In 2020, the world experienced an unprecedented increase in cybercrimes amid COVID-19. In fact, data breaches increase 273 percent in the first quarter, compared to 2019, according to a new study from cloud computing company Iomart.
Thanks to the additional vulnerabilities that opened up as people work from home, moves to take everything digital and conduct all business online, and the general confusion caused by the pandemic, cybercriminals have taken full advantage of the situation.
That’s a significant problem on its own, but there’s another issue at hand that makes the situation even worse.
According to a report by (ISC)2, the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions now stands at 4.07 million, up from 2.93 million this time last year. This includes 561,000 in North America.
The shortage of skilled workers in the industry in Europe has soared by more than 100 percent over the same period, from 142,000 to 291,000.
The report suggests a number of remedies for this situation, including in-house training, bringing employees across from other IT areas and retraining them, and increasing efforts to hire with aptitude in order to bring them up to speed on cybersecurity quickly.
One company has been helping to plug this gap. Cybint – a global cyber education company – recently partnered with LCC International University, an American-style university with students from over 50 countries, to create the Cybint Bootcamp.
Cybint also recently partnered with Israel-based web data provider Webhose and threat protection platform IntSights to provide a more well-rounded learning experience for Cybint users. These companies are part of the company’s effort to join forces with leading cyber technologies, bolstering the tools at its disposal to further reskill the workforce and upskill the cybersecurity industry.
And that’s important, because the shortfall of talent in the cybersecurity industry, combined with the rapid growth in attacks and breaches, is going to need to be dealt with quickly.
“We like to compare the cybersecurity market to that of coding and computer programming a few decades ago,” Roy Zur, CEO and founder at Cybint, told me. “Many of the first pioneers in this field were self-taught or learned by doing, mainly because traditional higher education just hadn’t caught up yet and employers were looking for the skills. Fast-forward, there are coding bootcamps and academies dedicated to this field as an alternative to degree education. Cybersecurity is similar in the way that the demand exists, but the skilled individuals aren’t necessarily coming out of higher education, and if they are, their skills are not always practical or relevant to real life. We believe that there is a huge opportunity for cyber professionals to learn skills quickly and effectively through intensive career bootcamp that are focused on the most in-demand job roles in cybersecurity.”
Security firm McAfee estimates the cost of cybercrime in 2020 reached $1 trillion, a figure that includes both the losses incurred and the amount of money spent on cybersecurity. If businesses are going to get a handle on these costs – which represent a 50 percent increase on 2018 – they are going to have to move fast.
So how long does someone have to train in cyber to become effective and gain employment in the field?
“Traditionally, it’s a matter of going through college and certification,” Zur said. “Alternatively, it could be as quick as three months in the full-time Cybint Cybersecurity Bootcamp. My extensive background in cybersecurity military training mixed with my CPO’s background in building career boot camps at MIT has allowed us to put together a learning experience that is incomparable to what’s currently available. It’s practical, highly-focused, and interactive – exactly the experience that employers are looking for in their candidates.”
That focus on getting students from starting the course to being employable is important to Cybint, and crucial for businesses everywhere.
“We are truly career-focused,” Zur said. “Our end goal is to help our Bootcampers land high-paying and long-term opportunities in the market. We’ve tailored the Cybint Bootcamp and our business model to achieve this to ultimately close the workforce and skills shortage in cybersecurity”
So what’s next for Cybint?
“There are quite a few avenues we can take as we scale,” Zur said. “However we plan to stay true to our mission of tackling the workforce shortage and skills gap through skills learning and collaboration. With that said, we plan to offer the Cybint Bootcamp in more locations worldwide through our partners and expand the cybersecurity roles we train for.”
One thing is certain. With such a huge increase in cybersecurity attacks, and the huge skill gap we’re currently experiencing, 2021 is already set to cost organizations as much as it did in 2020. Those willing to move across to cybersecurity can see this as an opportunity – the cyber market is forecasted to grow to $248.26 billion by 2023, making it a lucrative area, and one that may rival that of other high paid IT roles, such as data science, analysis, and engineering.
This article originally appeared at Grit Daily, and is reproduced with permission.