Andy Hague


Due to the ever-evolving nature of security threats, cybersecurity compliance is an on-going concern for many organisations. The most high-profile regulation at present, GDPR, has proved particularly challenging (and expensive) to satisfy. It’s estimated that, even a full year after implementation, 52% of UK businesses are still non-compliant with GDPR, despite the huge fines doled out to companies like BA and Marriott for breaches of data protection law.

But why are so many businesses falling foul of these rules? What is preventing these organisations from meeting their security requirements?

The Skills Gap

One of the main issues is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals. Organisations worldwide have found it increasingly difficult to attract the security talent necessary to properly defend against cyber threats, and this has left many struggling to fulfil their compliance obligations. This skills shortage has caused existing salaries to skyrocket and put many businesses in a state of vulnerability, non-compliance, and without the resources to rectify these issues themselves.

The effects of the skills gap have been compounded by a growing demand for cyber defence, in reaction to the continued rise in cyberattacks. A conservative estimate from Bromium suggests that cybercriminals generated at least $1.5 trillion in revenue in 2018. Meanwhile Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be as many as 3.5 million unfilled security roles by 2021.

As well as driving a greater demand for new talent, the current labour shortage has also put considerable strain on existing security professionals. Understaffing and stress are rife in the cybersecurity world, and Ponemon Institute found that 65% of IT and security professionals consider quitting due to burnout. In short, cyber security departments are being overrun.

While there are several plans in motion to aid with overcoming the skills gap, including expanded academic programmes in higher education and wider industry recruitment drives, these initiatives could still take many years to bear fruit.

So, what do we do right now? Instead of trying to bridge the skills gap, it may be beneficial for organisations to overcome it another way. But how?

Skirting the Skills Gap

This is where a cybersecurity partnership with a specialist provider can help. Outsourcing security expertise can give your business the tools to create a secure digital structure which can then be managed by you or your partner. All without the need to undergo a lengthy and expensive hiring process.

It’s also important to note that being secure doesn’t necessarily mean your organisation needs the latest, most advanced, or most expensive solutions available.

Instead, look at what defences your business realistically needs. Where are your threats coming from? In the overwhelming majority of cases (95%) data breaches have actually been caused by human error. So, based on that, you can extrapolate that a strong internal culture of security could prove far more beneficial to your long-term security than any number of high-tech cyber defence solutions could.

However, because of this human penchant for error, your new cybersecurity regimen must become your own internal compliance benchmark. Imagine your internal regulations are as severely enforced as GDPR, and always bear in mind what is at stake should you fail in this duty. This is sound advice for any organisation, even those with state-of-the-art security systems.

The Value of Compliance

A great cybersecurity partner will use compliance laws and regulations as the bedrock of their client’s security, but then expand upon them to instil a wider culture of cybersecurity best practices in staff. From this fortified starting position, you and your partner can work together to establish robust cybersecurity habits in the organisation. Encourage strong password discipline, explain the ins and outs of phishing, and ensure that everyone is aware of what to do in the event of a cybersecurity policy failure.

This is as much about re-organisation than anything else. If we add rules on rules and regulations on regulations in ever increasing byzantine complexity, things become extremely difficult to parse, even for hardened security teams. By restructuring your organisation’s network and security with expert help, you can ease the workload on existing employees, allowing you to focus on the wider culture of your organisation. Make it easier for your organisation to learn how to stay safe.

Partnering will give you the tools to treat compliance not as a difficult-to-reach goal, but the bare minimum, a foundation upon which to build a secure organisation. By using existing legislation to guide the installation of security best practices and procedures, business can remain secure much further into the future.

It’s a dangerous world out there in cyberspace, and businesses are right to be concerned by the skills gap, but it is possible to overcome it. It just takes some outside help.

To learn more about cybersecurity partnerships and the cybersecurity skills gap be sure to read our whitepaper ‘Solving the Cyber Skills Challenge’.

Other resources

Case studies

Our cyber consulting team works with clients from public sector bodies and global businesses to SMEs and start-ups. Read our success stories here. Learn more >


See what our team have been discussing around current issues in regulation and data security, and recommended processes and policies that will benefit your business. Learn more >


In our collection of whitepapers, Cyberfort’s cyber consulting experts explore issues from cyber threat intelligence to incident planning and data security. Read our whitepapers to help make informed decisions for the benefit of your business.Learn more >