What do you plan to do after graduation? University students are repeatedly asked this question. Those who choose to focus on cybersecurity can rest easy knowing that they have selected a field with a near-zero unemployment rate.
It’s a reality that chief information security officers (CISOs) face every day as only a limited number of people have the skills and experience required to fill needed IT security positions. Staffing challenges are compounded by rapidly changing digital business initiatives which are changing how organizations evaluate and confront risk.
“There’s no proverbial jack-of-all-trades in cybersecurity,” said Gartner principal research analyst Sam Olyaei during the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit in National Harbor, MD. “Digital business initiatives require that we have the right people in the right roles with the right skills and competencies.”
The importance of digital competencies
CISOs must go beyond thinking in terms of roles when planning for digital business initiatives. They must now carefully consider which competencies and skills are required to address digital risks.
“Digitalization requires a wider range of security roles that entail new skills and knowledge,” says William Candrick, research consultant at Gartner. “CISOs need to fundamentally rethink their talent requirements.”
“Roles are just job titles and skills are a matter of fact,” said Matthew Stamper, research director at Gartner. “But competencies are the how, the aptitude and traits of employees.”
He shared the competencies integral to digital business execution:
- Adaptability. Demonstrates flexibility, agility and the ability to respond effectively to changing environments.
- Business acumen. Demonstrates awareness of internal and external dynamics with an acute perception of business issues.
- Digital dexterity. Showcases the ability to leverage and manipulate media, information and technology in unique and innovative ways.
- Outcome driven. Focuses on desired results and business outcomes. Sets and achieves challenging goals.
- Collaboration/synergy. Exemplifies collaboration with other members of formal and informal teams in pursuit of common mission, vision, value and goals.
Each of these competencies is critical to one or more of the five new cybersecurity roles that today’s CISOs must plan for tomorrow.