Cybersecurity Skills Gap Contributed to 72% of Breaches in Asia

Cybersecurity Skills Gap Contributed to 72% of Breaches in Asia

A Fortinet survey says skills gap contributed to 72% of cybersecurity breaches in Asia while the global report shows that 71% of participating companies are facing difficulty in hiring technology-qualified talents.

Rashish Pandey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications Asia at Fortinet says 63% of those who took the survey agrees that this skill shortage results in severe cybersecurity consequences for the business.

“As more organizations adopt technology such as cloud and automation, the issue of a lack of cybersecurity experts has been exacerbated. Committed to addressing this skill gap, Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda and Training Institute programs were established to increase access and reach of its cybersecurity certifications and training which are deemed important to hiring organizations, as shown in the survey.

“Fortinet has pledged to train 1 million professionals by 2026, and through working with local partners, we have succeeded in issuing more than 840,000 certifications since the inception of the program.”

For Dickson Woo, Country Manager for Fortinet Malaysia, recognising the urgent need for cybersecurity talent in Malaysia, we are working with Malaysian academia and industry partners to provide training and certifications to build the next generations of cybersecurity talents.

“To close the skills gap, it is also crucial for organisations to commit to continuous training and re-training, to develop a diverse group of cybersecurity professionals who can help safeguard Malaysia enterprises against sophisticated and destructive attacks.”

The big skills gap problem

“Fortinet Accelerate Asia 2022: Malaysia Edition was held at The Hilton Kuala Lumpur on 7 June, 2022.”

Fortinet released the Asia findings of the global 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report this week.

The report reveals that the cybersecurity skills shortage continues to have multiple challenges and repercussions for organizations in Asia, including the occurrence of security breaches and subsequently loss of money.

As a result, the skills gap remains a top concern for C-level executives and is increasingly becoming a board-level priority.

The report which surveyed IT and cybersecurity decision makers across countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia also suggests ways the skills gap can be addressed, such as through training and certifications to increase employees’ education. 

Widespread Impact

According to (ISC)2’s 2021 Cyber Workforce Report, the Asia-Pacific has the largest regional workforce gap of 1.42 million. Even though the workforce gap for Asia-Pacific decreased from the previous year, much needs to be done. 

Given the increasing costs of breaches on organizations’ profits and reputation, cybersecurity is becoming more of a board level priority. Across Asia, 89 percent of organizations that have a board of directors reported that their board asks questions specifically about cybersecurity. And 79 percent of organizations have a board of directors who has recommended increases in IT and cybersecurity headcount.

Advancing Cybersecurity Skills

Fortinet’s skills gap report demonstrated that training and certifications are critical ways organizations seek to further tackle the skills gap. The regional report revealed that 97 percent of leaders believe technology-focused certifications positively impact their role and their team, while 86 percent of leaders prefer to hire people with certifications. Additionally, 89 percent of respondents shared they are willing to pay for an employee to achieve cyber certifications. One major reason for certifications being highly regarded is due to their validation of increased cybersecurity knowledge and awareness.  

What impacts have certifications made?

Besides valuing certifications, 93 percent of organizations have implemented a training program to increase cyber awareness. However, 51 percent of leaders believe their employees still lack necessary knowledge, which raises questions about how effective their current security awareness programs are.

For organizations looking for security awareness training, Fortinet offers a Security Awareness and Training service through the award-winning Fortinet Training Institute. The service further protects organizations’ critical digital assets from cyber threats by building employee cybersecurity awareness. This service receives updates from Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs threat intelligence so that employees are learning and keeping up with the latest evolving cyberattack methods to prevent company breaches and risks from being introduced.

Recruitment and Retention Challenges

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 report found that 60 percent of leaders in Asia admit their organization struggles with recruitment and 57 percent struggle to retain talent. 

“As we witness the pivotal recovery in our nation’s digital economy, the road ahead is opportune as Malaysians have a more profound awareness of modern threats in the new cyber age. Malaysia has recorded a need for 20,000 professionals in the cybersecurity workforce by 2025.

“Our collaboration with Malaysian academia and industry partners to provide training and certifications is fundamental to such efforts and fortifies our commitment to shaping the next generation of cybersecurity talents in the country. In addition, improving the urgency of local organisations to hire a diverse group of professionals is highly important, especially in our industry, to avoid talent slipping through the cracks at the expense of business outcomes,” says Dickson Woo, Country Manager for Fortinet Malaysia.

Among hiring challenges is the recruitment of women, new college graduates and minorities. Regionally, 76 percent of organizations see the recruitment of new graduates as the top hiring hurdle, followed by 75 percent of leaders for the recruitment of women. 62 percent said hiring minorities has been challenging. As organizations look to build more capable and more diverse teams, 90 percent of Asian companies have explicit diversity goals as part of their hiring strategy, according to the report.

The report also demonstrated 75 percent of organizations have formal structures to specifically recruit more women and 59 percent have strategies in place to hire minorities. Additionally, 65 percent of organizations have efforts in place to hire more veterans.  

About the Fortinet Skills Gap Survey:

  • The regional survey as part of the global report was conducted among more than 110 IT and cybersecurity decision-makers from Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Survey respondents came from a range of industries, including technology (36%), manufacturing (17%), and professional services (11%).