I recently had the opportunity to participate in a joint webinar between Cisco and Global Knowledge Canada to discuss Cisco’s latest cybersecurity industry research, the security challenges organizations face today, and how organizations can mitigate risks. After a detailed conversation with Brad Haynes, Cisco product specialist at Global Knowledge Canada, here are my top three takeaways.

The Rise of Cyber Attacks

As organizations go through digital business transformation, attack surfaces are increasing and major security breaches continue. In the past few years alone, the frequency and size of security breaches has forced organizations to increase their security budgets in order to simply retain customers. These “just in case” funds are more formally known as incident response retainers. By 2020, leading analyst organization IDC predicts that 80% of enterprises will have incident response retainers in order to combat potential security breaches.

Businesses Struggling to Keep Pace

Businesses and IT security professionals must focus on their most important goal: protecting their data. But few businesses are actually keeping pace with the rapid advancements of cyber attackers. In 2014, 64% of businesses reported that their security infrastructure was up to date; in 2015, that number decreased to 59%. Cisco’s 2016 Annual Security Report determined that only 45% of businesses feel confident in their ability to measure the scope of an attack and remediate the damage. These figures present compelling evidence that organizations not only need incident detection and response plans in place but also individuals with the right skills to implement new infrastructure and monitoring systems.

The Need for Talent

In the marketplace today, there is a need for a new breed of security professional. In fact, companies rate shortage of IT staff and skills as a major challenge when it comes to security. According to Forrester’s The State of Network Security, 56% see staffing challenges as a barrier to enabling more secure systems. In response to this overwhelming need for security skills, Cisco created the Cisco Global Cybersecurity Scholarship, and we’re currently investing $10 million in a two-year scholarship program to increase the pool of talent with critical cybersecurity proficiency. Through the scholarship program, Cisco offers free training, mentoring, and testing designed to help you earn Cisco Certified Network Associate Cyber Ops certification and hone the skills needed for the job role of security operations center analyst.

To learn more about how Learning@Cisco is addressing the need for updated security skills, visit http://cs.co/90058mYD7. To listen to the full “Defend Your Data” webinar, visit http://cs.co/90038mQxc.


Tejas R Vashi

Senior Director, Product Strategy & Marketing

Learning@Cisco, Cisco Services