Stopping the Cybersecurity Brain Drain Calls for Outside the Box Thinking
President Trump’s National Cyber Strategy includes the development of a “superior cyber workforce.” But given the difficulty in recruitment and retention of skilled cyber personnel, this goal may remain illusive. According to the Commerce and Homeland Security departments, there were around 299,000 openings for cybersecurity positions in August 2017, positions that lacked a sufficient number of qualified personnel to fill them. While increased funding to compete with the private sector and other more traditional recruiting efforts have been considered and implemented in various areas, this article lists a number of “outside the box” ways to “bridge the gap.” The first is the creation of a “National Guard” for cybersecurity. Having gained support from a growing number of groups and think tanks, this option would create a nation-wide network of cyber volunteers who could help resolve lower-level issues in the event of a large-scale cyber attack or similar event. Another possibility is mass retraining, perhaps from the pool of 80 million U.S. workers over the age of 16 currently working hourly positions. Automation is yet another area that could close the gap between cyber personnel demand and their supply. Lastly, the further integration of cybersecurity towards a single entity could also “help the government focus on training, hiring and keeping the best people as opposed to the most people to fill needs at every agency.” Ahead of the predicted shortage of cybersecurity experts by around 2 million people in 2019, these kinds of solutions will gain more attention as organizations are restricted through lack of trained personnel.