Inside the Cybersecurity Job Rush

There’s a reverse kind of labor crisis going down in cybersecurity.

In recent years, a profound uptick in data breaches has created a sprawling need for new enterprise-security roles. According to a CSO story(penned by Cybersecurity Ventures’ CEO Steve Morgan), there have been one million security-job openings this year, a number they expect to grow to one-and-a-half million (or six million globally) by 2019.

The good news—for security professionals—is that unemployment in this field has reportedly dropped to zero percent. Companies, however, must weather the bad news. This swelling demand exposes a dire need for more security professionals. It highlights the necessity for prospects with skill sets that have evolved with threats. And it has dramatically inflated salaries. (According to a May 2015 report from DICE, a tech-career site, a lead software-security engineer pulls in an average of $233K per year, compared to a CSO’s $225K.)

"This swelling demand …highlights the necessity for prospects with skill sets that have evolved with threats."

“The talent shortfall is a known quantity, but the solution to this crisis is unclear,” writes GCN, “During the 1960s, there was a push to connect computer systems. Concerns that were raised about security and data protection were brushed aside to expedite connectivity. This same focus continues today: Ease of connectivity first, security second.” The publication suggests finding employees with a foundation in the “appreciation of human nature and user behavior to better understand how preventable breaches such as email phishing attacks infiltrate networks.”

We’ll take that logic one step further. What if companies stopped asking, “How do we teach employees to keep up with the shapeshifting nature of breaches?” and instead optimize current investments with a sophisticated behavioral-analytics platform? It’s relatively easy to train employees to use a machine-learning solution, which evolves by itself, while eliminating human error.

Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that companies will spend a total of $1 trillion globally on security, from 2017 to 2021. And it’s only a matter of time before boardroom strategies shift towards proactively getting the biggest return out of these massive security investments.