How can we solve the cyber skills shortage?

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With high-profile data breaches being reported on an almost weekly basis, ensuring strong cybersecurity has become an essential business priority today. A single incident can cost an organisation tens of millions of pounds through disrupted operations, lost business, reputational damage, and fines from the EU GDPR and other regulations.

Handling the threat posed by the increasing volume and sophistication of cyberattacks requires experienced and skilled security personnel, from frontline analysts to senior managers. However, a severe global skills gap in the cybersecurity industry means that most organisations are struggling to access the practitioners they need to defend against attacks.

The struggle to recruit security specialists

Research conducted by Raytheon for the 2019 Cybersecurity Training Report found that an alarming 45 percent of organisations feel they lack the skills required to navigate today’s cybersecurity landscape.

The shortage has resulted in mounting competition for qualified practitioners and has given rise to rapidly skyrocketing wages. Research from cyber recruiter Acumin found that average salaries in the security sector increased 6.3 percent over the last year, more than doubling the national average. Particularly coveted roles, such as the increasingly important security education awareness managers, saw average salaries rise by 20 percent.

As a result, recruiting and retaining security personnel has become increasingly challenging, time consuming, and expensive and thousands of businesses are stuck with security positions they cannot fill for months or even years. Without the right staff, organisations are left more exposed to the risk of a serious security incident as they struggle to keep on top of security activity, whether it’s dealing with a live cyberattack, improving the workforce’s security awareness or simply ensuring routine activity such as patching is completed.

However, organisations do not have to continue battling the ultra-competitive security job market to access the skilled personnel they need to survive today’s hostile cyber landscape. Instead, they can grow their security capabilities by training their own in-house cybersecurity apprentices.

Growing in-house security skills

Cybersecurity apprenticeships run by Raytheon Professional Services enable organisations to access a pool of talented and highly motivated aspiring security practitioners at a far lower cost than the increasingly inflated salaries created by the market. Funding through the government’s Apprenticeship Levy means apprentices offer even greater value to businesses.

Candidates are able to immediately enter the workplace and get involved in the practical work of cyber security, combining on-the-job training with off-site academic courses. After two years, successful candidates will join the workforce as fully qualified and certified professionals, armed with a high level of practical experience.

RPS is imminently launching a dedicated cybersecurity apprenticeship scheme, drawing on decades of experience in providing industry-leading apprenticeships in fields like automotive, combined with our depth of expertise in the cyber and defence sectors.

Watch this space for more information on how we can help your organisation access and grow the best and brightest new cybersecurity talent without the increasing costs demanded by the cyber job market.

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