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How to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap and Equip Your Workforce

StartUp Growth Guide Staff

StartUp Growth Guide Staff

Cybersecurity skills gap

The depth of the talent shortage in the cybersecurity industry is so vast that even though the global workforce grew by 12.6% between 2022 and 2023, four million cybersecurity workers are still needed worldwide to close the gap, according to the World Economic Forum.


At the same time, cyberattacks are becoming more frequent, sophisticated, and damaging.

Many businesses will record huge losses without adequate talent to bolster their defenses, and small businesses will suffer disproportionately.

According to Fortinet’s 2023 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Global Research Report, the number of organizations confirming five or more breaches in 2022 increased by a massive 53%.

What more? Many industry professionals believe that the attacks will increase.

They are not unnecessarily pessimistic, though; the facts present a stark situation.

As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your company is adequately staffed; hence in this article, we’ll look at five different areas of priority you should pay attention to if you want to close your organization’s cybersecurity skills gap and equip your workforce.

Identify Needs

The first step in addressing your company’s cybersecurity skills gap is thoroughly analyzing your current cybersecurity status and future requirements based on your market, business structure, industry, and government regulations.

This involves conducting a comprehensive analysis of the existing workforce, evaluating their skill sets, and noting areas where gaps and deficiencies exist. This information is essential because part of what determines your organization’s risk profile is the standing of your cybersecurity workforce.

By identifying specific strengths and weaknesses, you can prioritize the areas requiring immediate attention and gear your recruitment strategy toward those areas. Don’t forget that the whole point of identifying needs is to future-proof your organization.

So, don’t just focus on the skills you need now; instead, focus mainly on the skills you need three, five, or ten years from now.


Broaden the Talent Pool

Traditionally, cybersecurity roles have attracted candidates with a strong computer science background. However, given the current talent shortage, holding on too tightly to such a requirement might unnecessarily lengthen the recruitment timeframe.

Instead, look towards veterans transitioning from other IT fields or recent non-computer science graduates with strong technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

These individuals may come from fields such as mathematics, physics, or even liberal arts; what matters is that they possess transferable skills and a passion for learning and ensure that you provide opportunities for internal training and certification programs.

Cybersecurity requires many skills, and individuals from different backgrounds can bring unique perspectives and problem-solving approaches.

Upskill and Reskill

The cybersecurity landscape constantly evolves. Hence, you may experience cracks in your workforce because your staff hasn’t gotten skilled quickly, not because you have not employed enough people.

Therefore, investing in the professional development of existing employees is not only a strategy to close your cybersecurity skills gap but also guarantees your company a continued secure posture.

You can significantly bolster your resilience by ensuring your team stays current with the newest threats, attack vectors, defensive tools, and emerging technologies.


This can involve providing training programs, paying for certifications, facilitating hands-on experience through simulations or real-world scenarios, and so on.

In fact, before kickstarting any cybersecurity team recruitment, ensure that your current team is sufficiently skilled.

Sometimes, the answer to a skills gap is not recruiting new individuals but looking inward and helping in-house talents hone their abilities more effectively.

Foster Partnerships

If you struggle to attract new talent, you should expand your strategy beyond recruitment platforms.

Partnering with universities, colleges, technical training providers, industry associations, and the like to develop targeted cybersecurity curriculums can help you guarantee a pipeline of graduates with the specific skills your organization needs.

You can co-create classes, offer guest lectures, or even provide scholarships to attract promising students. You can also establish partnerships to allow cybersecurity students to enroll in apprenticeship programs at your organization.

Such students gain practical experience and exposure to real-world challenges, and since you are evaluating them by yourself, you get to retain those who are identified as top talents.

Attract New Talent

Due to the cybersecurity talent shortage, the market for cybersecurity professionals is hot. So, it would be best if you made compelling offers to attract even junior talents.

For one, your compensation package must be competitive and attractive, including health insurance, flexible work arrangements, relocation assistance if necessary, stock options, paid time off, etc.

More so, there should be generous opportunities for continuous learning and career development. So, offer guarantees to sponsor team members for industry certifications, conferences, etc.

In addition, don’t forget the work culture. It should foster a sense of purpose and create a positive atmosphere; no one wants to be around toxicity.

Once you have these locked down, look towards career fairs, hackathons, coding competitions, and other industry events to identify and recruit promising individuals with a passion for cybersecurity.


Take Action to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Take the cybersecurity skills gap as an urgent call to action. The statistics are clear: the deficit in qualified cybersecurity professionals leaves your systems exposed and vulnerable.

However, you can remedy the situation by taking action quickly and making serious commitments to close the gap in your company.

To learn more about bolstering your cybersecurity defenses or even general business advice, follow StartUp Growth Guide on all platforms and stay glued to the blog for new, relevant information.

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