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Unraveling the Cyber Skills Gap

Cybrary's Kathie Miley and Researcher Wade Baker on How to Grow Talent
Unraveling the Cyber Skills Gap
Cyentia's Wade Baker and Cybrary's Kathie Miley

Two out of three organizations say that finding qualified cybersecurity professionals is a struggle, a new study shows. And 80 percent of respondents do not feel adequately prepared to defend their organizations. Kathie Miley of Cybrary and Wade Baker of Cyentia Institute discuss how to bridge the cyber skills gap in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

Among the other key findings of the new report, Cybrary Declassified: Unraveling the Cyber Skills Gap and Talent Shortage, prepared by Cybrary and Cyentia, are:

  • 68 percent of survey respondents express doubts about their organization's readiness to thwart advanced threats;
  • Half pay for their own training; only 15 percent say employers cover all training expenses.

These findings, the survey administrators say, offer the latest glimpse into a cybersecurity staffing crisis that leaders have been fretting over for a decade now.

For Baker, who for years was a lead researcher and writer of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, the eye-opener is that the skills gap is not just about a lack of new talent in the field.

"Even though I've spent a lot of time [investigating breaches], you can quickly fall behind, and that concerns me," says Baker, co-founder of Cynentia, a research firm. "We've already got a shortage - so we need more people in the field. And at the same time, the people in the field - if they're not careful - can become part of that skills gap as well."

For Miley, COO of Cybrary, a startup organization that offers a crowd-sourced cyber education platform, a key takeaway is that cybersecurity needs to be more ingrained in organizations' culture. "Cyber cannot just be a few elite folks who've migrated over from IT and who know what they're doing," she says. "Cyber has to be everybody in the company being aware of what their personal responsibilities are."

In an interview about how to put this new report to use, Miley and Baker discuss:

  • Key findings from the study - and what surprised them;
  • How the skills gap impacts organizations' breach respond capabilities;
  • How to stop just talking about the skills gap and actually do something about it.

In addition to his role with the Cyentia Institute, Baker is a professor at Virginia Tech's College of Business for the MBA and Master of IT programs. He serves on the advisory boards of the RSA Conference and FAIR Institute. Prior to founding Cyentia, he was the vice president of strategy and analytics at ThreatConnect and led Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report team for a number of years.

Miley, who has 25 years of experience in the information technology and security field, is COO at Cybrary Inc., an open source platform for cyber security and IT learning. She previously worked at Invincea, RiskAnalytics, Predictive Systems Global Integrity division, NetSec, MCI, Verizon's Enterprise Solutions, CyberTrust and Terremark.

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