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Creative Solutions for Your Organization to Address the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: August 23, 2021

Creative Solutions for Your Organization to Address the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

The great thing about cybersecurity is that there’s more awareness of it. The bad thing about cybersecurity is that there’s more awareness of it. These conflicting statements mean your organization is impacted in good ways and bad ways.    

The good is that there are far more individuals getting into cybersecurity and there are more cybersecurity courses to allow for training and exploration of the field. The growing awareness also means that more and more organizations understand their need for cybersecurity professionals. This helps organizations be more in control of their cybersecurity challenges – but this is also where the bad comes in.  

With greater awareness comes a steep drain on a growing, but limited, talent pool. Cybersecurity professionals are being snapped up at an alarming rate leaving many companies wondering how they will manage. Without the expertise they need, organizations are increasingly aware that they are leaving the back door open to data, digital assets and systems. Some don’t know the extent of their risk, but have concerns.  

These companies need help, but don’t know where to turn when individuals who have credentials like Security+ certification are hard to come by.  

This is the time for creativity.  

Newness of the Field 

In the scope of IT professionals, those in cybersecurity are relatively new. It’s one of the areas in tech that is constantly changing and seeing a regular need for training and retraining to stay ahead of the curve. Believe it or not, this is an advantage for organizations that need cybersecurity staff and are willing to do things somewhat unconventionally. 

Imagine talking to the person responsible for IT in your small organization. They are already overwhelmed keeping the network running, managing user requests, fixing system issues and about a million other day-to-day demands. If you were to ask if they could take on cybersecurity, you’d like get an eyeroll and a sigh. Or perhaps they’d express interest, but would point out that someone else would need to take on some of their current role to enable them to include cybersecurity training and tasks. 

They’d be willing to take on supporting and coaching someone network in the role, but you both recognize the impossibility of doing it all. 

Who else in the organization has an interest?  

Talk to Your People 

An auto dealership was struggling to find IT people. A relative newcomer was working on the lot, cleaning cars, preparing them for sale, but the general manager could see it was “just a job” and despite his work ethic (or perhaps because of it), the new employee would soon move on to better things.   

They spoke, had an in-depth conversation about desires and needs and found the employee enjoyed computer work. Within weeks, he was promoted and recognized as someone the company couldn’t be without. He filled the gap because of an open and honest conversation and an employer that cared to learn about what his people wanted.   

The same may be true in your organization. Talk to your people. Is there someone in the administrative side of things that is interested in cybersecurity? Maybe they earned their Network+ certification because of a side interest or a former thought of their career path they later abandoned. There may be team members in other departments who have extra time or a project soon to wrap up and they would like to take on cybersecurity.  

Train the Skills Needed 

Not everyone can sit down at a computer and know how to implement a cybersecurity plan. In fact, few people can. Interested people can be tremendously successful at the job with training that comes from something like CYSA+ certification or other courses. Bring the people in that can help make a difference, then make sure they have the training they need to impress you.  

Consider a Group Effort 

Within the idea of training comes a fresh idea. Larger organizations may have multiple people on the IT team. By making use of team training, everyone is able to play a much smaller part in the bigger need. Tools like Slack, Flowdock or Asana help everyone stay aware of tasks, duties and deliverables.   

Look for those Being Underutilized 

There are always people who are much more beneficial to the company than their current job allows. Look for the “over-achievers” or the people like the auto-detailer in the example above. Where there are people who are being underutilized, you may be able to shift work among employees to 1) ensure your cybersecurity needs get met and 2) give employees increased job satisfaction through new tasks and roles.  

Everyone who likes to work, likes a new challenge, so if the IT person wants to take on the cybersecurity work and already has their A+ certification, the best option might be to move some of their existing work to that person in the warehouse that loves computers.  

There are always options to solve the challenge of finding cybersecurity help for your organization, even in a talent pool shortage. Take the time to get to know your employees and ensure they are given the training they need to be successful.  

Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog

 

  

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