Cybersecurity Labor Shortage Intensifies. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2017-2018

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021

The Cybersecurity Jobs Report is sponsored by Herjavec Group, a leading global information security advisory firm and Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) with offices across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Download a PDF version of the report.

Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief

Menlo Park, Calif. – May 31, 2017

Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2019-2020

Cybersecurity Ventures has reviewed and synthesized dozens of employment figures from the media, analysts, job boards, vendors, governments, and organizations globally, in order to estimate the number of cybersecurity job openings over the next 5 years.

We predict there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021.

The cybersecurity jobs forecasts have been unable to keep pace with the dramatic rise in cybercrime, which is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

The 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report ventured what became a widely popular cybersecurity jobs forecast over the past 3 years, originally stating “It’s estimated that by 2014, the industry will still be short more than a million security professionals across the globe.”

In 2015, Symantec expected the demand for cybersecurity talent would rise to 6 million globally by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million.

A 2016 skills gap analysis from ISACA estimated a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019 (a half-million more than Symantec’s prior estimate), according to the UK House of Lords Digital Skills Committee. 

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) recently estimated that India alone will need 1 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020 to meet the demands of its rapidly growing economy.

Demand for security professionals in India will increase in all sectors due to the unprecedented rise in the number of cyberattacks, according to NASSCOM. Despite having the largest information technology talent pool in the world, India is highly unlikely to produce an adequate number of professionals to close the cybersecurity skills gap.

Israel — the world’s second largest exporter of cybersecurity technology behind the U.S. — leads employer demand for cybersecurity talent by a wide margin, according to a 2016 report from Indeed, one of the world’s largest job sites, with over 200 million unique visitors every month from over 60 different countries.

An Indeed blog states that Israel’s strong showing is likely due in part to the emphasis the country places upon security. Veterans of the IDF’s (Israel Defense Forces) elite cybersecurity Unit 8200 have founded many cybersecurity firms valued at hundreds of millions of dollars (or billions, according to other sources).

Intel Corp. conducted an eight-nation (Israel, the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and Mexico) survey on cybersecurity which concluded a global shortage of cybersecurity professionals in each country. In Israel 80 percent of those interviewed reported a shortage of workers.

In 2017 the U.S. employs nearly 780,000 people in cybersecurity positions, with approximately 350,000 current cybersecurity openings, according to CyberSeek, a project supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The current number of U.S. cybersecurity job openings is up from 209,000 in 2015. At that time, job postings were already up 74 percent over the previous five years, according to a Peninsula Press analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Europe faces a projected cybersecurity skills gap of 350,000 workers by 2022, according to a survey by information security certification body (ISC)2.

Australia has been hit harder than any other country by the cybersecurity skills shortage, according to a story in CIO (from IDG) which states that 88 percent of Aussie IT decision makers believe there is a shortage of cyber security skills both in their organization and within the nation.

Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at Herjavec Group , a Managed Security Services Provider with offices and SOCs (Security Operations Centers) globally, says, ”Unfortunately the pipeline of security talent isn’t where it needs to be to help curb the cybercrime epidemic. Until we can rectify the quality of education and training that our new cyber experts receive, we will continue to be outpaced by the Black Hats.”

Every IT position is also a cybersecurity position now. Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people. The cybersecurity workforce shortage is even worse than what the jobs numbers suggest.

“I highly recommend pursuing your education in information technology or computer science” says Herjavec, directing his comments at IT workers and new entrants to the field — including college graduates. “There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cybersecurity and the opportunities in this field are endless. Gone are the days of siloed IT and security teams. All IT professionals need to know security – full stop. Given the complexity of today’s interconnected world, we all have to work together to support the protection of the enterprise.”

Security starts at the top. Right now, about 65 percent of large U.S. companies have a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) position, up from 50 percent in 2016, according to ISACA, an independent, nonprofit, global association.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that 100 percent of large companies globally will have a CISO position by 2021. They have to. The cybercrime and related workforce shortage is severe – and organizations need security leadership with a solid or dotted line to the CEO in order to remedy the problem.

The cybersecurity workforce shortage has left CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) and corporate IT security teams shorthanded and scrambling for talent while the cyber attacks are intensifying.

Corporations are responding by placing some or all of their IT security into the hands of third parties. Last year, Microsoft estimated that 75 percent of infrastructure will be under third-party control (i.e., cloud providers or Internet Services Providers) by 2020. MSSPs (Managed Security Service Providers) are a subset of the third-parties, and they focus exclusively on security.

Outsourcing security introduces a whole new risk for enterprises — choosing the right third party which has the cyber defenders, cyber operations, and security platforms to effectively combat an increasingly hostile threatscape.

“Having a partnership with a third party Security Operations Center (SOC) provider is beneficial to companies that have limited IT resources and lack internal security expertise” says Melissa Zicopula, Vice President of Managed Security Services at Herjavec Group. 

“I often explain to boards that Managed Security Services is the new house alarm” says Robert Herjavec, Founder & CEO at Herjavec Group. The logs tell you if your house is safe. The insights SOCs can draw from data correlation will tell you if the other houses on the street are getting robbed. Security technology management keeps the system fine tuned. But the secret sauce? That’s in data enrichment. That’s where the magic happens.”

“MSSPs need to continually evolve their practices because proactive threat detection and investigation is becoming the norm” adds Herjavec. “You can’t just block and defend anymore. The role of the Threat Hunter is key as the expectation is that cyber operators not only detect but they investigate and analyze very sophisticated and persistent threats. Enterprises want to know where the threat originated, how they should respond and what can be done to contain the incident. Today, more often than not, we’re seeing organizations turn to a third party for these answers.”

While the third parties themselves have their work cut out for them in terms of recruiting security talent, they are in the best position to do so. MSSPs do some of the most cutting edge work in cyber, a big draw for the more talented candidates.

CISOs should think long and hard about how to engage with security outsourcers, and which ones to look at. MSSPs may be cybersecurity’s saving grace.

Steve Morgan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.

Editors’ Update: Jun. 8, 2017 – A new online survey from (ISC)2 underscores the inability of cybersecurity jobs forecasts to keep up with the cybercrime epidemic. The (ISC)2 survey states that the cybersecurity workforce gap is on pace to hit 1.8 million by 2022 — a minimal year-over-year increase in cybersecurity job openings over nearly a decade (Cisco’s 2014 estimate of 1 million cybersecurity job openings globally was based on data from 2013). It should be noted that the (ISC)2 survey — which underreports the number of cybersecurity job openings compared to ISACA’s estimate of 2 million openings by 2019, and Cybersecurity Ventures’ estimate of 3.5 million openings by 2021 — focuses on “information security” jobs, and not actually “cybersecurity” jobs, which helps explain their smaller figures. More information here.