Four million. According to the latest study, that’s the approximate number of cybersecurity jobs around the world that still need to be filled by skilled professionals. With the current cybersecurity workforce measured at 2.8 million, it would need to grow by 145 percent for us to catch up. The same study done last year indicated a shortage of nearly 3 million professionals – meaning the number has already grown by more than one million people in a year. This poses so many questions. Chief among them: Is it real?
To put this into further perspective, the entire population of the City of Los Angeles is roughly 4 million. Therefore, in order to fill our current skills gap, every single person who lives in L.A. would need to work in the cybersecurity industry (plus a few more). Four million is also greater than the entire population of many countries – including Iceland, Qatar, Jamaica, and Mongolia, just to name a few. So, yeah, it’s a large number.
Have we created too many tools that all need managing, generating more alerts than can be attended to? Is it even possible to find, train, hire, and retain such a massive number of new security professionals?
Many have suggested widening the candidate pool and providing more training to alleviate this colossal problem. While these are of course logical solutions that we should definitely be pursuing, they will never increase our workforce by 145 percent. It’s just not feasible.
So should we just give up and let the bad actors win? Absolutely not. What we need to do is focus on a new solution. Yes, people are an essential piece of the puzzle, but we also have technology and processes to augment our talent.
Historically, the security industry has innovated like crazy to keep up with attackers (and will continue to do so). We see a problem, and we build a box.
For example, malware starting to run amok through your environment? Time to buy some anti-malware technology. Your employees getting duped by phishing attacks? Better look into anti-phishing measures! Expanding into the cloud? What’s the best cloud security solution on the market? And so on…
While innovation is necessary and wonderful, it has created unmanageable complexity for many organizations. For each new product we create, we require more people to manage it. Therefore, instead of proactively protecting your environment, you’re frantically toggling between countless security applications all day just to triage the biggest issues. Or you’re spending all your time trying to integrate disparate solutions on your own.
VC funding in the cybersecurity space totaled $5.3 billion in 2018, up 20 percent from $4.4 billion in 2017. More venture capital means more companies, means more tools, and potentially more job openings. This does not seem like it’s moving in the right direction.
According to Cisco’s 2019 CISO Benchmark Study, 79 percent of respondents find it challenging to orchestrate security alerts from multiple vendors’ products. And almost a third of respondents said they were suffering from “cyber fatigue” – meaning they have all but given up on trying to stay ahead of malicious threats and bad actors. Yikes! So, what can we do about this challenge without adding millions of people to our workforce?
At Cisco, we’re continuing to innovate our respective security technologies to keep pace with attackers. And at the same time, we’re placing greater emphasis on making these technologies more effective and easier to work with. We’re calling it our platform approach to security – because a platform supported by a dozen pillars is stronger than just the pillars themselves.
Through this platform approach, we are leveraging integration, automation, and machine learning so that our technologies are working for you – not the other way around. The technologies you purchase to secure your environment should be making things easier for you, not harder.
Yes, we offer a lot of security products, because let’s face it, there are many different types of threats out there and infinite ways for them to get in. But let’s not lose sight of the forest for the trees. At the end of the day, the goal is a seamless, holistic security platform that allows a threat to be detected in one area of the enterprise and be blocked everywhere else – from the data center, network, and cloud, to email, the web, endpoints, and everywhere in between. We want to build a system whose components talk to one another and work together as a team to thwart attackers.
We have been ramping up towards this platform with some of our previous security portfolio synergies. For example, where the Cisco AnyConnect VPN leaves off, Cisco Umbrella kicks in – protecting users whether they are on or off the network. Additionally, Cisco AMP for Endpoints stretches across the portfolio to automatically receive actionable intelligence on worldwide threats from sources like Cisco Talos, Threat Grid, and Umbrella, and to integrate with our multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution, Duo. These are just a few of the integrations that already exist among our product set.
Now, we’re taking our platform approach towards the front end to make the integrated portfolio easier to use with Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO) and Cisco Threat Response (CTR). Security teams can now harmonize policies for a multitude of devices – from next-generation firewalls to Meraki – through a single cloud portal using Cisco Defense Orchestrator. We’re enabling customers to maintain consistent policies across firewalls and into the cloud, starting with support for Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can learn more here.
Additionally, organizations can now leverage coordinated incident response across the entire Cisco Security platform with Cisco Threat Response (CTR), which comes free with many of our security products. CTR leverages our integrated security architecture to make threat investigations faster, simpler, and more effective.
Cisco Threat Response
How will this new approach benefit you? At a high level, we envision this platform enabling customers to:
So that’s what we’ve been up to. And we’ll keep pushing, because the journey is far from over. We’re committed to creating a platform that delivers a better security experience and protects what’s now and what’s next.
In case you missed it, we recently held a virtual summit to officially launch our security platform. Catch the replay and find additional resources here.