Responses from 1,223 decision makers in 29 countries showed two major trends involving a growing urgency in training and talent management.

In a survey of 1,223 IT and cybersecurity decision makers from 29 countries, across firms with 100 to more than 5,000 employees in industries mainly comprising tech (28%), manufacturing (12%) and financial services (10%), two trends were discerned among the respondents.

Firstly, a cybersecurity skills shortage was found to be posing multiple challenges and repercussions for organizations surveyed, including the occurrence of security breaches and subsequently loss of money. Some eight in 10 organizations surveyed had suffered at least one breach they could attribute to a lack of cybersecurity skills or awareness. Globally, 64% of respondents had experienced breaches that resulted in loss of revenue, recovery costs and/or fines. 

Secondly, the skills gap had remained a top concern for C-level executives polled and was increasingly becoming a board-level priority. Globally, 88% of respondents that had a board of directors reported that their board had asked questions specifically about cybersecurity; 76% had a board of directors that  recommended increases in IT and cybersecurity headcount. 

Other findings

Data from the Fortinet survey on cyber skills gaps indicated other trends among the respondent organizations:

  • 95% believed technology-focused certifications positively impacted their role and their team; 81% preferred to hire people with certifications
  • 91% indicated that they were willing to pay for employees to achieve cyber certifications
  • 87% had implemented a training program to increase cyber awareness; 52% believed their employees still lacked the necessary knowledge
  • 60% indicated their organization struggled with recruitment, while 52% indicated struggling to retain talent 
  • 89% had explicit diversity goals as part of their hiring strategy. Globally, seven out of 10 leaders in the survey saw the recruitment of women and new graduates as a top hiring hurdle; 61% indicated that hiring minorities had been challenging. 75% of respondents had formal structures to specifically recruit more women and 59% had strategies in place to hire minorities. Also, 51% had efforts in place to hire more veterans. 
  • A significant challenge for organizations has been finding and retaining the right people to fill critical security roles ranging from cloud security specialists to SOC analysts

The survey report notes while cybersecurity can sometimes feel like a purely technological domain, the reality is all employees at every level must work together to protect their organization.