I am in San Francisco this week for the annual security event, RSA Conference. This year, aside from the normal discussions about attacks and defense techniques and technology, the industry has returned again to a topic close to my heart: Skills training and recruitment.
As we see the security threat grow, anyone that runs a security team or a company creating technology like I do at Mimecast, is acutely aware of the pressure to recruit the talent you need to keep up.
One of the speakers at the conference speculated that while we are worried today about the thousands of unfilled vacancies we see in the industry this will be dwarfed quickly by a predicted global shortage by 2020 in the millions.
So what can we do?
First, we can use technology to better automate security activity. Reduce the burden of more simple security tasks that require people right now.
But I think the real requirement is to motivate and inspire young people in particular about the opportunity to make a real difference to their community (global, national and local) through a career in IT security.
The world’s economy and public services now rely on technology. In many ways you could say it is data that makes the world go round not money.
Protecting the technology, data and services of the world’s organizations is vital work. Inspiring work. An important public service even.
The damage both economic and social that cyber-attacks cause is substantial. We have all read the headlines and with each year, the stories seem more stark and worrying. Attacks on critical infrastructure like electricity grids as seen in Ukraine last year. The theft of personal data from healthcare providers. The extortion of critical funds from public and private organizations who have become the victim of whaling or ransomware attacks. All of these seem to be daily events now.
So, as young people in particular start out in work and are looking at their options to make a difference in the world, we need to tell them how a career in IT security ranks alongside other inspiring professions of vital public service like healthcare, law enforcement and education.
Money and training will only go so far in tackling our recruitment challenge – tomorrow’s workforce want and deserve more than that. They want to make a difference and for those with the necessary skills, a career in IT security gives them just the opportunity they are looking for. We just need to tell more of them about it in those inspiring terms.