4 Ways Security Leaders Can Develop their Team’s Cyber Skills

4 Ways Security Leaders Can Develop their Teams Cyber Skills-01

Building cyber skills is a journey, not a destination, that includes evaluation, real-world training, and testing. Professional development must be prioritized by organizations, and time must be set aside for it.

The never-ending cat-and-mouse game between attackers and defenders is putting pressure on security teams of all sizes to keep improving their expertise. Meanwhile, the scarcity of skilled security professionals, as well as the fierce competition for them, makes finding new employees extremely challenging. Internal resource development is frequently a better option.

Irrespective of the maturity level of the security team, security leaders can improve their cyber-defense readiness across the board by following this four-step process, which includes assessment and continuous skill development.

Also Read: Cross-Team Security Initiatives: Seven Ways to Ensure Success


Security leaders should start by challenging security professionals with exercises that force them to take action or complete a task, rather than simply asking them to answer multiple choice questions, in order to develop a useful assessment.

People must be put in situations that require them to think and act rather than simply guess, and that allow managers to assess the participants’ ability to make difficult decisions. The evaluation tools should not provide any hints, but rather push users to reveal whether or not they have any knowledge of the subject matter.

The evaluation should not be based on a pass/fail mindset, but rather be nuanced, stressing that various people have varying levels of understanding about a subject. Some people, for example, can complete the first few steps of a challenge but become stuck in the middle or near the conclusion. Remember that the goal of the evaluation is to evaluate rather than to pass or fail the participants.

Fill the Skills Gap

The best place to start is with the fundamental skills required for various topics. For example, when it comes to detecting ransomware, security leaders should start by laying out the common symptoms of ransomware and looking at the artifacts left behind after an attack.

They should then broaden their understanding by looking at specific types of ransomware, noticing any similarities between them while also encouraging critical thinking to discern unique strains.

The strategy should be to teach employees the fundamentals of ransomware and then lead them through guided exercises that improve on their knowledge. The idea is to gradually teach people on highly advanced topics including new issues with no patterns or established norms. This will aid in the development of expertise, allowing employees to spot new infections that they have never seen before.

Also Read: How Enterprises Can Attract and Retain Hard-to-Find Cybersecurity Talent

Validating the Progress

Individuals are placed in team exercises where they must respond to a live threat in a real-world or realistic circumstance. Identifying, responding to, and, when possible, minimizing a threat are all part of it. At the absolute least, the team should be in charge of offering advice for mitigation.

Because employees are continually dealing with others in the real world, the team aspect is critical. This entails working with colleagues with varying skill levels, as well as team members who may make mistakes under duress.

Learners should ideally be placed in a situation that allows evaluators to examine how they react in a stressful situation. Technical capability and the ability to work in a team should be the focus of the evaluation.

Continuous Development

The core idea is that individuals and groups must constantly refine, develop, and validate their skills.

To do this, leaders should assess their team’s defense readiness by observing how it performs in exercises containing threats of varying sophistication. They can also use an index or metric to measure and rate where learners are in terms of their skill set so that they can continue to move them up the ladder.

The Way Forward

Because everyone is busy, finding time to acquire cyber skills is definitely the most difficult task. Team members, however, must constantly improve in order to stay up with new threats. Professional development must be prioritized by organizations, and time must be set aside for it.

Most security leaders often struggle to set up and develop training programs. When establishing a training curriculum, however, external resources are a good place to start.

Training materials should be difficult and relevant, with hands-on exercises and the use of real tools. Although blog postings, seminars, and articles are helpful, the best approach to learn new skills is to get hands-on experience.

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