South Africa under pressure to fill cyber security skills gap

South Africa under pressure to fill cyber security skills gap

South Africa under pressure to fill cyber security skills gap

F orty percent of South African companies struggle to hire and retain cyber security  talent, and 64% agree that the shortage of cyber security skills creates additional cyber risks for organisations. This is according to cyber security firm Fortinet’s 2023 Global Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, which found that in the past 12 months, 39% of South African organisations suffered breaches that cost over US$1-million to remediate. In addtion, 86% indicated they had experienced more than one cyber attack that could be partially attributed to a lack of cyber security skills on their teams. Fortinet says many short-staffed cyber security teams are burdened and strained as they try to keep up with thousands of daily threat alerts  and attempt to manage disparate solutions to properly protect their organisation’s devices and data. Paul Williams, country manager – SADC and Indian Ocean Islands, Fortinet, says a cyber security workforce gap jeopardises the most foundational functions of the profession such as risk assessment, oversight and critical systems patching. Williams points to a Cybersecurity Workforce Study released by global information security-focused non-profit organisation (ISC)² which found that 70% of respondents feel their organisation does not have enough cyber security staff to be effective. This study estimates that 3.4 million professionals are needed to fill the worldwide cyber security workforce gap. The EMEA region requires 317 050 professionals.


Tech certification

Williams says Fortinet research shows that 94% of South African companies prefer to hire talent with a technology-focused certification, but 78% indicated they are struggling to find people with this certification. “94% are willing to pay for employees to acquire certification,” Williams adds. He says one way to reduce this gap is to establish more authorised training centres and academic partner  programmes in high schools, colleges and universities. Organisations are also looking to tap into new talent pools, with 8 out of 10 respondents having diversity goals as part of their hiring practices. John Maddison, EVP of products and CMO at Fortinet, says, “The cyber security talent shortage is one of the top challenges putting organisations at risk… In today’s climate, organisations must choose products that introduce automation to offload overworked teams while continuing to focus on upskilling and cyber security training.”

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