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Six Surprising Impacts of Automation on the Cybersecurity Workforce

May 7, 2024

Six Surprising Impacts of Automation on the Cybersecurity Workforce

Now is a great time to be a cybersecurity professional. Cybersecurity jobs are experiencing 30% year-over-year growth, which is 2.4x faster than overall job growth. And there are only enough cybersecurity professionals to fill just over 80% of the current job openings. On the upside, job security and pay are high. On the downside, boy could you use a nap!

SteelCloud’s ConfigOS automates STIG and CIS Benchmarks compliance. Perhaps, more than anyone else, we see the impacts of automation on the workforce and understand the complexities. After all, many of us have worked in the trenches reconfiguring vulnerabilities until our eyes and brains hurt. Still more of us have actively supported the mission of keeping our nation’s sensitive data safe in other ways.

We understand that change triggers anxiety. However, if there is anything that can improve job satisfaction and growth, it’s automation. If that comes as a surprise to you, read on to see how automation makes everything easier.


  1. Mission Quality

Gartner predicts that by 2025, lack of talent or human failure will be responsible for more than half of significant cybersecurity incidents. Humans make mistakes. And humans who are pushed to the edges of time and workforce constraints make even more mistakes. Globally, there is a shortage of close to 4M cybersecurity professionals. It is estimated that number will increase to 85M by 2030. The feedback loop between overworked cybersecurity professionals and workplace error is growing. Automation addresses both challenges, picking up the slack with workplace shortages and ensuring 100% accuracy.


  1. Mission Effectiveness

If there is a shortage of experts to fill the job—and that shortage grows year over year—it follows that security is going to suffer. Maybe your STIG mission is getting done. But maybe it’s taking more time than anticipated, leaving new vulnerabilities unaddressed. Maybe you’re making zero progress on Zero Trust. And maybe there is a growing backlog of work you can’t get to. All of this impacts the effectiveness of your mission. All of it puts your mission at risk. Automation makes space for other work to happen. Imagine a day when you get to strategize on future tactics that are actually possible to complete! That is the promise of automation.


  1. Mental Health

Mental health is an oft-overlooked aspect of cybersecurity. But consider this: according to a 2017 report, 46% of technology employees have a mental health disorder and 99% have been diagnosed with a mental health issue in the past. That was before COVID and all the intensifying pressure of cybersecurity and compliance we see today. Further, 84% of tech workers report experiencing burnout. All of this is the result of workforce shortages, the intense battlefield people work on, and the fact that the job never gets done. Mental health is the elephant in the room that professionals never talk about. And it impacts every corner of the team and its mission. Automation removes a number of the triggers that cause dis-ease in the workplace.


  1. Job Satisfaction

One of the biggest sources of stress in cybersecurity is the sense of overwhelm that there is more work than there are hands to complete. That means there are backlogs that are never addressed. Vulnerabilities that are never fixed. And a desk that is never cleared. Over time, this wears on you. It invites error. And if your system is ever breached, the amount of guilt is overwhelming. Are we having any fun yet? Automation relieves all those pressures and enables people who spend their days repeatedly mitigating controls to exercise other parts of their brain and go home with a sense that they have moved the ball forward.


  1. Home Life

Home is a place where professionals go at the end of the day to watch TV, work out, play video games, work on hobbies, and visit with their partners, children, and pets. For cybersecurity professionals, it’s a mytical place, whispered about around water coolers and dreamed of while fixing all the issues created when you STIGged Splunk. Automation eases those burdens, giving you more time at home so you can meet the schnauzer your family adopted a month ago while you were working through the latest STIG updates.


  1. Job Security

The gap between the number of skilled cybersecurity staffers needed and the number available has risen 12.6% year over year worldwide. And 2/3 of cybersecurity professionals reported that their organization has a shortage of cybersecurity staff needed to prevent and troubleshoot security issues. This is a trend that will take decades to reverse. Meanwhile, bad actors seem to have all the manpower in the world. Cybersecurity automation is designed to enable organizations to complete the job with the staff they have on hand. We have not yet met the team that twiddles its thumbs all day looking for work. We meet people who are overworked, overwhelmed and over it. We meet people who want to do more with the team they have and can’t. And they can’t find new people to hire because of the workforce shortage. Everywhere we go cybersecurity needs are growing, not shrinking. And with automation removing most of the undesirable aspect of those jobs, satisfaction grows alongside that job security.


The gap between cybersecurity needs and the people to fill them is growing. Meanwhile, hackers are getting more and more sophisticated in their strikes. The security of our nation’s data can no longer be managed the traditional way. Things are moving too quickly, and the job is too big. To learn more about cybersecurity automation and the surprising benefits it delivers, schedule a two-hour demo and make it the best part of your day.

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