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Maintaining Application Security During a Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

Hiring and retaining quality cybersecurity talent is harder than ever. According to the 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there is a 3.4 million global shortage of cybersecurity professionals. 

This blog explores the challenges businesses face due to the cybersecurity talent shortage and how they can effectively maintain application security in the face of limited resources. It will also cover alternative solutions for filling the talent gap, such as leveraging automated mobile app security tools to boost development efficiency and productivity.

📈 Challenges Created by the Cybersecurity Talent Gap

The cybersecurity talent gap can cause many challenges for companies, including:

  • Higher risk of cyberattacks: The cybersecurity talent gap has made it harder for companies to hire cybersecurity talent. As a result, companies without sufficient cybersecurity are more likely to fall victim to cyberattacks. 
  • Difficulty in adopting new technologies: Companies will find securing new technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) difficult without enough cybersecurity staff. The cybersecurity talent gap can also hinder the smooth adoption and implementation of these technologies, leading to competitive disadvantages.
  • Escalating costs: Talent scarcity may force organizations to offer higher salaries, better benefits, and training incentives to attract and retain talent.
  • Impact on products, services, branding, and public safety: Cybersecurity talent shortages can jeopardize products and services, leading to reputational loss and lower revenues. Malicious actors may also steal proprietary and personal information, leading to crimes such as identity theft and blackmail.

👩‍💻 The Challenges and Causes of the Cybersecurity Talent Gap

The cybersecurity talent gap exists for several reasons. These include high standards for beginners, inefficient and ineffective security awareness training, and restricting security to the final development stage.

High Standards for Beginners

Many employers have unrealistic expectations for entry-level and junior employees just starting their careers. For example, they may demand that entry-level hires possess certifications like Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Obtaining these certifications usually requires at least five years of work experience. They are also expensive and difficult to pass on the first attempt. Consequently, individuals who hold these certifications are unlikely to apply for entry-level positions. These high standards have discouraged many aspiring cybersecurity professionals from starting their careers in this field.

Inefficient and Ineffective Security Awareness Training

Companies often upskill and reskill computer programmers to fill the cybersecurity talent gap. Unfortunately, many training programs consist of annual speeches, uninspiring PowerPoint presentations, and online multiple-choice quizzes. Due to the lack of engagement, staff may struggle to comprehend the implications of not prioritizing security. This, in turn, discourages them from prioritizing security awareness training over development, resulting in software with security gaps.

Restricting Security to the Final Development Stage

Even if a company’s security awareness training is engaging and enjoyable, computer programmers are focused on designing, coding, testing, releasing, and maintaining apps and software, not cybersecurity. Computer programmers are especially unlikely to focus on cybersecurity if their companies restrict security to the final development stage. By then, the team is already exhausted from the development process and is unlikely to put much time and effort into security. In these circumstances, the risk of releasing easily exploitable software and apps is high.

→ Alternatives to Filling the Talent Gap

The traditional way of bridging the talent gap in cybersecurity is to offer high salaries and comprehensive benefits. However, this can be expensive and time-consuming, especially for small companies with limited funds. Here are some cost-effective alternatives for filling the talent gap and enhancing development efficiency.

Implement DevSecOps

First, companies should leverage DevSecOps, an approach to automation, culture, and platform design that builds security into software development and IT operations processes. DevSecOps addresses the talent gap by:

  • Using automated security testing tools: DevSecOps emphasizes using automated security testing tools, which can detect vulnerabilities in code during the software development lifecycle (SDLC). By automating these procedures, developers can concentrate on resolving issues. This alleviates the pressure on limited cybersecurity personnel and saves time and resources.
  • Fostering a culture of collaboration: DevSecOps promotes a collaboration culture between development, security, and operations teams.  Developers can learn security best practices from experts, reducing the need to hire dedicated security personnel. It also reduces the need for upskilling and reskilling programs.
  • Emphasizing continuous monitoring: DevSecOps encourages teams to use automated monitoring tools for real-time detection of security incidents, enabling prompt responses without constant supervision. 
  • Encouraging the implementation of security controls as code: DevSecOps is a software development approach that incorporates security measures into the process. This eliminates the need for separate security reviews. It also allows security to be integrated into every step of the SDLC without requiring a large cybersecurity team.

Leverage Automated Mobile App Security Tools

Another way to fill the cybersecurity talent gap is by leveraging automated cybersecurity tools for application protection. These apps have the required cybersecurity expertise built into them, reducing the need for additional cybersecurity talent and reskilling/upskilling programs. 

The right automated mobile app security tool should:

  • Protect against vulnerabilities: The tool must be able to spot misconfigurations and code weaknesses that can cause cybersecurity vulnerabilities. It should be able to inspect every line of code for vulnerabilities and produce static analysis reports. This will lower the risks of customer data theft, loss of application control, loss of control over the hosting server, and brand and website damage.
  • Integrate security into every development stage, including security requirements in the planning phase, security-focused code reviews during development, and penetration testing during integration/acceptance testing.
  • Integrate into the company’s continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) pipeline so teams can take a DevSecOps approach to cybersecurity. At a minimum, the tool should empower teams to scan code securely on their local servers and upload results to the cloud for easy sharing; generate action plans to fix vulnerabilities and determine the time, cost, and effort required; and apply what-if analysis and customize the plan to fit company needs.

Kiuwan is one of the most reliable providers of mobile app security solutions on the market. Founded in 2003, we provide a full suite of comprehensive cybersecurity solutions for DevOps and DevSecOps teams. Get a free 14-day trial or request a demo, by clicking the button below to see how you can have a more safe and efficient development process.

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