Closing IT security skills gap could take years

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More new research studies have declared the shortage of IT security professionals to be a national crisis, with a critical skills gap in threat intelligence and years of effort ahead before we have enough talent to stem the rising tide of security risks.

One study, "Hackers Wanted: An Examination of the Cybersecurity Labor Market," produced by the RAND Corporation, goes so far as to say that "the shortage of cybersecurity experts in the federal government is serious to the point of being a national security threat to the United States," notes an article at FCW.

The research points out that demand for cybersecurity experts began to exceed supply in 2007, as the industry was flooded with reports of wide-scale hacking, credit-card breaches and cyber raids on intellectual property. Everyone knows what has been happening since with regard to cyber-attacks and data breaches.

"As cyber-attacks have increased and there is an increased awareness of vulnerabilities, there is more demand for the professionals who can stop such attacks," Martin Libicki, lead author of the report was quoted as saying. "But educating, recruiting, training and hiring these cybersecurity professionals takes time."

The RAND study did reveal that many organizations are finding creative ways to close the security pros gap, by using "systematic ways of going through their workforce," says an article at Dark Reading.

"Being that all organizations must conduct security awareness training sessions anyway, some are wrapping some personality and aptitude testing into the awareness training," the article explains. "They look for people who have dismantled their home computer for fun--those who like solving puzzles, finding out how things work, and learning how things could be made to fail. These diamonds in the rough may be encouraged to take infosec training and consider a career change."

Such efforts may help to a degree, but as the RAND report noted, the greatest shortage is for information security professionals at the high end, and at high salaries.

For more:
- check out the FCW article
- read the Dark Reading article

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