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DomainTools 2019 Predictions: Mind the (Cyber Skills) Gap

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Meanwhile, it is anticipated that more than three million cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled within the next three years, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. This disconnect between the rise in cybercrime and understaffed organizations is leading to a major gap in the industry. Raytheon/Ponemon Institute surveyed more than 1,100 senior information-technology practitioners in this year, revealing that only 36 percent of respondents think their senior leadership saw cybersecurity as a strategic priority. Until executives place higher investment in implementing stronger cybersecurity programs, cybercriminals will continue to successfully complete high-profile attacks. As cybercriminals continue to refine their tactics and take advantage of understaffed companies, it is imperative that organizations have a better understanding of its potential vulnerabilities.

This dilemma is only intensified by the widespread adoption of automation technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence – which is only increasing the demand for highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals. While automation provides a solution for low-skill tasks – it only scratches the surface when it comes to combatting the advanced cyberthreats and threat actors we’re seeing today. The emergence of automated solutions does bring an opportunity for cybersecurity professionals to fill the gap. Automation will allow professionals more time to focus on higher-level vulnerabilities and overall network security – permitting cyber professionals the time needed to understand how to defend organizations and individuals alike.

DomainTools Senior Data Scientist, Sean McNee shares his insights on what the growing skills gap means for the cybersecurity landscape in 2019:

“The face of cybercriminals is changing. Given the lack of experienced cybersecurity professionals, including both whitehats and blackhats, we expect more blackhats, especially those working for nation states, to be moonlighting as cybercriminals in order to make some additional cash. As such, tactics, techniques and procedures between some cybercrime and nation state actors may ‘muddle’ – they may have different targets but go about their activities in similar ways. This may provide some insights into complicated relationships between nation states and cybercriminals, including the use of moonlighters as part of disinformation campaigns.” Sean McNee, Senior Data Scientist

Corin Imai, senior security advisor at DomainTools, also weighs in:

“Our industry is hurting, and as the skills gap continues to grow, managed security service providers (MSSPs) will rise. It’s forecasted that nearly two million cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled in 2019. That is detrimental to the industry as well as consumers that are trusting organizations to protect their personally identifiable information (PII). We will see a shift in medium to small organizations as they turn to outsourcing more to MSSPs that have expertise in the specific areas of need for their organizations (vCISO, vDPO, security architects, security researchers, etc.).” Corin Imai, Senior Security Advisor