IT security professionals have often rightly felt that they are the only thing standing between trillions of dollars in ongoing business productivity and total utter chaos. Much like any professional dedicated to keeping fellow citizens safe, many of those IT security professionals lament the fact that they don’t get enough support.
But that may be finally changing. At a SpiceWorld 2016 conference a new survey was published this week that identifies security as the area that most IT professionals (62%) want to be able to improve their skills in.
That may not resolve the critical need for more IT security expertise overnight. But it should go a long way to limiting the number of vulnerabilities that hackers now seem to be able to routinely discover. Most of the time when malware does get past a network perimeter it’s because one system has been misconfigured or a critical patch has not been applied. Many hackers employ scanning tools looking for those vulnerabilities, which they then repeatedly exploit to inject malware into systems. If more of the rank and file IT community understands what’s at stake it’s reasonable to assume they will be more proactive about eliminating those vulnerabilities.
Of course, not all the IT professionals looking to improve their IT security skills are doing it for love of company and country. The primary motivation is that most of them have come to realize they can make more money is they have IT security skills. How many of these IT professionals will blossom into full blown IT security experts is, of course, going to be limited. But any strengthening of the thin IT security line that organizations rely on for protection is going to be welcome.
But making more IT professionals with some level of IT security expertise available is not the only source of help coming over the proverbial hill. Well over half of the 700 global IT leaders (57%) surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value said they expect cognitive computing technologies such as IBM Watson to help them better defend their organizations cybercriminals. Another 21 percent said they plan to make use of cognitive computing technologies to enhance IT security within the next two to three years. Couple that with other investments in IT security automation and Big Data analytics applications for IT security and it’s clear that IT professionals with increased IT security skills are only one part of the IT security equation.
None of this means IT security professionals won’t be needed. It just means that a lot of the tasks that consume much of their valuable time will either be handled by others or automated. Free from that burden IT security professionals should be able to focus on what they do best.
Unfortunately, it may still require some time before all these additional forces can be brought to bear. In the meantime, IT security professionals can take some comfort in the fact that help is on the way. Now IT security professionals just need to hope that the proverbial cavalry comes riding over the hill before the organizations they are trying to defend get wiped out.
Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot.Mike also blogs about emerging cloud technology for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda.