Addressing Three Major Pain Points of the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

By Jon Bove | January 03, 2018

The cybersecurity skills shortage is an issue impacting all industries. As cyberattacks become more frequent and sophisticated, organizations all over the world are struggling to outfit their teams with personnel that are armed with essential cybersecurity backgrounds and technical security skills, in addition to broader IT know-how.

This growing lack of qualified personnel means that organizations have to offer competitive benefits to attract talent, pricing many smaller organizations out of the running for the limited pool of security professionals. And even at the enterprise level, this skills gap means the talent pool is watered down, making their organization more susceptible to attacks.

Estimates state that there will be 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide by 2019. This skills shortage has already begun to take its toll as technology becomes more engrained in day-to-day operations across verticals and is expanding beyond traditional borders at an unprecedented rate. With 45 percent of organizations stating they have a problematic cybersecurity skills shortage, and with 91 percent stating they feel their organization is susceptible to a major cyberattack, it is likely that your customers are already feeling the weight of this skills shortage.

Where the Cybersecurity Skills Gap is Hitting Your Customers

A recent survey conducted by ESG and ISSA has highlighted three areas in particular, in which the cybersecurity skills shortage is having the greatest impact on your customers:

  • Security Analysis and Investigation

31 percent of respondents identified security analysis and investigation as pain points induced by the skills gap.

  • Application Security

Similarly, 31 percent noted application security deficiencies due to skill shortages.

  • Cloud Security

Finally, 29 percent of respondents claimed that their cloud computing security is suffering due to a lack of personnel.

While the broader IT skills gap is certainly negatively impacting your customers, a lack of strong security personnel in these three areas puts them at particularly high risk due to digital transformation efforts.

Security Risks in The Cloud

As your customers transition to meet the growing digital demands of consumers, they are increasingly adopting cloud solutions for their dynamic scalability, data storage, and computing power, as well as for their lower costs.

However, cloud adoption also comes with security risks that are different from those affecting traditional network infrastructures. Visibility into data movement is diminished in cloud environments, especially when there are multiple siloed tools deployed, making data breaches harder to detect. Cybercriminals may infiltrate cloud environments through account takeover or malware, and then dwell there to detect and exfiltrate sensitive data.

With high profile data breaches serving as looming threats, organizations still must ensure they have the necessary cloud security measures in place, despite limited IT personnel.

Application Security Risks

Applications are known to be a common attack vector for cybercriminals looking for network access. Like the cloud, application use is drastically increasing at your customers’ organizations as consumers and employees demand constant access to information and ways to streamline interactions. Due to these demands, your customers are adopting agile development strategies that allow them to release new, updated applications at a faster pace. While this is better for users and keeps organizations competitive, this faster development cycle also leaves more room than ever for vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, as employees bring their own devices and connect them to corporate networks, they are inadvertently putting the network at risk through the presence of potentially vulnerable applications residing on their mobile devices. This risk also exists due to shadow IT, in which employees download applications and store critical data off-network without going through IT channels.

The number of applications and their wide use will only continue to grow. As a result, the lack of security professionals available to help identify and mitigate the related risks will continue to be a challenge for customers.

Limited Threat Intelligence


Threat intelligence is the engine that powers cybersecurity strategy. Security analysis provides this threat intelligence, which serves as the first indicator of attack methods and early compromise. Threat intelligence is gathered by looking at data collected by security solutions across the network, giving IT teams insight into current attack vectors, at risk devices or applications, and other malicious patterns. Teams can then update solutions to be aware of and mitigate these threats.

However, the gathering and collating of data collected through separate and largely isolated security solutions are highly resource intensive for security teams. 74 percent of professionals admit that security events are being ignored because teams cannot keep up with the volume of data being collected across point products. With a limited staff of qualified security personnel, signs of an attack will increasingly be missed, and solutions will not be updated in a timely manner with the necessary intelligence required to mitigate an attack.

Mitigating the Skills Shortage with Fortinet

Partners can work with Fortinet to help their customers mitigate these challenges – even with limited security personnel in place – through our highly integrated and automated security framework. The skills shortage is demanding that organizations invest in automation and managed services to keep up with the pace of cyberattacks. The Fortinet Security Fabric inherently addresses these demands, as well as the related skills gap, with its broad, integrated, and automated functionality. Enterprises can centrally manage and orchestrate policies, as well as coordinate automated responses to threats detected anywhere across the extended network, effectively shortening the detection and response cycle. Additionally, automation and single-pane-of-glass visibility and management give partners a competitive advantage in positioning a comprehensive strategy, thereby securing new opportunities.

Also woven into the Security Fabric are closely aligned cloud security and application security solutions designed to communicate and coordinate with each other, as well as with the larger security architecture, to respond to threats in real time. Each solution in the Security Fabric is also automatically updated with threat intelligence gathered by FortiGuard Labs at both the local network and global level to ensure maximum awareness and defensive readiness.

FortiGuard Labs is comprised of a team of dedicated security researchers who analyze data collected from sensors and Fortinet solutions deployed around the world, develop signatures and countermeasures, and then distributed them to every Fortinet solution. This means that busy IT teams can be assured that their infrastructure is constantly being updated with the most current threat intelligence, without expending their resources to perform the requisite security analysis. 

Finally, the architectural approach of the Security Fabric gives your customers a single, consolidated view of their network and data, minimizing the manpower required to monitor data movement and analyze patterns and behaviors across multiple point solutions. With no end to the skill shortage on the horizon, this broad, integrated, and automated solution approach gives your customers the security they need without draining limited IT resources.

Network Security Expert Program

As our partners help their customers navigate this skills gap, it is important that they also have an accurate and up-to-date understanding of the threat landscape organizations face, and how Fortinet products can specifically mitigate these threats without advanced security personnel. The Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) Program is an eight-level certification course that does exactly this, while helping partners accelerate sales, offer new services, and remain compliant. At the same time, organizations and educational institutions worldwide are increasingly using this training to help prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

Final Thoughts

While it continues to be difficult for organizations to outfit their security teams, they have to make sure security remains a priority. In spite of the skills gap, cyberattacks continue to evolve, which means your customers will have to close that gap using advanced and integrated technology. As they search for the right strategy, our partners will be at a distinct advantage by offering Fortinet’s automated, broad, and integrated Security Fabric solution.

For more information on current promotions, events, and product updates contact your Fortinet representative, or refer to the Fortinet Partner Portal.

Sign up for weekly Fortinet FortiGuard Labs Threat Intelligence Briefs and stay on top of the newest emerging threats.