Every IT administrator today needs to be concerned about cybersecurity, as does every private business when it comes to its network. However, the same can’t really be said for the computing resources of the government and other public entities… simply due to the lack of talent available.
This lack has even been addressed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and how its continuation will soon create serious issues for the government and the public sector at large. Let’s take a look at what we need to fix to help preserve the nation’s cybersecurity, and the nature of this shortage.
The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to protect American citizens and American businesses within the borders of the United States. To accomplish this, there needs to be a collaborative effort between human security experts and systems that leverage artificial intelligence. The Assistant Director for the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (or CISA) Jeanette Manfra, doesn’t split hairs when it comes to the shortage of cybersecurity talent.
“It’s a national security risk that we don’t have the talent,” according to Manfra. “We have a massive shortage that is expected to grow larger.”
With cybersecurity demand increasing, this shortage is a huge issue. The Center for Cyber Safety and Education has stated that the current 1.5 million available cybersecurity jobs will swell to 1.8 million by 2021… and where there’s insufficient security talent, there are more breaches in both the public and private sector.
Looking at the industry, one could hypothesize that the shortage of public-sector cybersecurity employees is mostly due to the fact that the private sector is more lucrative. While there is no denying that this is how economics tend to play out, it isn’t actually the reason that there is a shortage.
Frankly, it mostly has to do with the job.
Much like other municipal positions, public-sector cybersecurity is a largely thankless industry, which isn’t exactly a selling point for it. Imagine doing critical work, but having your contributions overlooked and ignored… that is, until there was a problem. Then it’s your fault that it happened.
It also doesn’t help that there have been a lot of for-profit colleges closing their doors, meaning that the leading providers of IT training are going away as demand for cybersecurity ramps up.
Fortunately, many ethical hackers out there have picked up the slack. This group identifies vulnerabilities and serves as consultants for businesses. They are also responsible for designing the free coursework that many organizations are now pushing in the attempt to grow cybersecurity awareness. Many online tools have been published by cybersecurity firms to try and pique the interest of potential hires in the future, like Cyber Aces, Hacker101, Google Gruyere, and others.
Jeanette Manfra has also said that CISA is campaigning for grade and secondary schools to add development into their curriculum and to establish training procedures modeled to encourage more people to sign on and remain in the industry.
Improvements here could even help the cybersecurity industry as a whole. Manfra posits that if the government were to subsidize the educational costs new cybersecurity professionals incur in exchange for a few years of work in the public sector, the industry as a whole would have a better level of standardization. As a result, costs would stabilize, benefiting businesses further.
It is important to recognize that cybercrime isn’t going to go away, which means that your business needs to be protected. To learn more about cybersecurity and how it pertains to your business, keep coming back to our blog, or reach out to the professionals at KT Connections.
Rodd Ahrenstorff is the Director of Business Operations for KT Connections, as well as a member of the company’s ownership team starting in 2014. Rodd has been working in the computer and telecommunication fields for over twenty years—a term during which he has held a number of leadership positions. In the past, he has served as a broadcast television engineer, an systems architect, and most recently Director of Information Technology, including a role as a HIPAA Security Officer for behavioral health and multi-specialty medical providers.