82% of organizations expect a cyberattack, yet 35% are unable to fill open security jobs

According to a study by ISACA and RSA Conference, 82% of organizations expect to be attacked in 2015, but they are relying on a talent pool they view as largely unqualified and unable to handle complex threats or understand their business. More than one in three (35%) are unable to fill open positions. These are the key findings of State of Cybersecurity: Implications for 2015, a study conducted by ISACA and RSA Conference.

Based on a global survey of 649 cybersecurity and IT managers or practitioners, the study shows that 77% of those polled experienced an increase in attacks in 2014 and even more (82%) view it as likely or very likely that their enterprise will be attacked in 2015. At the same time, these organizations are coping with a very shallow talent pool. Only 16% feel at least half of their applicants are qualified; 53% say it can take as long as six months to find a qualified candidate; and more than a third are left with job openings they cannot fill.

A portrait of the ideal cybersecurity professional emerges from this list of shortfalls: the top three attributes are a formal education, practical experience and certifications.

“The State of Cybersecurity study reveals a high-risk environment that is being made worse by the lack of skilled talent,” said Robert E Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, international president of ISACA and vice president of strategy and innovation at CA Technologies. “ISACA is collaborating with industry and government to close this gap through resources designed specifically to meet the unique and complex requirements of the cybersecurity profession.”

“We need competent, well-trained, cybersecurity professionals dedicated to the job, and good IT Governance framework for effective use of these valuable assets to block a cyberattack. ISACA always championed the need of IT governance framework. With Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX), ISACA is now poised to narrow the gap in availability of certified cybersecurity professionals,” said Avinash Kadam, Advisor, ISACA India Growth Task Force.

As cybersecurity incidents increase, it is important to examine the surrounding issues. The collaboration between RSA Conference and ISACA explores recent issues such as hacks, attacks, flaws, security structures, budgets and policies.

“The survey findings reflect what we are seeing and hearing from our speakers and attendees,” said Fahmida Y Rashid, editor-in-chief, RSA Conference. “The 2015 RSA Conference brings together professionals, experts and executives to share information about the latest attacks and exchange security strategies. This year’s hot topics include detecting and responding to security breaches, practical ways to consume threat intelligence, and understanding the ‘Human Element.’”

The study reveals that organizations are experiencing attacks that are largely deliberate, and they lack confidence in the ability of their staff. The top four threat actors exploiting organizations in 2014 were cybercriminals (46%), non-malicious insiders (41%), hackers (40%) and malicious insiders (29%). Sixty-four percent are very concerned or concerned about the Internet of Things, and less than half feel their security teams are able to detect and respond to complex incidents.

Despite these gaps, this specialized area is growing in prominence within the business. The 2015 State of Cybersecurity report documents a job function that is quickly attracting increased visibility and investment:

  • 79% say their board of directors is concerned with cybersecurity
  • Close to a third report either to the CEO (20%) or to the board (11%)
  • 55% employ a chief information security officer (CISO)
  • 56% will spend more on cybersecurity in 2015 and 63% say their executive team provides appropriate funding

“If there is any silver lining to this looming crisis, it is the opportunities for college graduates and professionals seeking a career change. Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for protecting an organization’s most valuable information assets, and those who are good at it can map out a highly rewarding career path,” noted Stroud.

RSA Conference Editor-in-Chief Fahmida Y Rashid and ISACA International President Robert Stroud will present the results and implications of the study at the RSA Conference at 8am PT on Wednesday, 22 April, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.

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