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How do you bridge the cybersecurity talent gap?

Experts warn there could be a massive shortage of cybersecurity experts by 2019.


Ben Dickson


Posted on Jun 14, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 3:09 am CDT


The cybersecurity industry is faced with a widening talent gap. In 2015, a Symantec survey forecasted the shortage of cybersecurity experts to hit 1.5 million by 2019. The latest study by Cybersecurity Ventures, a firm that researches the global cyber economy, predicts that figure to rise above 3.5 million by 2021.

The same study expects the cost of cybercrime to reach an annual $6 trillion by 2021, twice the recorded $3 trillion in 2015.

With data and connectivity finding its way into everything, there’s virtually no aspect of life, business, or politics that is immune to cyberattacks and data breaches.

“The industry is failing to meet the demand for cybersecurity talent because there aren’t enough high schoolers entering higher education programs in cyber, there aren’t enough college graduates entering the cyber field with relevant training, there aren’t enough women in cyber, and even less minorities in cyber,” says Steve Morgan, CEO of Cybersecurity Ventures.

Meeting the growing need for cybersecurity experts and fighting the mounting tide of cybercrime will be among the topics discussed at the Global Cybersecurity Summit, which will be held in Kiev, Ukraine, on June 14-15.

Ukraine has been the target of several cyberattacks allegedly originating from Russia, which makes it an especially suitable venue to discuss the challenges the industry is facing.

“In late 2015, roughly a quarter of a million people lost power in the Ukraine after their electric grid was compromised—a watershed event for industrial internet cybersecurity,” says Suzanne Spaulding, former Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, alluding to an attack that is largely believed to be conducted by Russian hackers.

Spaulding is one of the many speakers at GCS 2017. A panel of experts representing both the public and private sector will be discussing a wide range of topics at the two-day summit. The participants at GCS 2017 will give insights and guidance on how to bridge the cybersecurity talent gap, such as employing best practices and policies to raise awareness on cyberthreats across organizations and using artificial intelligence and other cutting edge technology to fight cybercrime.

“In recent years we’ve made great progress reaching the public with useful public health and safety information. But we’ve barely begun the conversation about the new threats from cyberspace,” says Dr. Gregory Michaelidis, director of Security Awareness Lab, LLC, who will be speaking at the conference. “We sorely need to get better at being digital, because whether we like it, or even know it, we all live within a growing constellation of internet-connected sensors, devices, and networks that are constant targets of online probing, theft, ransom, espionage, and even destruction.”

“Like most tech companies, we prioritize hiring based on applied over theoretical experience,” added Karl Holmqvist, a GCS speaker and CEO of cloud-based cyber security platform LastWall. “That’s why we’re so eager to see Ukraine turn their position as a cyber frontline into a distinct advantage, where cybersecurity specialists from the country can offer their practical experience to the benefit of companies around the world. This summit is absolutely taking place in the right place at the right time.”

Ukraine, which is one of the hubs for tech and cybersecurity talent, has been well-received locally for the Global Cybersecurity Summit 2017. The Ukrainian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade’s State Finance Institution for Innovations, IT Ukraine Association, Hi-Tech Office Ukraine, and the Telecommunication Chamber of Ukraine Association are among the backers of GCS.

The Global Cybersecurity Summit 2017 will be held in Kiev’s Parkovy Convention and Exhibition Center on June 14-15. A live stream of the event can be found at the GCS’s website.

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*First Published: Jun 14, 2017, 11:04 am CDT