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The skills gap in cloud security: Are we prepared for 2024 and beyond?

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skills gap in cloud security

In an era dominated by digital transformation, the cloud has emerged as a cornerstone technology, revolutionizing how businesses operate and how data is managed. However, as organizations increasingly transition their operations to the cloud, the need for robust cloud security measures has never been more critical. According to Statista, the cloud security market revenue is expected to reach $2.31 billion globally.

The expansion of the cloud security market is fueled by several factors, including the widespread adoption of multicloud architectures, the integration of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT), and the burgeoning trends of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Choose Your Own Device (CYOD).

The future of cloud security is poised to witness advancements in strategies aimed at bolstering digital defenses. AI-powered threat detection, zero-trust platforms, and automated security measures hold great promise in mitigating emerging threats. However, amidst these technological advancements, a significant obstacle looms large: the widening skills gap in cloud security.

The rapid evolution of cloud technology, coupled with the ever-changing threat landscape, has created a demand for skilled professionals capable of implementing and managing effective cloud security strategies. Unfortunately, this demand far exceeds the current supply of qualified talent, resulting in gaps in cloud security skills.

A survey conducted by CyberRisk Alliance (CRA) revealed that a quarter of organizations struggle with insufficient expertise and training in implementing cloud security effectively. Moreover, a report by Statista said that in 2023, 35% of respondents identified cloud computing security as the primary skills gap within their organization’s cybersecurity team.

On this World Cloud Security Day 2024, Charlie Winckless, Vice President Analyst, Gartner, expresses his thoughts on the cloud security skills gap saying “The cloud is almost universally a critical part of business for organizations; the Gartner 2023 Cloud End-User Behavior Survey found that 94% of the organisations surveyed agree that public cloud is a crucial part for their digital business initiatives. It requires the same security outcomes as on-premises, but with different tools, skills and approaches – and newer tools, skills, and approaches. It will take time to build a critical mass of these new skills in the workforce, and until then demand will outstrip supply. Reskilling, upskilling, and hiring remain critical to build the skills needed, but some of the requirements to know each individual cloud provider can be offset with third party tools. Tooling like the posture management platforms, cloud management platforms, and workload protection platforms can be consistent across cloud providers, can normalize issues, and provide guided remediation to help teams accelerate. Traditional methods of augmenting and filling skills gaps remain relevant in the cloud – consulting and integration partners for transformation, and MSPs and MSSPs to help run the new environments”.

To tackle the skills gap in cloud security and ensure readiness for the challenges ahead in 2024 and beyond, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must adopt proactive strategies:

  1. Adopt Automation and AI: With the scale and complexity of cloud environments continually expanding, automation and AI technologies are indispensable for managing security at scale. By automating routine tasks and leveraging AI-driven analytics for threat detection and response, organizations can augment the capabilities of their security teams and mitigate the impact of the skills shortage.
  2. Encourage Participation in Training Programs: Given the competitive nature of the cloud security solutions market and the high costs associated with recruiting new hires, investing in training programs for existing employees is crucial. Employees must be rewarded for accruing additional experience, promoting a positive attitude toward career growth. Providing direct training opportunities for less experienced professionals also helps to acquire new skills for upcoming challenges.
  3. Hire External Talent: Hire candidates whose qualifications and experiences align with their cloud security requirements or delegate some cloud security tasks to external providers or consultants. Forming partnerships with academic institutions, professional associations, or community groups to attract also helps find new talent within the field.
  4. Partner with Cloud Managed Service Providers (MSPs): Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer real-time threat detection and proactive vulnerability mitigation, effectively minimizing the likelihood of security breaches. With their expertise in cloud environments, MSPs possess a deep understanding of the specific security challenges associated with cloud infrastructure. They can help in navigating complexities such as multi-cloud environments, thereby guaranteeing uniform security measures across all platforms.
  5. Cultivate a Culture of Security: Ultimately, effective cloud security is not just a technology problem—it’s a cultural one. Organizations must instill a culture of security awareness across all levels of the workforce, emphasizing the shared responsibility for protecting sensitive data and resources in the cloud. By empowering employees to be vigilant and proactive in identifying and reporting security threats, organizations can create a formidable line of defense against cyber attacks.

In conclusion, the skills gap in cloud security poses a significant challenge demanding immediate attention and decisive action. As we anticipate the challenges of 2024 and beyond, the imperative to secure cloud-based assets grows increasingly critical. By implementing the strategies outlined above, organizations can effectively bridge the gap in cloud security skills, and successfully navigate the intricate and evolving field of cloud computing.

Read next: Enterprises across industries explore AI and ML application areas to drive efficiencies and enhance capabilities, says GlobalData

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