Cybersecurity membership association (ISC)² in a new report says the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 89% worldwide to fill the talent gap.
That talent gap, according to the organization, is the top concern of IT professionals as the cybersecurity workforce gap actually began to close for the first time ever as the industry added about 700,000 professionals – a growth of 25% over last year’s estimate.
According to the group’s study, the global cybersecurity workforce shortage is now down to 3.12 million from the 4.07 million shortage reported last year. In the U.S., cybersecurity employment needs to grow by about 41% to fill that gap, and by 89% globally, the organization found.
Like many other industries, cybersecurity professionals have had a very busy 2020 due in large part to the COVID-19 crisis. According to the report, 30% of cybersecurity workers faced a deadline of one day or less to transition end users to remote work and secure that new IT environment.
A surprising 92% of respondents said their organization was “somewhat” or “very” prepared to respond, and 18% saw security incidents increase during that time.
“Overall we’re seeing some very positive trends from the cybersecurity workforce reflected in this new data,” said Clar Rosso, CEO of (ISC)², in a statement.
“The response to COVID-19 by the community and their ability to help securely migrate entire organizational systems to remote work, almost overnight, has been an unprecedented success and a best-case scenario in a lot of ways. Cybersecurity professionals rose to the challenge and solidified their value to their organizations.”
The COVID-19 crisis – along with political unrest in the U.S. and elsewhere – is giving cybercriminals and nation-states license to launch sophisticated large-scale attacks that exploit the public’s concern with those issues.
Phishing emails are posing as alerts from public health officials and attacks against government agencies and political groups are increasing in frequency, and cybersecurity professionals are concerned that their industry isn’t keeping up.
Per the report, 54% of respondents said they’re concerned that security budgets will be impacted by revenue losses due to the pandemic, and 23% said their position was cut.
Other findings include how 40% of respondents said they plan to develop cloud computing security skills over the next two years and how only 49% of experts hold degrees in computer science or information science.