How Analytics Can Help Overcome Security Talent Shortage

As they train the next generation of security experts, organizations can use analytics and service providers to offer cyber protection today.

Talent shortage in IT
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Even as the frequency and types of cyberthreats continue to climb, companies across the globe are faced with another problem: not enough experienced security professionals to combat the threats. A 2020 survey by the nonprofit certification organization ISC2 puts the shortage at 3.12 million globally, while a study by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) finds 70% of organizations have been impacted somewhat or significantly by the global cybersecurity skills shortage.

The top impact of the shortage, cited by 58% of ESG survey respondents, is the increased workload on existing staff, while 54% say the shortage leads to security jobs remaining open for weeks or months. More than one-third of respondents (38%) say the shortage has left their cybersecurity teams unable to learn or utilize some security technologies to their full potential.

“This data point should set off alarms within the security technology industry,” ESG says.

Training the next generation of security experts

In response to the lack of trained staff, 41% of respondents say they are hiring junior employees and developing them in-house. When going that route, don’t limit yourself to people already focused on cybersecurity, says Joanna Burkey, Chief Information Security Officer at HP. Rather, look for certain traits, whether in new hires or in-house employees.

“The ability to troubleshoot, a desire to dig in and find out why, a curiosity about the business, an ability to analyze and articulate risk in business terms — all of these things are valuable, and none of them are really about being technical in cybersecurity,” Burkey says.

Another approach HP uses is to look for people with other skills first, such as cloud expertise, then teach them security ‒ thus, filling a need for cloud-security experts.

Analytics does heavy lifting, improves security posture

A more immediate way to address the shortage is to implement tools with analytic capabilities, enabling them to detect and block threats on myriad endpoints. Burkey says analytics helps address the skills shortage in at least two ways.

“One way is analytics can do heavy lifting that would otherwise require a lot of manpower,” she says, such as poring through logs, looking for anomalies. Second, she notes, every action you take either adds or removes safety from your security posture. “If you consciously add more safety than you remove, you gradually strengthen your posture,” she says. “Analytics is a great tool to add safety.”

A sound solution: security services + analytics

Wrapping analytics into a security service is an even more immediate way to address the skills shortage. HP incorporates a number of analytics components in its suite of security and device management services, including HP Security Services, which includes proactive endpoint security management. HP professionals employ analytics tools that can examine vast amounts of raw data and use artificial intelligence to find anomalies in activity, whether it’s a piece of commodity malware or a zero-day attack.

That gets to one of the benefits of sound analytics tools: They look at data in an unbiased way and draw correlations based on what they find, Burkey says. By contrast, a human may look at the same data with an eye out for a particular outcome, such as malware or an insider threat.

To learn more about HP’s offerings, visit the HP Security Services page.

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