Threat Intelligence

9/13/2017
09:00 AM
50%
50%

Why InfoSec Hiring Managers Miss the Oasis in the Desert

Despite a sharp shortage of IT security professionals, a pool of potential talent is swimming below the surface.

InfoSec hiring managers may feel they're looking across a vast desert when it's time to fill an IT security position, but the situation may not be as dire as some expect, according to a survey released today by ISC(2).

"Hiring managers want fully trained and experienced cybersecurity people doing the job. But with the shortage, what organizations and academia need to do is look at their own bench," says Wesley Simpson, chief operating officer for ISC(2).

A company's IT staff is one of the greatest resources for finding new security workers, because they are already familiar with the company, its processes, and know its technology, Simpson says.

But in ISC(2)'s 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study, which includes a survey of 3,300 IT professionals, 43% of survey respondents say their companies failed to provide them with adequate security training and professional development.

Untapped Potential

Although 63% of survey respondents say their organizations face a cybersecurity shortage, only 34% of participants say their companies will cover the cost of security training. Another 30% of respondents split the education and training costs with their employer, while 34% of surveyed IT professionals are left to pay the entire cost by themselves.

The average certification class costs $2,000 at ISC(2), Simpson says. However, he notes some organizations charge as much as $10,000 for a certification class.

IT professionals are also underutilized when it comes to soliciting their opinion on security matters. Roughly a third of respondents had their security suggestions put into action, while 28% say their advice was solicited but not followed.

Companies will look to CISOs for answers because they are the ones who are accountable for security, explains Simpson. But, he adds, it is the frontline IT workers who are tasked with executing the CISO's security strategy, yet are not given the credibility that they deserve.

"Companies will sometimes look to consultants to help with vulnerability assessments, but sometimes it's these employees who know because they see it day in and day out," observes Simpson.

Crafting Solutions

Over the next 12 months, 50% of survey respondents say their organizations will likely spend the same amount on security training as in past years. However, 33% of survey respondents say they anticipate an increase in security training, according to ISC(2)'s report.

"Things can't remain status quo," Simpson says. "Status quo is actually falling behind because new vulnerabilities are being created every day by the bad guys, and our security posture has to advance to keep pace."

A recent survey by Dimensional Research found companies are filling the cybersecurity skills gap with non-security professionals.

In a survey of 315 IT security professionals, 20% of survey participants say their organizations have hired non-security experts over the past two years to fill the cybersecurity skills gap. Seventeen percent of survey respondents, meanwhile, plan to continue this practice of hiring non-cybersecurity experts over the next two years, according to the survey, which was sponsored by Tripwire.

Fifty percent of Dimensional's survey respondents say their companies plan to increase security training with existing staff as a means to offset the security skills shortage.

Steps to Transform IT Workers to InfoSec Workers

The first step in selecting potential employees for the transition to IT security is to consider their interests, says Kimberly Mahan, CEO of Maxx Potential, an IT training and outsourcing company.

"We look at (apprentice trainees) and how much they are into security. Do they go home and research it? Do they want to learn more about it? Do they enjoy problem-solving enough to push through the concepts?" Mahan says.

Once it's clear an IT worker has an interest in security, Mahan's firm runs them through hardware and software exercises, as well as a mini capture-the-flag exercise.

"They can say they want to be a security professional, but it's not good unless they understand things like software development," says Mahan.

After getting a base read on an IT worker's skill set, Mahan teams the apprentice with a technical advisor to work on security projects together to develop "real-world" experience.

"Some apprentices take three or four years to make the transition to security and others take a year," she says. "This is more of an immersion approach and it adds value as quickly as possible."

Related Content:

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
8 Ways Hackers Monetize Stolen Data
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  4/17/2018
Securing Social Media: National Safety, Privacy Concerns
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/19/2018
Firms More Likely to Tempt Security Pros With Big Salaries than Invest in Training
Sara Peters, Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  4/19/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How to Cope with the IT Security Skills Shortage
Most enterprises don't have all the in-house skills they need to meet the rising threat from online attackers. Here are some tips on ways to beat the shortage.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.