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Shortage of cybersecurity experts to cost world businesses $3tn next year

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Centre for Cybersecurity has warned that both conglomerates’ and emerging businesses stand the risk of losing well over $3 trillion by the year 2020, due to lack of cybersecurity systems and human resources.

The Centre further averred that 74 per cent of the world’s businesses can expect to be hacked in 2020.

Besides, related details from the 2019 global survey by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), revealed that technical proficient cybersecurity professionals including experts with business acumen, continue to remain in short supply to organizations and businesses to date.

ISACA averred that the major factor fueling the fears of the impending financial losses next year is not unconnected with observed scarcity of qualified professionals applying to open positions. From the survey results, almost 60 per cent of respondents say 50 per cent or less of applicants applying to open cybersecurity positions are qualified.

According to the WEF’s Centre for Cybersecurity, current efforts to contain cybercrime remain important, however, it is chiefly insufficient, as the global impact of cyber threats continues to grow.

The Centre further added that whereas the job of protecting organisation’s data system lies largely, with the duties of the technical cybersecurity person, 52 per cent of respondents in the survey say most vacancies in their organisations, remained for technical cybersecurity persons, while 72 per cent of them, say there are no vacancies for Executive or C-suite cybersecurity persons.

The report made it clear that although the cybersecurity field has a great need for technical competence and qualifications; it also suffers from a lack of business comprehension as figures in the report show that 49 per cent of respondents believe the average professional lacks the ability to understand the business, while 34 per cent and 17 per cent respectively say, it’s a technical and communication skill problem.

Otherwise, the report posited that “This data, combined with the large need for technically skilled individuals, helps to determine the ideal cybersecurity professional in today’s environment—a technically proficient cybersecurity professional who is able to understand an enterprise’s business strategy. Indeed, an individual who can successfully apply his or her technical cybersecurity skill set to effectively enhance business goals and who can articulate that connection to counterparts at multiple organizational levels has a bright future in the field.”

On the ISACA report, the group said its survey involved 1,576 respondents, 94 per cent of them with ISACA’s certified Information Security Manager or Cybersecurity Nexus Practitioner certificate and other individuals in information security positions. Accordingly, North America, with the highest number of respondents held 43 per cent, while other regions like Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle-East and Oceania held 25, 17, five and three per cents respectively. The IT organisation adds that, 28 per cent of respondents were from the technology services industry, 20 per cent from the financial industry and 10 per cent from government or military services.

In ISACA’s key report submission, it argued that even though some academic institutions are implementing successful technical programs, most are still perceived as training cybersecurity in abstraction, rather than training it as a technical, hands-on field, which, by its very nature, requires some business intelligence.