In today’s world, organizations are constantly on the verge of getting attacked by cybercriminals. Attackers don’t care about their target’s size, location, or industry. The latest Verizon Data Breach Report statistics reveal that 43% of attacks target small businesses.  

We have seen confidential information from thousands of people exposed, municipalities all around the country falling victim to ransomware, and major data breaches across all sectors of the economy. As daily occurrences demonstrate the risk posed by crafty attackers, from individual, malicious hackers, to professional and organized groups of cybercriminals, boards of directors must ensure the organization understands the cyber risks they are facing and how to respond.

Cybersecurity is no longer “the IT department’s problem.” It is a business issue. If you want your organization to be prepared to manage your cyber risks effectively, then you need to put in place the proper governance and supporting processes, along with the right enabling technology and a diverse workforce. 

Business leaders commonly believe that “we are safe as long as we invest in best-in-class security tools.” But the reality is that effective cybersecurity is less dependent on technology and more dependent on humans using it. The adage “People, Process, and Technology” holds as true today as it ever has… People are #1. 

Overcoming the Challenge of Hiring Cybersecurity Professionals 

While having the best tools is essential for basic security, this is not the most important piece of a comprehensive, robust cybersecurity strategy. A solid program starts with developing a diverse, talented line of cyber defense. You guessed it! We are talking about humans.  

The human factor remains the weakest link.

Once an organization understands the need to hire experts to take care of their cybersecurity plans and policies, they face a new challenge: finding the right candidate! Cybersecurity is a field that has around 600,000 vacancies in the United States, too many for too few candidates.  

It’s so hard to find the right person for this role that, according to ISACA, 55% of organizations take up to 3 to 6 months to fill a cybersecurity vacancy, while 30% claim they cannot fill their vacant positions.  

CyberWarrior Academy has tips to improve your odds of success: 

  1. Take time to understand business needs and what defines the right candidate fully. Organizations struggle to find talent because they aren’t clear in the job description about the responsibilities and goals of the role. It is recommended to consult the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework as a starting point to identify which exact Cybersecurity role you are looking for.  
  1. Offer career growth opportunities to attract and retain talent. You want people who aspire to keep growing, improve their knowledge and skills, and have a burning desire to change their lives and that of their extended family. Offer them a clear growth path with defined metrics and goals so both parties know what they are up to and when someone is ready to move to the next level.  
  1. Incorporate cybersecurity experts in your organization’s decision-making process. When hiring someone for a cybersecurity job, you first need to recognize that they are there to help your organization mitigate risks. You need to set their expectations and responsibilities in the hiring process. Let them know they will be an important contributor to the senior leadership team – it will create greater engagement and loyalty to the business. 
  1. Offer continuous training. Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and attackers are developing new and more sophisticated ways to penetrate organizations’ security around the globe. As a leader, it’s in your best interest to have staff fully aware of new risks and how to mitigate them. Offer them continuous training to update their skills and knowledge. CISA explains that it’s common for employers to sponsor their employees in pursuing advanced degrees and industry certifications. “Accepting an entry-level position and gaining practical work experience while earning additional credentials is a win-win for both sides. The individual is paying little to enhance their qualifications, while the organization is investing in skill strengthening of its human capital.”  
  1. Consider an attractive compensation package. In a field with this level of competition, companies must offer a very attractive compensation package to retain the employees they fought so hard to find. When developing cybersecurity compensation plans, remember that it’s not only about monthly salaries but other benefits such as attending conferences, local networking events, and a bonus schedule. 

A key element of your cybersecurity strategy is understanding that even the most sophisticated tools won’t work if you don’t have a team trained to use them. The human factor is the most critical piece of success in this field. Moreover, consider the value and impact of hiring diverse candidates to fill the vacancy in your organization. The cybersecurity workforce gap is big, and there are large groups of underemployed individuals with a lot to offer.