The Heavy Costs and Implications of the Shortage in Cybersecurity Experts

While technology’s advancing capabilities now enable businesses to connect like never before, one downside is that these same innovations also carry a host of security risks.

That is why at BizzNerd we’ve covered the importance of evaluating your company’s cybersecurity measures, which can entail anything from ensuring your employees are well-versed in the best security practices to evaluating the technology that you employ.

Of course, a lot of these can entail complications that regular employees and even business owners themselves would not be able to understand. Unfortunately, though, a shortage of cybersecurity experts may leave them with no choice. As a result, they could be left facing the heavy costs and implications that come with a lack of dedicated experts.

Heavy financial burden

One of the biggest reasons why cybersecurity is such a big concern is the fact that the after-effects of cyber-attacks come at such a big cost. The Central European Financial Observer indicated how cyber-attacks cost the world economy between $445-608 billion (£349-477 billion) in recent years. The impact of these crimes has reached such levels that the Global Financial Integrity and the World Trade Organization even estimate they make up a third of the cost of crime internationally.

For companies, the costs of cybercrime even looks set to increase, with the Ponemon Institute and Accenture estimating that costs incurred by companies in 2017 alone jumped by about 27%. Additionally, smaller companies look harder hit, as costs for cybercrime for them can be four times higher than large corporations. Though the loss of revenue is only the third most common consequence of cybercrime (just behind loss of information and disruption of business processes), the heavy financial costs it brings only serve to reinforce the importance of proper cybersecurity.

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Vast legal repercussions

While a company’s biggest concern in terms of consumer lawsuits may have been simple slip-and-fall incidents in the past, Smart Data Collective explains that legal repercussions have now evolved with the advent of cybercrime. In the past, consumers successfully sued companies for wrongfully divulging their personal information – whether as a direct result of simple employee error or as a data breach that was due to hacking. In fact, Special Counsel notes how data breaches are a growing concern when it comes to confidential data, with experts required to develop strict controls to keep data safe from prying eyes and hackers. In this regard, with the number of breaches that happen every day and a shortage of cybersecurity experts looming, companies and consumers are now more vulnerable than ever to having sensitive information stolen or compromised.

The root of the problem, and how it can be fixed

One of the root causes of a shortage of cybersecurity experts is simply because there isn’t enough talent in the market. One reason for this is because up until a few years ago, most organizations generally left cybersecurity duties in the hands of a few general IT personnel tasked with warding off amateur hacking jobs. However, quick growth in the use of internet devices in business operations quickly saw the seriousness of these threats evolve, and companies scrambled to snap up the best talent. CNBC claims this has since left the market severely depleted, with approximately 2.93 million positions open and unfulfilled worldwide, and schools and training programs are unable to keep up with the growing demand. Without trained cybersecurity staff, organisations simply lack the capabilities to deploy controls or develop resources to detect and prevent cyber attacks.

Yet, IBM Security’s academic outreach leader Heather Ricciuto says that a possible solution could see companies widening the scope for cybersecurity education and hiring, by focusing on skills instead of degrees. IBM is currently looking for people with non-traditional backgrounds for security jobs: “We have a number of people with backgrounds in music or political science that you might think are unrelated to tech,” she said. “But they bring a whole different perspective to the table.” Because of the impact that cybercrimes can have on a business, companies should do everything they can at this point to cope with the shortage of experts.

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