President Joe Biden has urged U.S. companies to “harden your cyber defenses immediately” due to fears of cyber attacks from Russia.

There are currently around 1 million people working in cybersecurity in the U.S, more than half of which are in the private sector.

However, 600,000 positions are unfilled.

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The situation has got worse as competition in the broader labor market has increased, increasing both companies’ potential vulnerability to hackers and the urgency to increase the workforce

Job openings have increased by 29 percent in the last year, more than doubling the rate of growth between 2018 and 2019.

Jamie Kohn, human resources research director at Gartner Inc tech research and consulting firm said: “The crunch for cybersecurity talent has definitely gotten a lot worse, we thought we had five years maybe to get those professionals in the door, and now we’re trying to do it overnight.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to work from home, workers with the technical skills required to respond to cyber threats were scarce.

A series of events heightened the demand for positions such as software developers, vulnerability testers, network engineers, and cybersecurity analysts.

With so many employees using their home networks and computers, phishing attempts and ransomware attacks on businesses, schools, hospitals, and other organizations increased.

Countries with mandatory military service, such as Russia, China, and Israel, have a better talent pipeline of qualified individuals who have been trained in cybersecurity at the government level.

Bryan Palma, Chief executive officer of Trellix Corp, said he’s been talking to members of Congress to create an AmeriCorps-type program specifically for fostering cybersecurity talent because there aren’t enough Americans being trained via government service.

Other initiatives to expand the talent pool include implementing cybersecurity courses in high schools, offering workshops to lower-level IT professionals, conducting training in rural areas, and abandoning degree requirements in favor of aptitude tests. Some security-related tasks could be automated as a solution to the hiring problem.

Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant Inc added: “We have a massive shortage of security experts on the planet, and we want to automate so much of the talent and capability. That’s all software’s ever been in the automation of the human process.”

In November, the Department of Homeland Security launched a new hiring system for cybersecurity personnel that would allow federal cybersecurity workers to earn up to $255,800, which is equivalent to Vice President Kamala Harris’ salary.

The new pay scale system was created to help the DHS compete for talent.

Because cybersecurity skills are in such high demand, workers have room to negotiate and can jump from one company to another relatively easily.

Source: Digital Latest News

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