Business & Technology

Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap Requires a Global Effort

By Fortinet | January 28, 2019

This blog is a summary of an article written by Ken Xie, Fortinet’s Founder and CEO, that first appeared on the World Economic Forum Agenda blog on Jan 23, 2019.

Note: Read more about Fortinet's leadership with WEF's Centre for Cybersecurity.

Organizations worldwide are struggling to keep up with cybercrime. Even though Gartner predicts worldwide spending on Information Security will reach $124 billion this year, security researchers estimate that the cost of cybercrime will outpace that spend by over 16X, reaching $2.1 trillion by the end of 2019.

Of course, part of the challenge is that many cybersecurity tools and strategies are not up to the task of protecting today’s evolving networks. Many security developer and manufacturers need to reassess their strategies to include creating solutions that can span different environments and be integrated together into a unified security fabric.

The larger problem, however, is that there are simply not enough skilled humans available to properly plan, manage, integrate, and optimize security devices, strategies, and protocols.

“According to a recent workforce development survey, 59% of organizations have unfilled cybersecurity positions, with Frost & Sullivan forecasting a shortfall of 1.5 million by 2020. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the expansion of the digital marketplace has generated more jobs than the current supply of security professionals can meet. The second is a problem of scale, there is currently not an efficient way to create skilled security practitioners at the same rate.” World Economic Forum Agenda blog

This growing security challenge is reaching a critical point. Failure to address it now has the potential to disrupt the emerging global digital economy. Governments, organizations, and educational institutions need to work together to address this challenge. This as one of the most urgent tasks facing the newly formed WEF Centre for Cybersecurity.

Here are five critical approaches according to Fortinet’s Founder and CEO Ken Xie, which we can start moving on today:

  1. Develop hands-on training and apprenticeship programs that span organizations and government agencies in order to cross-train security professionals.
  2. Update our formal educational process to emphasize careers in cybersecurity, and encourage more diversity among women and minorities.
  3. Sponsor technical labs for secondary education and university programs, provide mentors, fund scholarships, and create cybersecurity internships.
  4. Leverage military veterans transitioning to civilian life that already have exposure to many of the latest IT and security tools.
  5. Accelerate our adoption of automation and machine learning so we can detect and respond to new threats at digital speeds and focus limited security personnel on higher order tasks.

We need to start now

When any infrastructure or economic system is brought down, everyone suffers. But as businesses and governments, including critical infrastructures, become increasingly interconnected, a major security event could have catastrophic consequences.

“Institutions like the World Economic Forum play a crucial role in bringing people, organizations, and governments together to solve problems with global implications, and the collective effort to mount a global response to the global threat of cybercrime must be even bigger. We need to start now to create a consensus and movement that includes committing intellectual and financial resources towards solving the growing problem of the cybersecurity skills gap. We cannot afford to wait.” World Economic Forum Agenda blog

For more details on this topic, refer to the entire article, “Here's how we can tackle the growing cybersecurity skills gap,” posted to the World Economic Forum’s Agenda.

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Read more about how Fortinet is working to solve the cyber skills gap with our Network Security Expert programNetwork Security Academy program or our FortiVets program.