South Africa

Building a cybersecurity workforce in the face of rising demand

Zuleika Pinda
Head of Recruitment and Talent Sourcing
Paracon
2 mins

Today’s digital threat landscape is evolving at an alarming rate, which means most businesses are rapidly recognising the need for robust cybersecurity measures. But there is a challenge. Across the globe, and specifically in South Africa, the cybersecurity sector is grappling with severe skills shortages. There’s a large—and growing—gap between the demand for cybersecurity experts and the available talent pool. So, how can businesses address this issue and strengthen their defences? 

 Create a cyber awareness culture 

 First, cybersecurity cannot be the responsibility of a small, isolated team. Every employee, from the C-suite to the frontline, must possess at least a foundational understanding of the cyber risks they face daily. Regular workshops, simulations, and awareness campaigns can ensure that all employees understand the basics of cybersecurity, the common threats they might face, and the best practices to avoid them. 

 Cybersecurity is also not just an IT concern; it impacts every facet of an organisation. Engaging departments such as HR, legal, marketing, and operations in cybersecurity conversations ensures a holistic approach to security. Cross-functional collaboration can help in identifying hidden vulnerabilities and blind spots. 

 Put people first 

 Once a cyber-awareness culture is in place, it all comes down to people and how to get the right skills into the right positions to protect the organisation. Given the scarcity of external talent, there is huge value in looking inward and upskilling. Offering training programs, workshops, and certifications for existing staff is a great way to address a skills shortage that will only continue to grow. Employees also value upskilling opportunities, which means these types of initiatives can serve the dual purpose of staff retention and skill augmentation (and in an age of automation, fine-tuning human skills is a must-have). 

 However, as critical as future-focused upskilling is, it doesn’t address the current talent gap. Fortunately, on-demand IT resourcing solutions have emerged to address this challenge. These solutions, often powered by sophisticated platforms, connect businesses with contractual cybersecurity experts on an as-needed basis. This approach provides flexibility, allowing businesses to scale their cybersecurity efforts up or down based on the current threat landscape and project requirements. 

 Beyond just on-demand resourcing, augmenting staff solutions is about integrating external experts into your existing teams. This not only plugs the skill gap but also facilitates the exchange of knowledge and best practices. External experts can bring fresh perspectives, innovative solutions, and experience from diverse sectors, effectively enriching your cybersecurity posture. 

 Adapt and grow 

 Remember, the threat landscape is not static; new challenges emerge daily. Businesses should adopt a dynamic approach, regularly assessing their cybersecurity stance and evolving accordingly. Periodic audits, penetration testing, and threat modelling can provide insights into potential vulnerabilities and areas of improvement. Ensuring that employees responsible for cybersecurity are at the top of their game and are regularly educating their colleagues and employees across the business is paramount to a strong, successful cyber culture. 

 At Paracon, we offer a range of solutions that help our clients address their skills gaps. Our skilled IT resourcing solution spans a diversified portfolio of IT talent and we can deploy resources across permanent, contracting or project-based requirements. 

 Our staff augmentation solution offers organisations a flexible and cost-effective approach to augmenting their workforce and provides access to specialised skills, resulting in increased productivity and reduced risk of errors or delays. Speak to our team today to discover how we can assist you. 

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Zuleika Pinda
Head of Recruitment and Talent Sourcing
Paracon

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