Cybersecurity Education: Bridging the Skills Gap

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As technology advances at an unprecedented pace, so do the threats that lurk in the virtual realm. The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks have exposed a critical gap in the workforce – a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals capable of defending against and mitigating these digital threats.

In response to this pressing challenge, the focus on cybersecurity education has intensified, aiming to bridge the formidable skills gap that threatens the security of individuals, organizations, and nations alike. In this article we will dive into the multifaceted world of cybersecurity education, exploring the reasons behind the shortage of skilled professionals, the evolving nature of cyber threats, and the crucial role education plays in equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to safeguard our interconnected digital world.

How closing the cyber skills gap can help organizations build resilience

In excerpts from an article by the World Economic Forum, they wrote, “As the digital economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, cybersecurity professionals are critical to supporting today’s global economy. However, the industry is struggling to fill the large void in cybersecurity skills.

Our tech-enabled world requires skilled individuals who can assess, build, install, monitor and maintain the systems that underlie them. Staffing shortages are brought on by varying factors and, according to a poll conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights of global information technology (IT) leaders, 64% of respondents said that candidates lack necessary skills or experience.

Closing the cyber skills gap requires collaboration across public and private sectors through thoughtful investment in cultivating cybersecurity talent. As technology becomes increasingly integral to everyday life, cybersecurity has taken on a new-found importance to preventing theft of personal information to catastrophic infrastructure failures.

In addressing the cyber skills gap, organizations can improve cybersecurity posture and resilience through upskilling and reskilling their workforce, recruiting and training a diverse workforce and creating a holistic cybersecurity ecosystem.

Why a lack of cyber skills talent is such a problem

Organizations have become increasingly dependent on technology and as those technologies become more complex, securing systems and networks is more difficult than ever as more security technologies and processes are needed to work with each other.

This dependence on technology means that organizations are competing with one another to acquire what scarce cyber talent is available, which causes cybersecurity salaries to escalate and makes it difficult for organizations to hire and retain many cybersecurity workers.

A lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals weakens organizations risk assessment and strategic planning, giving innovative cyberattacks and new malware a weaker and wider attack surface.

According to a survey conducted by Korn Ferry, companies could lose out on $8.5 trillion in annual revenue without the talented workforce required, and 85 million jobs may go unfilled by 2030 due to a lack of skilled workers.

Addressing the cybersecurity industry’s skills gap

Among the most important aspects to building an effective talent pool for cybersecurity is ensuring that there is a defined learning path and a defined career path for existing and future employees to fill the voids in niche security talent pools.

Building skills in-house through training and education programmes can help organizations establish and retain an effective and loyal cybersecurity talent pool. By building cyber skills internally, current employees can get up to speed and organizations can widen the pool of available cyber talent.

Furthermore, building out cyber skills internally can also decrease the chances of burnout for cybersecurity employees already working for your organization.

According to the World Economic Forum, a lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, particularly cybersecurity, is one of the leading contributing factors to the cyber skills gap.

Organizations should consider expanding their scope when seeking candidates outside of their existing talent pool. This can help build a diverse cybersecurity team with a diverse set of skills to increase an organization’s cybersecurity posture.

In addition, by focusing on the tasks at hand and the skills needed rather than the qualifications, organizations can find talented candidates who have skills that can be broadly applied to different fields of expertise, such as problem solving, time management and innovative thinking.”

How reskilling and upskilling talent can help shrink the cybersecurity skills gap

In excerpts from a separate article by the World Economic Forum, they wrote, “Despite economic uncertainties and other related challenges, enterprises worldwide continue to embrace digital transformation initiatives at an unprecedented rate. According to a recent report, digital transformation spending is expected to hit $3.4 trillion in 2026.

At the same time, talent shortages – particularly in the cybersecurity industry – are growing more acute. Nearly 70% of security leaders say they face additional risks because of cybersecurity skills shortages, and more than half struggle to recruit and retain new talent.

Talent shortage and growing threat landscape

Short-staffed security teams and those lacking senior-level professionals make it difficult for organizations – regardless of industry or sector – to safeguard their assets from threats, resulting in tangible consequences. Over 80% of organizations worldwide fell victim to a cyberattack in the last year. Nearly half (48%) suffered at least one breach in the past 12 months, indicating that it cost more than $1 million to remediate.

Meanwhile, the cyber threat landscape is growing more complex as attack volume increases and bad actors find more sophisticated ways to infiltrate networks. And cybercrime activity shows no signs of slowing, with 65% of organizations expecting the number of cyberattacks to increase over the next 12 months.

Many professionals also anticipate larger-scale, more destructive cyber incidents in the not-too-distant future. According to the World Economic Forum 2023 Cybersecurity Outlook report, 86% of business leaders and 93% of security leaders believe that global geopolitical instability will likely lead to a catastrophic cyber event in the next two years.

Pursue creative strategies

While organizations worldwide certainly face substantial challenges when it comes to safeguarding their digital assets, there are many strategies we can collectively pursue that will help to close the cybersecurity skills gap and augment individuals with the talent they need, and every organization needs. But recruiting and retaining qualified professionals will inevitably require creative strategies, and public and private sector organizations must collaborate to bring many of these to fruition.

From offering reskilling programmes for non-technical job seekers interested in a career change to introducing upskilling initiatives for current security professionals, we can work together across industries and sectors to address the talent shortage in several ways.

Managing cyber risks requires support from qualified security professionals. Implementing strategies to retain skilled practitioners is crucial, yet more than half (54%) of organizations indicate that retaining security talent is challenging.

Reskilling opportunities for job seekers

Historically, when looking to fill more technical roles, employers have sought “traditional” candidates with a four-year degree in cybersecurity or related work experience. But with the growing talent shortage, this recruiting approach must also be expanded to consider new talent pools and diverse expertise to help organizations fill unfilled positions.

It’s a pivotal time to find job seekers interested in learning new skills or changing careers. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 25% of workers said they were very or somewhat likely to seek a new job in the next six months. Meanwhile, some technology companies are reducing their payrolls as economic growth slows. These shifts allow organisations to find new candidates to fill vacant positions.

At the same time, increasing access to training can play a critical role in helping reskill individuals looking to enter the cybersecurity field. For job-seekers considering a career change, there is free training available from collaborative initiatives, such as the Cybersecurity Learning Hub, and vendors to better equip them to be successful in a career in the field and to determine the cyber career pathway that most interests them, ranging from a Security Awareness Specialist to Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst or Cloud Security Specialist.

Cybersecurity is everyone’s job

Given what’s at stake regarding security incidents, organizations must ensure that all their employees, regardless of their industry or role, have fundamental cybersecurity knowledge and awareness to help them better assess and respond to potential attacks. It’s no surprise that cybercriminals view an organization’s employees as high-value targets, seeing as how 82% of breaches involved the human element.

Cyber attackers believe it’s relatively easy to manipulate an unsuspecting staff member into clicking on a link in a phishing email or unknowingly initiating a drive-by download. While these types of attacks might seem easy to avoid, cybercriminals are often victorious when using these methods – recent research shows that 81% of successful breaches came from phishing, password, and malware attacks.

There are many ways to implement a cybersecurity awareness training programme uniquely relevant to your organization. Some organizations design their own cyber education programmes, although many don’t have the time, expertise, or desire to do so. In the latter’s case, organizations and businesses can partner with a trusted cybersecurity organization that offers a cyber awareness training curriculum.

Partnerships are paramount

While businesses pursue digital transformation strategies, the threat landscape intensifies, and the cyber talent and resulting cyber skills gap grows. We must collaborate to retain current practitioners, attract new professionals to the field, and enhance cyber awareness among all individuals. A recent report found that 68% of organizations indicate they face additional cyber risks as a result of the talent shortage.

Cyber risks, such as breaches, impact critical infrastructures, operations and services that significantly impact our society’s daily lives. To help reduce the chances of disruptions to these crucial things, it is paramount that we work together today to develop creative strategies to grow the cybersecurity talent pool of the future.”

10 Cybersecurity Tips Every Employee Should Know

According to excerpts from an article by Dataprise, they wrote, “Hackers are targeting employees with phishing campaigns, malware, and more to penetrate system security and access critical data. To best protect your organization and encourage a culture of cybersecurity awareness, it’s important that you and your employees are educated on cybersecurity best practices.

To help you get started, here are 10 cybersecurity tips every employee should know:

1. Utilize a strong password

We have all heard that having a strong password is important, but what classifies as a strong password?

Strong passwords:

  • Should be at least 16 characters long
  • Contain and mix letters, symbols, and numbers
  • Avoid utilizing words, especially proper nouns
  • Never include Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Are not re-used

If you are creating secure passwords, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Using a password management app to store and manage your different passwords can help you keep organized in a secure fashion.

2. Use the SLAM method to help spot suspicious emails

Phishing attacks are a huge part of modern-day cyberattacks – some are highly personalized and may contain references to your coworkers, family members, your hobbies, and more.

The best way to mitigate this is awareness, use the SLAM method to help identify phishing attacks:

  • Sender: Check the sender’s email address
  • Links: Hover and check any links before clicking
  • Attachments: Don’t open attachments from someone you don’t know or attachments that you weren’t expecting
  • Message: Check the content of the message and keep an eye out for bad grammar or misspellings
3. Secure Your Web Browser

Web browsers are used frequently on corporate and home devices, and attackers will try to exploit vulnerabilities in them to take control of your computer (for example, this year’s Google Chrome Zero-Day vulnerability). The best way to secure your web browser is to configure automatic updates, avoid saving passwords in your browser, use trusted web browser plug-ins from web browser app stores, and limit security settings and what data is being transmitted to web browser providers.

4. Maintain the Latest Software on Your Smart Devices

To help prevent attackers taking advantage of vulnerabilities on your smart devices, update phones, tablets, TVs, speakers, thermostats, etc. with the latest software available. If an Auto-Update feature is available, enable it. These devices can potentially be a source of infection just like any other computer.

To further secure your devices, ensure your utilizing screen unlock password capabilities where available. Organizations should also consider mobile device management solutions to help increase the security of their mobile device environment to help ensure device and app compliance and control data flow outside trusted mobile apps and devices.

5. Utilize Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

For both corporate applications and personal applications, it’s imperative to enable MFA to validate that the person logging is who they claim to be, and to prevent malicious hackers from authenticating into your network.

6. Secure Your Home Network

If left unsecured, your home network can pose a risk to both your personal and corporate data if you are working remotely.

Here are a few tips to help secure your home network:

  • Plug computers into your router, not your modem
  • Change the default password on your router
  • Ensure firmware is updated, choosing automatic updates if available
  • Disable remote router administration – you should not need to make changes when you are away and this increases security by removing an easy path to your device
7. Use a VPN

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide a great way for employees to securely access remote resources from multiple locations by connecting two private networks securely over the internet. Utilizing public Wi-Fi in airports, hotels, and coffee shops without a VPN can inadvertently give away a lot of details about what devices you have and what you’re doing on the internet.

In the hands of a hacker, this information can be used to formulate an attack.

8. Don’t Forget About Physical Security

As more and more employees travel back into the office, it’s important to remember that physical security at the office is also important.

Reminders for physical security include:

  • Lock your computer when leaving your desk
  • If your organization uses badge access, don’t allow tailgating – each person should scan their own badge
  • Protect and lock away paper files with sensitive data
9. Be Aware of What Information You’re Sharing on Social Media

Social media may be a great way to share information with family and friends, but are you also sharing information with attackers?

Scammers and attackers can use the information you post on social media to gain PII about you that can be used against you. Review your privacy settings on a recurring basis, delete old and unused accounts, and review your photos and videos foreground and background before posting to ensure you’re not sharing anything that could reveal key pieces of personally identifiable information.

Before you go to post on social media, ask yourself – could this information you’re about to post be used against you?

10. If you see or do something, say something!

Last but not least, if you notice something suspicious, whether it be an email, text, or unauthorized visitor in the office, or end up accidentally clicking a phishing email link, alert your supervisor, IT department, or company to help ensure that the incident is handled quickly, and damage kept to a minimum.

Employee education is a critical component of cybersecurity, and organizations should have cybersecurity awareness training as an ongoing part of their cybersecurity program in addition to other layered defense and protection measures, such as 24/7 monitoring and alerting, managed detection and response, and vulnerability assessments.

Cybersecurity impacts us all, and it’s up to both employees and employers to remain educated on cybersecurity best practices to protect ourselves and our companies from malicious attacks.”


The cybersecurity skills gap stands as a formidable challenge to the security of individuals, organizations, and nations. The surge in cyber threats, coupled with the rapid growth of the digital economy, underscores the urgency to address this gap. The World Economic Forum notes that the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals poses a severe risk to global economies, with potential annual revenue losses amounting to trillions and millions of jobs left unfilled by 2030.

The heart of the solution lies in robust cybersecurity education initiatives that not only bridge the skills gap but also fortify organizations against evolving cyber threats. Collaboration between public and private sectors is essential, requiring thoughtful investments in cultivating cybersecurity talent. Reskilling and upskilling programs play a pivotal role in equipping the workforce with the necessary expertise, fostering a diverse cybersecurity ecosystem.

The lack of cybersecurity talent is not merely a human resources challenge; it poses a tangible threat to organizational resilience. Organizations must be proactive in building effective talent pools, offering defined learning and career paths, and addressing the issue of burnout among existing cybersecurity professionals. The World Economic Forum emphasizes the need for diversity in STEM fields, particularly in cybersecurity, as a crucial factor in closing the skills gap.

To cope with the escalating talent shortage and the growing complexity of the threat landscape, creative strategies are imperative. This includes pursuing reskilling programs for individuals seeking career changes and leveraging partnerships to pool resources and expertise. The impact of the talent shortage is evident in the rising number of cyberattacks, with over 80% of organizations falling victim in the past year alone.

Every employee’s role in cybersecurity is emphasized, given that human error is a significant factor in successful cyberattacks. Education and awareness programs, such as the SLAM method for identifying phishing attacks, are crucial for cultivating a cybersecurity-conscious culture. Additionally, practical tips for securing personal and corporate data, such as using strong passwords and implementing multi-factor authentication, underscore the importance of individual responsibility in safeguarding against cyber threats.

As organizations pursue digital transformation, partnerships become paramount in addressing the cybersecurity skills gap collectively. Whether through reskilling initiatives, employee awareness programs, or creative strategies to attract new talent, a collaborative approach is essential. Ultimately, investing in the cybersecurity talent pool today is an investment in securing the critical infrastructures, operations, and services that underpin our daily lives in the digital age.

At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.

Every device connecting to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.

Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions, you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime, creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.

To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at