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Survey Highlights Importance of IT Skills for Cybersecurity Professionals

Information technology skills encompass a lot of knowledge over a huge number of unique situations, as IT is taken more seriously today than ever before.

Companies are paying more for IT, but the security professionals hired to maintain business technology aren’t always up to the task. In a recent poll conducted by Skyhigh Networks and the Cloud Security Alliance, 30% of security professionals admitted to ignoring flagged issues or alerts because, in many cases, the issues weren’t ever serious enough to require addressing.

But isn’t that a type of IT skill? Response management? In an era where malicious activity is constantly evolving and working to camouflage itself, isn’t response management one of the skills businesses need most?

Why aren’t we better at it?

“The frequency and sophistication of cyber threats is exposing a serious lack of the relevant skills needed to maximize the full value of new technology,” said Nigel Hawthorn, chief European spokesperson at Skyhigh Networks. “Businesses are forever playing catch up with hackers who are discovering new ways of probing networks, and firms are turning to more advanced cybersecurity solutions to compensate.”

If we’re lacking in response management, what are the possible solutions or workarounds?

“To resolve the skills shortage, 37% of businesses believe that hiring junior IT professionals and investing in training is the most effective way,” Hawthorn said.

Some companies are getting creative with potential solutions. According to a KPMG survey among companies in the United Kingdom, more than half of all participants said they would consider hiring a hacker or a computer expert with a criminal record to help train their conventional IT security teams.

Bolstering cyber defenses is an issue companies are taking seriously. According to Forbes, there will be more than 1 million cybersecurity job openings in 2016. Depending on the type of field, median wages range between $85,000 and $95,000 annually.

What’s more, it’s a position businesses are eager to fill. A poll by ISACA and RSA noted that, today, fewer than 25% of cybersecurity applicants have the required skills required to perform the job. The top three most sought attributes, in order, were hands-on experience, applicable credentials, and an ability to understand business.

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