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Overcoming the Cybersecurity Workforce Shortage with Automation

October 5, 2021

The situation is dire. A senior government official says, “This is going to be a national security issue if it isn’t already.” He’s talking about the cybersecurity workforce shortage.

Right now, organizations across the globe are vying for a cybersecurity workforce that just isn’t there. NIST reports that the shortage of cybersecurity professionals is estimated to be 3.12 million globally. And the shortage of good ones is even more significant, with 66% of hiring managers saying they don’t believe their applicants are well qualified and are uncomfortable making the hiring decision. In the US alone, we began 2021 with a shortfall of 314,000 workers—and our total cybersecurity workforce is just 716,000.

This month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And we feel comfortable going further than what government officials say about the cybersecurity workforce: It is already a national security issue and a national economic security issue, and it’s on its way to becoming a national emergency. Moreover, with so much of our nation’s cybersecurity workforce working remotely and sharing confidential information online, it’s becoming harder and harder to continue protecting government assets. As a result, we have a full-blown National Security Deficit.

Good security hygiene should be every organization’s number one priority, especially during these unprecedented times. Does your organization have the tools to leverage your team to keep your organization and assets safe?

Cyber experts are not the only solution to this emergency.

You see it everywhere in the media—ransomware attacks are on the rise. At the same time, the average amount paid to ransomware thieves has risen 31% over the past year. The threat only worsens when you consider the sheer number of outdated legacy systems in the government.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Information Security Analysts is $103,590 annually. Last May, the House, and Senate introduced the Cyber Ready Workforce Act to infuse more cybersecurity apprentices into the marketplace, but it has not seen action in either chamber since. The problem with the human cybersecurity workforce is that, outside of being expensive, workers have limited hours of availability, make mistakes, they expect perks like healthcare and want time off.

And can you blame them? Especially in the government, most cybersecurity work is rules-based, repetitive, labor-intensive, and, frankly, soul-crushing. In addition, the rules keep changing due to the ever-changing landscape of threats, challenges and innovations in the arena. All of this makes it a perfect job for automation.

When it comes to STIGs and government cybersecurity, automation is the answer.

Automation solutions like ConfigOS can scan and remediate the rote processes needed to meet government cybersecurity requirements such as STIGs (Security Technical Implementation Guides.) They also speed the security process, frequently helping you achieve authority to operate (ATO) in hours, not weeks. Best of all, you can run a bot 24/7 for years and never hear a single compliant about food or sleep.

Anyone who has worked in cybersecurity knows that manual security updates to existing applications and systems can sometimes be delayed by months due to backlogs and software conflicts. ConfigOS can speed implementation through automation by evaluating and hardening each update or new integration prior to installation. Automating this process reduces initial hardening time by 90% while reducing system security policy maintenance expenses by 70%. Meanwhile, system hardening and compliance won’t distract your experts from addressing all those backlogs that take critical thinking skills to complete.

Make your automation plan now before the Cybersecurity workforce shortages get worse.

There’s no question that cybersecurity workforce shortages are a threat to our nation and government systems. And, by keeping your systems secure in accordance with government mandates, compliance automation provides the best solution yet to stave off breaches and attacks. Moreover, it’s more efficient than manual hardening, boiling down days and weeks of work into an hour, reducing program costs and maintaining security mandates effortlessly.

With #NationalCybersecurityAwareness Month in progress, it’s essential to realize that cybersecurity isn’t a month. It’s a continual necessity for protecting government assets. And industry labor shortages aren’t going to abate anytime soon. Circumstances will likely get worse before they get better.

Automation solutions like ConfigOS are a smart choice in good times and bad for optimizing the use of highly paid specialists who already have too much on their plates. So let the experts do what they do best. And let bots handle the rest.


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