Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage with Automation

By Jeannette Jarvis | May 08, 2018

As the cybersecurity skills shortage continues to grow, businesses across industries are feeling its impact. And at the same time, cyberattacks are increasing in both frequency and complexity. While the need for well-versed and highly skilled cybersecurity professionals is recognized, there simply aren’t enough available to meet the demands of today’s businesses. As a result, the scale tips in the favor of cybercriminals far too often as businesses struggle to bolster their teams with personnel who are equipped with essential cybersecurity skills and technology to combat these threats. More likely than not, your customers are experiencing the impact that this shortage is having on their IT teams.

Having to defend against an ever-widening attack surface with limited resources makes it difficult to maintain an effective security posture unless alternative solutions are in place that can mitigate the shortage’s impact.

With 1.5 million cybersecurity jobs projected to remain unfilled globally in 2019, the shortage in cybersecurity professionals doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Of course, addressing this skills gap directly is in and of itself a complex issue that will require a long-term strategy and commitment from businesses, educators, cybersecurity professionals, and even governments. But your customers need solutions now that can ensure cybersecurity professionals are as efficient as possible with their time.

Mitigating the Cybersecurity Skills Gap’s Impact

According to research conducted by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), 70% of survey respondents believe that the shortage of cybersecurity professionals has had an impact on their organization. Couple this with the 45% of organizations that list the cybersecurity skills gap as problematic for their organizations, and it is apparent that the need to find a solution is very real. 

To make matters even more challenging, today’s networks are also growing increasingly complex. As your customers continue to adopt digital transformation to better run their businesses, more applications, technologies, and IoT devices are being introduced. As a result, the potential attack surface is becoming harder for existing IT personnel to effectively manage and secure.

At the same time, the evolution of modern cyber threats has made the impact of this skills shortage even more pronounced. As cybercriminals continue to make technological leaps forward both in terms of the sophistication and volume of attacks, IT personnel are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up. And cybercriminals continue to up their game by adopting automation and machine learning to more quickly identify weaknesses in network security, carry out complex attacks, create malware that can detect and evade security devices, and shorten the time between breach and compromise.

With threats like WannaCry, Reaper, Hajime, and Hide ‘N Seek continuing to make headlines, organizations should consider following their lead. Automation helps address all of these issues by eliminating functions that current cybersecurity professionals need to dedicate time towards, time that could be more effectively used addressing and securing high priority threats, while responding to threats at digital speeds. Automation can help with the following:

Data Analysis and Correlation

One of the most time-consuming aspects of IT security is threat analysis. For most organizations, this means analyzing data collected by security solutions across the network to identify current attack vectors, vulnerabilities, and malicious patterns and then updating solutions to mitigate these threats. This process of analysis can be especially difficult and time consuming when threat intelligence has to be collected through siloed solutions and then hand correlated across different management consoles. Given at the rate that modern security threats are being launched at networks, there’s a lot of valuable intelligence that can go unnoticed simply through human error or the complexities of effective correlation, leaving your customers vulnerable.  

There is no question that the threat landscape today is complex. In Q4 alone, FortiGuard Labs detected nearly 6,000 unique threats facing businesses—a 3% increase over Q3—and 17,671 unique new malwares. With the skills shortage growing, it will be increasingly more difficult to identify and address this growing volume of cybersecurity threats. Automating threat analysis within an integrated security solution simplifies threat analysis and provides threat detection in real-time across the attack surface, which is critical for meeting today’s threat landscape challenge.

Generating and Distributing Security Solutions

Your customers have to secure themselves against a variety of threats across the attack space. Because applications and data need span the entire network for organizations stay competitive, they need to also be able to distribute security solutions across their network as well—not just in the location that a vulnerability is discovered—and at speeds that can keep up with cybercriminals. By applying automation to critical functions such as security patching and updating, IT personnel can simultaneously ensure that threats are mitigated across the network while lessening the amount of time it takes to respond to a cyber event, thereby better protecting their networks from successful cyberattack.

Detecting and Mitigating Cyberattacks

For organizations today, it’s no longer a matter of if a successful cyberattack will happen, but when. For customers struggling to alleviate the impact of the cybersecurity skills shortage, being able to automatically detect and mitigate the damage of cyberattacks is crucial. From the moment a vulnerability is exploited, every second counts. Having the capability to detect and then outpace the attack itself can level the playing field for organizations experiencing a skills shortage.

Just as with analyzing and deploying security solutions to prevent a cyberattack, automating coordinated responses to detected threats helps limit the amount of damage a breach causes, isolate attacks, and limit their spread to other areas within your network. Integrating traditionally isolated security solutions into a single cohesive framework allows automation to also actively coordinate a unified response to a threat across a variety of security and network resources—all without human intervention.

Fortinet Solutions to Alleviate the Skills Shortage

By working with Fortinet, partners can help their customers effectively mitigate their cybersecurity skills gap and strengthen their digital defenses through our integrated, automated Security Fabric framework. Automation provides an effective solution to gap in resources by helping existing personnel keep up with the rapid evolution of cyber threats today and focus their time and energy on higher order problem solving. The solutions that make up the Fortinet Security Fabric address the demands of today’s organizations and threat landscapes with its automated, responsive functionality.

Further expanding on the Security Fabric, FortiOS 6.0—our latest update to the Fortinet operating system—enables transparent visibility and control across the attack surface, enhances analytics, and improves risk management. While delivering automated visibility across multi-cloud environments, IoT and endpoints, web applications, and email, this latest version of FortiOS also includes over 200 new features, including Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR), Virus Outbreak Protection Service (VOS), and a new Security Rating system that helps organizations prioritize their response to detected threats.

Along with effective automation, the Security Fabric also includes cloud and application security that enables seamless communication between security and security-enabled devices across the extended network architecture, enabling a comprehensive response to threats in real time, end to end. And finally, every solution included in our Security Fabric is consistently updated with threat intelligence collected and analyzed by FortiGuard Labs, comprised of our comprehensive team of dedicated security researchers and patented security analysis tools that leverage the latest in artificial intelligence technologies and architectures.

Final Thoughts

While the cybersecurity skills gap continues to make it difficult for organizations to properly staff their security teams, cybersecurity remains a top priority. Your customers need a solution that can address today’s evolving cyber threats while effectively mitigating the impact of the cybersecurity skills gap. As the skills shortage continues to grow, Fortinet partners have a distinct advantage by offering Fortinet’s automated security fabric as an effective and practical solution.



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