Four Strategies to Deal with the Cyber Security Skills Deficit

Cyber security is an evolving field due to the many new risks presented by mobile devices, cloud-connected apps, and more sophisticated botnets. Many IT organizations are finding it difficult to keep up with these new challenges.
According to the ISACA “State of Cyber Security 2017”, 55 percent of organizations take at least three months to fill a vacant cyber security position. This is possibly due to the ongoing struggle of companies to keep up their staffing requirements. The current situation as described by ISACA raises the question: What can IT departments do today to protect themselves from today’s threats and vulnerabilities? Here are four areas you should focus on:
1. Make the most of machine learning and other forms automation
It is tempting to delegate more tasks to machines, as experienced workers are often scarce. Although we are still years away from fully automated solutions that can be as reliable as human-supervised ones in the future, there have been important advances in areas like analyzing large sets of unstructured data.
IBM, for example, has tested its Watson artificial Intelligence solutions – originally designed to compete in “Jeopardy!” According to TechCrunch, – as a cybersecurity tool. It may be especially adept at analysing numerous cybersecurity documents to understand threats and detect them.
This information is used to supplement routine network traffic and endpoint readings to provide a complete picture of a company’s cybersecurity posture. Be alert for false positives and ensure that your team has final say on all critical defense decisions.
2. Always keep your computer’s operating system up-to-date
Many dot-releases are security patches that fix vulnerabilities. These updates are vital for protecting your identity and data, even though they don’t have a lot of new features as one would expect from a version upgrade from 9.0 to 10.0.0. These updates are low-hanging security fruits that help to strengthen an IT department’s defenses, and prevent serious problems from spiraling out of control.
Older operating systems are often less secure than the newer ones. Microsoft Windows XP is an example of this. It has been in widespread use for over a decade, even after its 2001 release. Its popularity has created many problems for enterprises, especially when it comes to embedded systems like the software in bank ATMs.
Microsoft recently announced that it will cease supporting Windows 7 in January 2020. This is to prevent something similar from happening with Windows 7. Microsoft cited security concerns as the reason for discontinuing support for Windows 7, which was released in 2009.
3. Invest in staff retention and training
The ISACA survey found that IT certification is an essential part of modern IT work. Certification in a specific field such as Linux, cyber security, or networking is more than a mark of distinction. It requires real work in setting-up, configuring, and troubleshooting hardware and software with the goal to understand their vulnerabilities.
Training and certification can help tangential (to security) IT staff, such as network engineers, become more involved in protecting data and devices. When new staffing is scarce, it is often a smart decision to invest in existing staff. Cybersecurity is a company-wide endeavor, which makes skills development and education essential ongoing tasks.
“Having certification is an essential part of modern IT work.”
4. Keep up-to-date with the latest threats
Computer viruses are no longer a major concern. Although viruses are still a concern, there are many other concerns, such as ransomware, distributed denial-of service attacks that break records, and exploits within Internet of Things.
A group of security researchers discovered that Linux malware has become more sophisticated and prevalent between October 2016 and January 2017. While some of the most advanced threats may not directly affect your organization’s systems, it is worth learning about the wider security world.
This knowledge will allow you to make informed decisions about software and personnel. You can reduce your risk exposure and put more effort into improving your operations.
What are the next steps for an IT worker who is interested in cyber security?
A cyber security certification is a great first step for anyone looking for more opportunities in IT. New Horizons Learning Group will provide you with the training and knowledge that you need to stand out from the crowd. Come join us at one of the 10 locations in Arizona, California, or Nevada.
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