As Cyber Attacks Increase, Talent Gap Widens

Over the past few years, cyber-attacks on American businesses have increased at an exponential rate – with few industries being spared. In the past week alone, officials from the UCLA Health System announced that sensitive personal or medical information on as many as 4.5 million individuals was accessed in a criminal cyber-attack, while CVS’s online photo service,, fell victim to a similar breach where customer credit card information may have been collected.

While cyber-attacks continue to hit the front pages of our newspapers and enterprises from Wall Street to Main Street, a glaring skills gap has emerged: a severe lack of highly-skilled cyber warriors to combat the ever-increasing threats.

In the 2015 Black Hat Attendee Survey of over 450 respondents of top-level security expertsreleased last week, “73 percent of Black Hat attendees say it is likely that they will have to respond to a significant compromise in the coming year: 13 percent say they have ‘no doubt’ about it, 24 percent say that it’s ‘highly likely,’ and 36 percent say that it’s ‘somewhat likely.’”

Out of these same security professionals, only 27 percent of respondents said they have “enough staff to defend itself against current threats” while “nearly a quarter (22 percent) described their security departments as being ‘completely underwater.’”

While many companies and industries have committed to increased spending on IT security, the ability to find highly-trained and skilled workers is keeping companies from securing their critical I.P.

"We don't have enough expertise in the right places now," said Peter Singer, former director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings Institute and a strategist at the New American Foundation. "We often frame cybersecurity as a technology problem. It is a human problem."

At General Dynamics Commercial Cyber Services, we are retaining, recruiting and investing in a workforce we think is unmatched in the private sector. The depth and expertise of our cyber security staff is bolstered by our vast reach-back we have access to the larger General Dynamics organization that taps into the expertise of employees who provide support to key government agencies – something we have been doing for over 40 years. Now, many in the private sector are looking to recruit similarly trained cyber personnel.