Security automation is a double solution to the talent shortage. Not only does it reduce the need to hire additional scarce and costly resources, it also frees existing personnel from the drudgery of boring administrative tasks. So how does one best automate security?

Security Automation vs. the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

The most effective way to tackle this problem is by deploying security automation. Security automation solutions automate routine tasks and orchestrate workflows designed to respond to security incidents or alerts by integrating with each organization’s complete security stack.

For example, if a suspicious binary appears on the network, a modern SOAR solution can automatically check it against known threats. The security automation solution can then initiate a predefined set of tasks to immediately respond to the threat. These might include opening a ticket, emailing key stakeholders of the threat, quarantining the infected device, updating the threat database, and so forth.

By automating and orchestrating mundane and repetitive but essential security tasks, security automation solutions help the cybersecurity team perform more efficiently. Security automation can save tens of thousands of dollars in FTE hours every month in incident response and threat detection work. Analysts can let automation take care of routine tasks while leveraging details collected and centralized by the security automation to take action where needed.

Automation helps heal the pain of the cybersecurity skill shortage:

  • Automation lowers your required security headcount. With fewer positions to fill, the skills shortage will have less impact on staffing.
  • Security automation documents and implants team members’ collective knowledge about how to respond to various threats in the system, thus mitigating the impact of staff turnover.
  • Morale is higher because team members aren’t overwhelmed with administrative tasks. Their time is instead spent on higher value and more interesting investigations. This increase in job satisfaction significantly lowers turnover.

How Automation Can Help

Low-code security automation – like Swimlane Turbine – automate security operations for enterprise teams. It delivers centralized security alerts and real-time security orchestration to respond to incidents automatically—at machine speeds. Analysts can automate repetitive tasks using low-code security automation in order to manage incidents more efficiently. Benefits include:

  • Automated incident response
  • Increased situational awareness
  • Reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR)
  • Optimized staffing and cost
  • Real-time visibility and oversight

Management Dashboard

Reduce Security Alert Volumes

Enterprise security teams receive thousands of security alerts per day. That’s a lot of noise, so it’s no wonder why so many companies struggle with staff burnout. Alert fatigue and analyst burnout further fuel the skills shortage.

While there are many reasons for this shortage, one of the biggest is that cyberattackers are always evolving their tactics. As organizations implement new technology and improve their processes, hackers find ways to bypass them. This constant game of cat and mouse requires businesses to constantly update their defenses — but they often lack the resources or skills required to do so.

One way to address this problem is by automating as much of your security operations as possible. Security automation reduces the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks like monitoring, triaging and responding to alerts, which frees up employees’ time for higher-level work like investigating incidents and improving defenses against future attacks.

Save Hours of Work

78% of analysts spend an average of 10+ minutes investigating each security alert. There are a handful of manual tasks that must be performed before incident response even begins. Hours and hours of repetitive tasks pile up and put a strain on security analysts.

One area where we can start making a difference is by automating away tedious tasks so that security teams can focus on more important parts of their jobs like threat hunting or incident response. Security automation helps save hours of work for security teams. Analysts have more time to focus on other aspects of their jobs like strategic planning or incident response activities that require human judgment and experience.

Empower Existing Staff

The best solution is to build your own talent pipeline by training your existing staff. That’s where security automation comes in. Security automation helps empower existing security staff to be more proactive and strategic, ensuring they have all the tools they need to defend your organization against cyber attacks. With the additional time savings from security automation, analysts can focus on training and certifications to become stronger security professionals. 

Security automation solutions like Swimlane Turbine give cybersecurity team managers the ability to meet the staffing challenge head-on. They make the team more productive, improve threat response, and make the work itself more interesting.

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