Guest Blog by Andrea Collins
Cybersecurity preparedness is vital amidst increasing security threats. This is why more and more companies globally have prioritised additional professional cybersecurity education for their employees. Interestingly, according to a 2022 Omdia report, 73% of business executives said their team’s cybersecurity performance was more efficient due to ongoing cybersecurity training.
Technical cybersecurity skills – building secure systems, fixing security holes, vulnerability scanning and of course penetration testing – are important for British companies. However, a 2022 BusinessNewsWales article titled ‘New Talent Needed to Fill the UK Cyber Security Workforce Gap’ notes that it’s these skills that are most lacking in the UK labour market. As such, cybersecurity teams need to undertake further training to ensure that businesses can address ever-changing threats.
Here are three important strategies that can help you upskill your cybersecurity team:
Align training material with organisational needs
According to a 2022 survey by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport and Ipsos, over a third of UK businesses struggle with firewalls and detecting malware. Meanwhile, 29% of those surveyed expressed low confidence in tasks associated with personal data security. All this considered, it’s evident that there are numerous cybersecurity skills that organisations need to cultivate.
Of course, it may be daunting to deploy a comprehensive set of training materials from the get-go. So on that note, start with what your business needs the most. For instance, if you’re a company that sells goods and services online, then focus on creating educational material that can teach your team to store and transfer personal data safely. Apart from that, it’s also important to seek your employees’ opinions about which format they would like to utilise for their learning. If they prefer online platforms, then leverage new technologies for a convenient and seamless learning experience. Through digital platforms, you can provide online lessons and in-house training sessions. You can likewise connect with cybersecurity experts and organise conferences that talk about threat detection or how to use response tools.
Foster a culture of coaching
According to a 2022 Professional Security feature on the cybersecurity skills gap, 75% of tech workers in the UK report that their organisation’s willingness to dedicate resources and support to developing their cybersecurity skills influences their plans to stay with the company. Fortunately, you can enable professional development through coaching, which is a solution that allows you to increase work engagement levels and optimise your team. With coaching, you can identify which areas your cybersecurity team struggles with—such as threat intelligence, compliance audit, and asset inventory—and create a personalised plan that can bolster their performance.
Specifically, you can do this by sitting down with your cybersecurity team and discussing their professional interests and goals. For instance, you can ask which new skills they want to improve—whether that’s creating back-ups or setting up automatic security updates. Doing so communicates that you’re invested in their professional growth and can motivate them to pursue upskilling opportunities.
Monitor your team’s progress
As shared by a 2023 Stack write-up titled ‘Why Are We Struggling to Find Cybersecurity Talent?’, 51% of all UK-based private firms reported a shortage of basic technical cybersecurity skills. Concerningly, cybersecurity employees fail to upskill when navigating through excessive workloads due to said shortages.
It’s essential to maintain regular communication with your team. For example, encourage your employees to speak up when they feel overwhelmed with their work. You can arrange one-on-one consultations to check if they’re finding it difficult to balance work tasks alongside upskilling sessions. Based on their feedback, you can adjust the training schedule accordingly to ensure that your cybersecurity team is in the right headspace to develop their talent.
Today, it’s important to implement robust cybersecurity measures so businesses can satisfy customers, insurers, and other stakeholders. By dedicating time and resources to upskill your cybersecurity team, you can do just that.
Andrea Collins is a freelance writer who produces articles that focus on the latest cyber security trends. She firmly believes that every business should have the tools needed to deploy robust security measures. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking in nature trails and experimenting with vegan-friendly dishes.