Help wanted: Chief Information Security Officers

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Today’s current cybersecurity demands pose a classic economics quandary.

Rising cybersecurity threats mean demand for cybersecurity professionals is surging. At the same time, a dearth of such professionals — plus a hot job market overall — means supply is scarce. You know what that means: dollar signs.

Fortunately, there are solutions — and cost-effective ones at that. But first, let’s consider the full magnitude of the situation.

A stark picture

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists information security analysts among the professions projected to see the high  growth rates between 2020 and 2030, increasing by a third. The job also had the second-highest median salary for 2021 among the 20 fastest-growing professions in the report, second only to nurse practitioners. 

The gap will likely continue growing, given the rising numbers of cybersecurity incidents and government and customer scrutiny. We’ve broached these subjects from various angles on our blog; a recent rundown by Forbes included a study showing that businesses faced 50 percent more cyberattack attempts each week in 2021 compared with the prior year. These aren’t simply “scare tactic” statistics, it’s the reality that organizations of all shape and size face in today’s world.

Indeed, there are nearly 715,000 cybersecurity job openings nationally, according to CyberSeek, a firm tracking cybersecurity job market stats. That’s particularly startling given that fewer than 1.1 million workers are currently employed in the field. States such as Colorado, California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, and New York have the largest number of cybersecurity job openings.

And general cybersecurity help may not be enough. Often, what businesses need is a true cybersecurity executive, an experienced professional to focus on initiatives that “move the needle” in the most effective manner, reducing your risk and attack surface is critical in avoiding a cybersecurity incident.

According to Gartner,  the lack of a dedicated Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to clearly define a cybersecurity plan increases risks, including wasting money on the wrong cybersecurity solutions.

This is a particular challenge for mid-size enterprises, 60 percent of whom, Gartner says, do not have a CISO. No CISO often means no concrete cybersecurity plan, putting cybersecurity under the “oversight” of employees who may not have the background – or time – to fully support the effort.

But there’s hope

Knowing that businesses require wise use of limited funds, we often suggest they explore a hybrid: the Virtual CISO. 

Basically, this option gets you C-level expertise without the matching salary. It’s great for businesses that may not yet be large enough to require (or afford) a full-time CISO but still want the sophisticated protection that comes from a true expert in the field. 

This fractional option also can offer more robust options than the tight job market is likely to yield. For example, Digital Silence’s Virtual CISO service provides access to professionals who not only are cybersecurity executives but who also have experience in a particular industry. Our industry areas span financial services, credit unions, government supply chain (CMMC), manufacturing, healthcare, media & entertainment, mortgage lending, and more.

Some businesses don’t realize that access to a true expert actually reduces long-term costs, improves cybersecurity outcomes and decreases the risk of potentially disruptive turnover plaguing today’s employers. (There’s a CISO burnout problem today, too.)

Read more about our virtual CISO services here.

If a virtual CISO isn’t the right fit now, Digital Silence also offers other advisory services and other assistance that can be tailored to a specific company’s resources and needs.

Though the landscape looks dreary, creative solutions can help businesses get the cybersecurity protection they so desperately need. As a boutique firm, Digital Silence strives to provide a world-class client experience — prioritizing listening, explaining in clear language, and addressing cybersecurity threats in ways that align with the client’s business priorities.

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