A Tripwire survey has found that 79 percent of respondents said they believe the need for technical skills among security staff has increased over the past two years.

More than 50 percent cited network monitoring, IT fundamentals and vulnerability management as the most important technical security skills needed on security teams.

In addition, almost half of the respondents (47 percent) were concerned about losing security capabilities altogether in the event of a skills gap. Of those, 52 percent were concerned about staying on top of vulnerabilities, 29 percent were concerned with keeping track of devices and software on the network, and 24 percent were concerned about identifying and responding to issues in a timely manner and staying on top of emerging threats.

“Considering the recent high-profile threats that have been attributed to unpatched systems, it’s no wonder respondents are concerned that a technical skills gap could leave their organizations exposed to new vulnerabilities,” said Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire. “I’m encouraged to see that respondents are prioritizing skills for foundational security controls, such as vulnerability management and network monitoring, when they’re hiring.” 

Respondents were also asked how they expect their security team’s expertise to grow in the next few years, with the following results:

  • Eighty-eight percent expect the need for expertise in the cloud to increase.
  • Seventy-seven percent expect the need for expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) to increase.
  • Seventy-seven percent expect the need for expertise in DevOps to increase.

Looking outside their organizations, 97 percent say technology vendors can help address the skills gap and 91 percent of respondents said specifically that they will outsource security skills to address the technical skills gap.

Erlin continued: “Growing adoption of cloud, IoT and DevOps brings about new challenges that security teams will need to keep up with, and if organizations want to bridge a technical skills gap they should look to work with security vendors and managed security providers who can help them address today’s major attack types, while also offering training to their existing IT teams. As security continues to become an even bigger challenge for organizations we can expect to see more and more businesses outsourcing to gain security expertise in the future.”