We are at a pivotal moment in time. Cyberattacks continue to escalate, and they have now emerged as a top technology risk in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2015 report. Exacerbating this issue is the widening gap between demand and supply of properly trained cybersecurity professionals. We are in the midst of what is now described as a “perfect storm,” and as we wrap up another Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s the right time for ISACA to provide a forum for keeping the conversation moving forward.
Your roles—many as cyber first responders—have become more complex and more critically important to your organizations than ever before. Cybersecurity is more than a business issue and more than a concern over financial security. It’s a matter of public safety, and therefore needs to be monitored and addressed at all times. Cybersecurity doesn’t take holidays. Cyber threats don’t have borders and are fueled by smart and motivated people. The numbers tell the story:
- 83 percent of organizations believe that cyberattacks are one of the top three threats facing organizations today.1
- 86 percent of cybersecurity professionals say there is a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, and only 38 percent feel their organizations are prepared for a sophisticated attack.1
- Nearly two million cyber security professionals will be needed globally by 2017.2
- Attempted cyberattacks on corporate IT networks jumped 458% last year.3
- And, recognizing these issues, companies will invest more than US $170 billion on cybersecurity by 2020.4
While these statistics are daunting, I challenge you to look at them as opportunities. Digital technologies are the backbone of the world economy, of our society, and are a key enabler of innovation, freedom and prosperity. Times like these enable us to look ahead and work together in addressing the evolving technology challenges that we face. Over the next few years, we can shape future technology decisions, traditionally based on benefits, cost and ease-of-use, to include a more strategic focus on security.
The need to improve cybersecurity is more urgent than ever as enterprises around the world struggle with finding knowledgeable and experienced cybersecurity staff. Hiring and retaining skilled workers is a significant global issue. However, there is an upside. The global skills gap creates a variety of career opportunities for students, recent graduates and professionals seeking a career change. Those who can demonstrate their skills in this area can earn higher incomes and choose the jobs that provide them with the most rewarding experiences.
Deploying technology and retaining the right staff to enable innovation and build the business is best accomplished when done in a focused and strategic manner. Cyber and technology advances, while fraught with risks, are bringing great opportunity. It is up to us to take the action necessary to capitalize on these opportunities for the benefit not just of our enterprises, but for the society as well.
Matt Loeb, CGEIT, CAE
1 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report
2 National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College
3 AT&T Cybersecurity Insight Report