Cyber security expert shortage: How software can help

by Sep 19, 2022

There is currently a shortage of professional cyber security experts in Africa, which can make it difficult for enterprises to find and retain the right people. In fact, a report by ESG suggests that 70% of companies in Africa believe that they have been negatively affected by this cyber security skills shortage.

The question is how can enterprises protect their digital assets, data and customer information. Upskilling, training and educating employees is an effective solution to improving cyber security and mitigating the risks associated with human behaviour. However, this may be a time-consuming process and employees may leave the company to pursue other opportunities, putting the business right back where it started – with a skills gap.

The long-term solution is to implement cyber security software that can autonomously monitor digital systems and alert cyber security teams when any threat is detected. These digital solutions ensure that an enterprise’s IT systems are kept up-to-date and active at all times, which saves time for IT teams and becomes a cost-effective solution to the skills shortage.

Which cyber security software is critical?

Enterprises should include the following cyber security software in their digital arsenal:

  • Endpoint security – Endpoints are the physical devices linked to the company network, such as laptops, smartphones and mainframes. These devices need to be equipped with automated security and protection.
  • Antivirus – This is one of the most common software solutions for basic cyber attacks. All companies should keep their antivirus protection up-to-date and registered.
  • Network monitoring software – This automated software detects abnormalities, such as traffic spikes (a sign of a DDoS attack) and malware.
  • Security information and event management (SIEM) – This software will analyse any security alerts generated by various applications and it offers real-time mitigation of threats.
  • Penetration testing software – This software simulates various cyber threats and automatically tests the digital defences. It can let you know where any weaknesses lie in your cyber security systems.

Combining software with human resources

When both of these solutions are used in conjunction, the resulting improvement in cyber security can be marked. Skills training should be offered to all employees, regardless of their job functions. However, IT teams should undergo advanced training sessions for behavioural awareness, ethics and cyber security programmes. They need to know how to deal with more complex situations and how to better understand the software used by the company.

It is estimated that there are only a few thousand true cyber security experts in Africa. Training employees can take several years so this critical shortage also needs to be tackled with world-class smart software. Automated cyber security systems offer an immediate solution to any staff shortage. These systems offer automatic threat detection and mitigation, which minimises time for incident response and the potential for damage caused by a cyber attack.

Protecting progress in cyber security

No business wants to spend money on staff training and world-class software just to be left vulnerable after a few months. Cyber security is an ongoing process that requires constant skills transfer, education and software updates. Enterprises need to protect their progress by keeping their workforce informed. Enrolling staff in new certifications and getting them to attend regular seminars is important.

In addition, it’s vital that staff are kept motivated and happy so that they don’t leave the company with their new skills and knowledge. Burnout, stress and better opportunities are major reasons for attrition. Career development opportunities, a better work-life balance and other benefits can go a long way toward employee morale and motivation.

Hooded person in dark room with blue computer graphics and fraud symbols floating in the air

In addition, cyber security teams need to remain on top of the latest developments. All software updates need to be implemented and new security systems need to be assessed for their effectiveness on an ongoing basis. The synergy between software and staff cannot be stressed enough.

Large businesses also need to comply with national legislation. For example, South Africa and Zambia have both implemented new cyber security laws and cybercrimes acts. These may affect how businesses operate in terms of security software and employee training. Remaining compliant with legislation is vital when it comes to consumer data and personal information.

For African companies, from startups to multinational enterprises, the recognition of the importance of cyber security and the associated risks is a crucial factor for success. Data leaks and hacks can cripple a business, whether financially or through reputational damage. Skills development and software should be used together to combat the current expertise shortage.

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At 4C Group of Companies, we strive to effect operational changes and cost savings for customers through our iNSight product and associated services. This product’s main function is to re-purpose and deliver business-critical information to a variety of systems and stakeholders. 

We specialise in information assurance, business assurance, FinTech solutions and a variety of business systems. For more insights into our products and services, check out our blog page or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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