Today, businesses of all sizes rely on computers and online services for everything from billing and account management to customer service. Data loss or theft could be catastrophic for those businesses. In spite of these risks, many organizations overlook cybersecurity and business continuity either through a lack of cybersecurity skills or a belief that they're too small to be targeted by hackers.

Unfortunately, such assumptions are incorrect. In 2021, it's estimated that more than 85% of Canadian organizations were affected by some form of cyberattack and 61% of companies surveyed were affected by ransomware. It's now essential for companies of all sizes to have cyber-professionals as a part of their workforce so they can defend against these security threats.

Cybersecurity Is an Essential Part of Digital Transformation

Technology is becoming an essential part of how companies in both the public and private sectors operate — so much so that the Canadian government requires businesses operating in certain sectors, including those managing financial services or energy systems, to report cyberattacks and take steps to improve their cybersecurity. It's no longer enough to simply use technology. The threats that exist today to companies in all sectors mean it's essential to have a clear incident response plan and for employees to have adequate training in protecting the data and systems they work with.

Malware, viruses and worms don't discriminate when looking for systems to attack. They affect everything from educational institutions to government agencies and companies in the private sector. Each of these organizations faces its own challenges when it comes to responding to cybersecurity threats.

There are several factors to these organizations must consider, including:

  • Providing training for current employees
  • Taking steps to improve cybersecurity controls
  • Verifying the data security policies of other organizations you work with
  • Proactively monitoring for data breaches and other threats
  • Defining a plan for reporting and mitigating cybersecurity incidents
  • Reviewing and updating plans and training as the technology evolves

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap Presents a Serious Threat to Small Organizations

Because digital security is such a new field, there's a shortage of cybersecurity professionals worldwide. According to a report published by ISC2, the number of cybersecurity pros would have to grow by 65% just to cover the existing job vacancies. As more employers start looking for certified cybersecurity professionals, the cyber-skills crisis will only continue to grow.

Smaller organizations may have found themselves adopting new technologies because their customers demand the option of dealing with them online. Their existing employees may have strong soft skills but lack the technical skills required to keep the data they're handling secure. In the report Digital Skills for Today and Tomorrow, The Conference Board of Canada predicts that in 10 years, 9 out of 10 jobs will require digital skills. The country has a skills gap even when it comes to traditional areas of IT and data science. There's a critical need to arm the next generation of the workforce with those skill sets. Cybersecurity is an even more in-demand niche.

Training in general security best practices is essential for people at all levels of the workforce, especially now that it's becoming increasingly common for people to work remotely. Remote workers, especially those who are permitted to use personal devices for work, present an increased risk of data loss or theft. Training such employees to keep their systems secure is essential for any business.

Essential Skills for Cybersecurity Workers

Today's cybersecurity workforce faces many challenges. Their jobs can vary depending on the type of company they work for and the hardware, software and networks they deal with. Common issues cybersecurity professionals deal with include:

  • Preventing and combating viruses and malware
  • Cloud security threats such as attacks on remove servers
  • Setting cybersecurity policies
  • Social engineering attacks
  • Patching security vulnerabilities

Depending on the size of the company, security professionals may focus exclusively on managing software, server and data security. In some small companies, however, cybersecurity may be handled by other IT specialists who also manage data backups, virtualization and data protection. Professionals who have hands-on experience with a broad variety of IT products and tools are very much in demand with employers.

Building a Cybersecurity Workforce

Both large and small companies can benefit from investing in security services to keep their organization, and their data, safe. This could be in the form of recruiting new cybersecurity talent from boot camps and local universities or investing in education programs and certifications for existing talent.

The IT world moves quickly, and those who wish to work in it should have a thirst for learning and a willingness to continue their education, picking up new skills on the job. Look for existing employees who are eager to expand their knowledge of how security works and offer them the opportunity to take on certification programs as a part of their job. Choose certifications that show practical knowledge through labs or portfolio projects and you can feel confident the people you appoint to cybersecurity roles will have the expertise required to take care of your company's data and that of your customers.

How Our Cybersecurity Professionals Can Help Your Organization

Filling the cybersecurity skills gap can take some time, and it's not always practical for an organization to have multiple dedicated cybersecurity positions. Outsourcing certain cybersecurity jobs to a managed IT services provider can be a cost-effective option for a company that either is unable to find qualified staff for cybersecurity roles or has a structure that doesn't offer quite enough work to fill a full-time position. Smaller retailers and service providers are examples of businesses that may require audits and advice but not someone to manage their systems full-time.

If you're concerned about how your organization can protect its security in this increasingly complex digital world, Haycor Computer Solutions is here to help. If you'd like to learn more about the threats faced by companies today and how our next-generation data backup and recovery solutions can help you manage them effectively, download our ebook on data security or get in touch for a consultation.