Addressing Cybersecurity Skill Gap | Work From Home Tips | The Cyber Review

April 20, 2021
Written by Farah

Minding the (skills) gap for cybersecurity talent

After the rise the cyberattacks in 2020 and on-going attacks today, the cybersecurity industry needs millions of new talent to properly protect and defend organizations. Although this skills gap has been around for years, it has become a topic of conversation most recently given the rise in attacks, especially at financial institutions, and the lack of trained professionals.

One way organizations are trying to tackle the skills gap is by pairing artificial intelligence (AI) with security professionals. Security professionals can use AI to help detect and rely on this technology when there is a lack of staff.

Another way to help bridge the skills gap is by scouting, hiring, and training people with the interest and skill set in cybersecurity, rather than relying solely on university degrees and academic backgrounds.

Lastly, bridging the gap isn't just about increasing the number of people, but increasing the diversity in the field too. For example, women make up only 20% of the cybersecurity workforce and nearly two-thirds are paid less than their male counterparts.

AI, machine learning and other security software might make companies more efficient, but at the end of the day, it’s the people who make the critical security decisions.

6 Cybersecurity Tips for Working from Home

  1. Lock your devices
    - Know the quick keyboard shortcuts to easily lock your device(s) if you are stepping away from it. Even if you are working around your family, protect is from kids, roommates, partners, or visitors.
  2. Secure your router's password
    - Your router can be logged into. Routers are often set up using basic passwords like "12345" so it's important to get access to it and change the username and password for protection.
  3. Separate personal and work devices
    - Avoid using work laptops for personal things like paying bills or shopping online, and vice versa. Since the devices are not monitored by IT while you are at home, you must take on the role of IT to ensure you are protecting it to the best of your ability.
  4. Security news
    - Read cybersecurity news daily if you can. Keep up with what is happening, read on ways to protect yourself online as well as your devices.
  5. Use VPN and avoid public WIFI
    - Working in a public space such as Starbucks or another coffee shop while using their WiFi can cause a plethora of problems. Public networks are insecure.
  6. Prioritize mental health
    - Let's not forget about taking care of your health while you are working from home. If you are exhausted, step outside, go on a walk and get some fresh air.

IT and Cybersecurity Teams Are Getting Burnt Out

Every organization's level of exposure, cybersecurity expertise on staff and ability to spend on defenses, is different so the stress levels depend but could be very high given the cybersecurity attacks. Here's what cybersecurity experts and incident response professionals say about how to deal with that stress:

  1. Staff accordingly: Increase IT staff so everyone has enough time off, but can also provide enough support to the company when a cyber attack occurs.
  2. Set expectations: Every employees including company leadership should know what is and isn't expected of them. Employees should not be working around the clock while waiting on answers from leadership.
  3. Don't do it all: IT departments should not and cannot do it all by themselves so it's important to build a network of trusted professionals who can respond to an incident right away. There are other ways such as a guest worker program that companies are adopting which allows them to borrow employees from other businesses who have downtime.
  4. Plan and prepare: Instead of trying to always be one step behind hackers, IT teams should be more proactive and take regular steps to ensure that the organization is secure. Invest in prevention and a strong cyber strategy.