When we look back at 2020, we can summarize it in one phrase: Remote work revolution. This year we’ve seen a “new normal” takes place. We shop, socialize, study, and work differently. We were used to spending 8 or 10 hours a day in the office, where the internet connection, systems, and software have passed a series of security actions that made it harder (though clearly not hard enough) for hackers to penetrate. Now we are working from home with many fewer cybersecurity best practices being followed. That represents a high-security risk for organizations, and the need to fill cybersecurity jobs is even higher.
COVID-19 and the newfound remote workforce have introduced a rise in cyber-attacks. Companies of all sizes and the federal government and organizations across the NGO community are scrambling for ways to protect their data and even their reputation. Clearly, hundreds of organizations are looking to hire additional cybersecurity professionals trained to meet this new cyber threat. This is on top of an already significant existing demand for cybersecurity talent.
The challenge is that the amount of talent necessary to fill the current cybersecurity jobs does not exist.
To give you a better idea of the cybersecurity threat level over the past year, in August, the FBI reported an increase of 400% on the daily average reports of cyberattacks, meaning that there were over 4,000 reported attacks on an average day just in the United States. Microsoft revealed that COVID-19 themed phishing and social engineering attacks had spiked 50% from 20,000 to 30,000 per day in the country. Hackers are taking advantage of people using insecure connections to break into an organization’s IT infrastructure.
Just this week, the news reported a cyber-attack at SolarWinds, an IT software management firm and service provider. The attack compromised different US government departments and agencies as well as private companies, including Microsoft.
The past few months clearly demonstrate that cybercriminals outnumber cybersecurity professionals. In fact, ISC2 reported that by 2019 2.8 million professionals were working in the field, leaving a talent gap of four million. COVID-19 hit the world hard on so many horrific levels. Organizations are prioritizing their security needs and looking for candidates to defend them properly.
If you are considering a career switch or just starting your career in cybersecurity jobs, there isn’t be a better time to do it. In the United States, the estimated employed cybersecurity workforce is 941,904, and there are over 521,600 job openings. That is an eye-popping number of job openings that must be filled sooner rather than later.
The states that have the most job openings are California (+66,700), Virginia (+58,600), Texas (+47,200), Florida (+23,700) and New York (+23,200). Organizations are mainly looking for candidates to fill positions as information security analysts, cybersecurity analysts, and engineers. This means only one thing: companies are looking to hire talent to help create a more secure work environment and protect themselves from any possible cyber-attack and data breaches. We need the talent to fill this demand.
In the cybersecurity field, hiring is a challenge because of this talent gap. Businesses in all sectors are closing or laying off employees, so more cyber workers have become available to get the necessary training that has significant job security. Not only are the jobs there, but they can also potentially be remote, so workers can often have options for where they choose to live.
Statistics don’t lie. There is a demand for cybersecurity professionals, and there are record numbers of people out of work. That is a formula that can help with cyber defenses and with family economic stability.