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Is addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage a Herculean task?

Woman in Cybersecurity, looking at a laptop screen with a padlock on it

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage is crucial as the threat landscape evolves. Rhodo Odysseos from Nokia offers insights into navigating the skills drought, emphasising the need for up-to-date skills and strategies to close the gap.

Rhodo Odysseos, Product Marketing Manager, Managed Operations & Security Services at Nokia, delves into addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage.

cybersecurity

Rhodo takes a look at the importance of keeping cyber skills up to date, and how to navigate the skills drought.

Rhodo, the tech maestro at Nokia and a veteran in telecom OSS/BSS, brings over a decade of product marketing expertise, armed with certifications in management, influence, and sales. In her role as Managed Services Portfolio Marketing Manager, Rhodo defines end-to-end value propositions for Nokia’s cognitive solutions, cybersecurity, and cloud operations.

Are we just talking about whether a cyberattack will happen, or is it more like when is it going to hit us?

Leaders in every industry are chatting about how to shield their organisations, and lots of them are waking up to the fact that the pool of top-notch cybersecurity talent is drying up fast.

Cybersecurity Venture states, there will be roughly 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by the end of 2025. That’s enough to pack 50 NFL stadiums right now! It’s evident that organisations are facing a tough battle against cyber threats and are experiencing more breaches while desperately seeking skilled professionals to fill these crucial positions.

The cybersecurity skills gap is fuelled by stringent security rules and data privacy regulations. The tech scene is throwing more challenges at our defence game. New technologies are transforming our lives and businesses, but they’re also introducing fresh security threats that old-school measures can’t handle.

Attackers have evolved into serious players, from organised hackers to hacktivists and even cyberterrorists, using sophisticated tools that make traditional security measures obsolete.

To tackle these threats, there’s a surge of dynamic security tech flooding the market, making the scene more complex. In the end, countering these challenges demands a diverse set of skills, adding to the complexity of the problem.

Ensure cybersecurity skills are always up to date

One way to picture the evolution of cybersecurity skills is like a rollercoaster. The ups and downs include what’s in, what’s out, and what’s up next. It can be challenging to navigate the ever-changing skills landscape, with stages such as what’s fresh and rising, to booming, to what’s essential, and what’s fading away.

Take identity and access management (IDAM) skills in telecoms. With all these changes, IDAM is expanding beyond the usual boundaries. With the upgrade from 2G to 3G to 4G and 5G combined with the growing attack surface due to exposed interfaces and cloud tech, updated cybersecurity skills are needed now more than ever.

To keep up with new evolving technology such as digital identity, which covers everything from permissions to data security, we need IDAM skills that go beyond the basics — think automation, multi-factor authentication, blending logical and physical identity, and throwing in some AI and blockchain. It’s about making IDAM smarter for the technology of today and tomorrow.

What’s the big problem with the cybersecurity skills gap?

Leaving the front door wide open for cyberattacks and breaches is risky business. Cybercriminals can be like shapeshifters, always changing tactics and targeting sensitive customer data. Without enough cybersecurity experts on hand, organisations can face major hits – think serious losses, damages, and legal headaches.

In 2020, The Ponemon Institute shared that data breaches cost around $3.86 million on average, taking almost a year to resolve. In the EU, they reported 168 telecom incidents that ate up over five million user hours.

This is why organisations need to ensure their security posture is elevated by following best practices and attracting the right skillsets to safeguard data, privacy, and security.  Without enough skilled security professionals, the consequences can be severe including financial losses to a damaged reputation, legal complications, operational disruptions, and potential risks to both national security and lives. It’s crucial to bear in mind, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.”

5 ways to navigate the cybersecurity skills drought

Tackling the cybersecurity skills shortage is top of mind for everyone because no matter what we do, there will always be bad actors trying to access sensitive information. Here are five ways to stay ahead of the curve:

  1. Stay up-to-date on which cybersecurity skills are needed based on the development of new trends.
  2. Understand your business roadmap and identify how security fits in to determine the skills needed to meet your goals.
  3. Stay updated on what suits your organisation by mapping skills into emerging, growing, core, and declining.
  4. Regularly check any skill gaps that you have and decide how to fill them, backed by a solid investment strategy.
  5. Determine in-house skills and which to outsource, thus building a network of trusted partners for just-in-time expertise.

 Level up your internal skills and have a plan in place such as:

  • Opt for certification programs, online courses, webinars, and in-house training to match your needs.
  • Run simulated red and blue team exercises and bring in cybersecurity pros to lead and guide teams, identifying skill gaps.

The key lies in maintaining a continuous flow within the skills pipeline.

Telecom´s unique threatscape: Beyond the IT frontier

Years back, there was a significant gap in Telecom Operational Technology (OT) security specifically for radio, transmission, core, and interconnect areas.  This gap existed due to a shortage of professionals proficient in both telecom and security domains. The available market solutions primarily addressed IT threats resulting in increased vulnerabilities within the telecom OT space. The shortage of cybersecurity experts affects all industries without exception. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to have a trusted partner experienced in telecom security where in-house skills fall short.

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