How cyber skills shortages are leaving businesses vulnerable post-attack

How cyber skills shortages are leaving businesses vulnerable post-attack

Cyber security is as different as night and day from what it was a few years ago.

From artificial intelligence and machine learning to behavioral biometrics, blockchain, and IoT security, we are witnessing a boom in industry innovation as technologies evolve and combat cyber threats.

The dial is undoubtedly moving in the right direction. However, this step change also means the gap between organizations at the forefront of industry progress and those lagging is widening.

Few firms are truly at the leading edge of cybersecurity technology right now. While some invest extensively, others are battling to get to the basics.

Critically, the effective use of technologies depends on certain skillsets – an area in which many firms struggle. According to the (ISC)2 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the global cybersecurity workforce gap has increased by 26.2% in 2022, with an estimated shortage of 3.4 million security professionals.

Within this context, too many organizations simply lack the knowledge and know-how to implement modern security solutions, and that’s a problem. Indeed, Fortinet’s 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Research Report reveals that four in five organizations have experienced at least one breach that could otherwise have been avoided with better cybersecurity skills.

Costs and security at odds in 2023

We’re currently experiencing a period of economic downturn – for many firms, cyber security budgets are tight, and risks are heightened. The competition for cyber talent is also fierce, with qualified specialists able to command extremely high salaries and costs that smaller organizations with limited finances simply can’t afford.

With the perception that progressive cyber security is ultimately too expensive, many business leaders attempt to plug cyber skills, knowledge, and solutions gaps themselves. This is an approach that rarely provides optimal protection, leaving firms exposed to potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities being exploited.

The consequences of a cyber-attack today can be immense. As well as reputational damage, legal issues, and loss of customer trust, IBM revealed that the global average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million, a figure large enough to decimate any organization overnight.

So, what exactly is the answer? How can firms with limited finances and resources work to overcome cyber security skills shortages and better protect themselves from many modern threats?

MDR explained

At present, the sole security focus of many firms is preventing threat actors from targeting critical systems and data in the first instance.

This is, of course, important. Yet it is just one piece of a much broader security puzzle. When this first line of defense fails, too many organizations are not equipped to respond.

Instead, organizations need a more comprehensive selection of security solutions that are effective peri-incident and able to detect, analyze and respond to threats that have bypassed preventative controls.

Enter Managed Detection and Response (MDR) – a selection of services beyond traditional security monitoring and threat detection, providing rapid response and containment of threats that have overcome the first line of defense across networks, endpoints, and the cloud.

Richard Ford, CTO at Integrity360According to a recent Twitter poll by Integrity360, 29% of firms agree that MDR should be prioritized, highlighting that they will allocate the most cyber security budget to managed security. The study also shows that organizations already utilizing MDR services have a 62% reduction in the average number of security incidents annually.

This is no coincidence. MDR ticks all the key boxes of modern security requirements, delivering real-time threat detection, proactive threat hunting, incident containment and response, security incident analysis and threat intelligence, compliance reporting, and 24/7 monitoring.

Bridging the cyber skills gap

The key here is the ability of organizations to work with external specialists.

Indeed, outsourcing MDR services can be a cost-effective and flexible option. Organizations don’t have to purchase expensive software or tools, while service providers can afford to continually invest in enhancing their security offerings due to the economies of scale they achieve from delivering services to many customers.

Outsourcing is an avenue that enterprises are increasingly exploring. Indeed, four in 10 (40%) believe cyber security testing is best outsourced over handling in-house, while more than a third (35%) feel a service provider is better placed to manage cloud computing security.

On the flip side, in-house approaches may also require improvement. Almost a third (31%) of respondents to our poll said their firms allocate 30% of their cyber security budgets to tools and solutions that are not used to their full potential.

Also Read: Top Vulnerability Management Trends Shaping the Cybersecurity in 2023

Organizations are visibly assessing the value and efficiency of their security solutions, with many recognizing the merits of investing money and trust in service providers. Indeed, as cyber threats evolve in frequency, sophistication, and efficacy, companies must roll out a comprehensive service to meet their security needs. And that’s where MDR comes in.

Having recently been named as a Representative Vendor in the 2023 Gartner Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services, we understand the deep technical expertise and innovative technologies that MDRs can use to help companies to secure their operations while serving as an extension of their team.

In leveraging the latest threat intelligence and state-of-the-art solutions to deliver security services, new threat actor Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) spanning networks, endpoints, servers, and the cloud can be identified, managed, and mitigated, thus transforming enterprise security.

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