What Spikes in Cloud Security Training Tell Us

October 3, 2022 | Cybersecurity & CISO Insights | 8 min read

The lightning-fast adoption of cloud technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic had an undeniable effect on global business. It provided a successful way for organizations to deliver service and employment in a time of worldwide uncertainty, but it's a success that comes at a price. While cloud technology offers more access to data, it also means that organizations must take greater care to ensure their data remains secure.

Cloud security is a highly technical process, and this widespread adoption uncovered a gap in the labor market. As a result, many organizations and individuals took the initiative to gain the skills needed to support cloud initiatives long term.

At Skillsoft, we’ve seen this trend play out in a noticeable growth of course consumption, particularly in cybersecurity and cloud. Between 2020 and 2021, learners were eager for information on security essentials, infosec, cloud security, cybersecurity, and ethical hacking. Overall, security saw the most significant growth in the number of hours consumed by learners.

Cybersecurity was among the highest areas of growth in training last year, increasing by 59%, according to data from Skillsoft’s learning experience platform Percipio. Cloud security in particular saw a high concentration of consumption as more practitioners sought to understand and strengthen their knowledge in this area. Further, secure coding grew by 30%, indicating that many organizations saw value in reinforcing and promoting security among their distributed development teams.

In 2021, we also saw a shift in what digital badge learners dedicated themselves to earning. In 2020 learners were interested in understanding their biases and navigating their roles in the new hybrid workforce. In 2021, learners were all in on application security, API security, and cloud security fundamentals. These spikes in cloud security training further point to the fact that organizations worldwide are concerned about their cyber and cloud security.

See also: Skillsoft’s cybersecurity training provides professionals with chances to practice what they learn through code challenges, simulations and personalized learning. Learn more.

Cloud security skills mitigate risk

The largest corporations in the world and the smallest businesses rely on secure data to deliver excellent customer service. However, while it is essential for data to stay safe, the closer it gets to the consumer, the less secure it will be.

For example, the algorithms that provide custom recommendations based on previous purchases, and virtual shopping carts, are the weakest link in online shopping portals. Regardless, these features are now ingrained in customers’ habits and expectations, so they likely won’t go away. Instead, they must be patched, monitored, and secured.

Many companies moved to the cloud because it makes doing business on a larger scale easier. Keeping online portals and applications up and running is more manageable in the cloud, which allows IT teams to improve how they utilize resources across services. But, each cloud service a business operates adds more complexity to its overall security operation.

Unstable cloud architectures can not only lead to data breaches but may also cause latency in service, which can impact sales. Therefore, organizations must ensure their cloud architecture is stable, secure, and available 24x7x365, which is not always easy to do with the current state of the cybersecurity industry.

Usually, when adopting new technology, organizations move slowly. They want a chance to kick the tires and ensure the technology works and is safe, but many couldn’t dedicate the time or resources to ensure total security. As a result, we see several challenges rising in the cybersecurity space today.

As state actors execute increasingly high-profile hacks on government and global corporations and people retire from long-held security positions taking their industry knowledge with them, a widening knowledge gap is forming in cybersecurity. Simply put, there are not enough cybersecurity professionals to keep all our data safe.

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A data-driven world needs skilled security professionals

There is a lack of talent in the cybersecurity industry due to several factors:

  • Professionals are retiring and taking their institutional knowledge with them.
  • Companies don’t have the budget to attract skilled candidates.
  • Technology is advancing rapidly in use and complexity, and current skills can’t keep up.
  • Hackers never stop learning how to exploit these technological advancements.

To see the benefits of the new era of connected business, many corporations are realizing the high cost of hiring professionals to handle IT security.

Even with a significant bump in investment by IT departments, up to 50% in some companies, organizations are still struggling with hiring skilled cloud and cybersecurity candidates.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have seen a significant leap in learners consuming cloud security courses, signaling that many realize this challenge and have begun to respond by earning the required skills.

The ability to scale on demand is a priority for many organizations, but they must ensure that growth happens securely. If confidential information about your clients, customers, or employees becomes the target of a breach, then it’s not just cloud security that you’ll need to upgrade. You’ll need to take steps to restore both the economic and reputational damage caused by the breach to your company and network.

Skillsoft CISO Okey Obudulu presented at SecurityWeek’s Cloud Security Summit in 2022, offering advice and strategies for security leaders to better prepare their workforces to face emerging threats. See the on-demand recording here.

Adaptability comes through learning

Top talent costs the business. You don’t hear much about big tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM being the target of a data breach — because they can afford to hire the best. As a result, when clients use Amazon or Microsoft cloud products, those clients worry less about data security. But, if you don’t have these organizations’ vast resources, you must find another pathway toward unbeatable security skills.

The most successful way forward is to train your IT security management team to be versatilists; a versatilist is someone with a future-proof skillset that is both broad and deep. When time and security matter, organizations need professionals with comprehensive knowledge and deep expertise. The idea is simple, but in execution, it takes time and investment to train versatilists.

It’s a complex and intense career path, and the people who succeed tend to be lifelong learners. The good news is that learning can be fostered with the proper learning and development solutions. Organizations must provide tools to help talent become comfortable being on the chaotic front lines of cybersecurity.

Being successful on the front lines means versatilists not only need world-class tech skills but strong interpersonal “power” skills as well. Examples of power skills include awareness of personal bias, resilience, active listening, mindful communication, conflict resolution, and the effective giving and receiving of feedback.

When it comes time for an organization's cloud and security teams to recommend immediate action, that team needs an effective communicator to get executive leadership on board. These are skills that an organization can foster through leadership training and development.

Upskilling and reskilling can meet cybersecurity demands

To sum up, enterprises need to remain nimble to cope with disruption. The best way to do this is by providing opportunities for employees to reskill and upskill. Therefore, a fully supported learning and skills development program must accurately assess employees’ training needs to keep pace with the fluid nature of learning.

Skills in demand yesterday may not be relevant in a few months, but the safety of sensitive data and information cannot take a back seat. Any organization that wants to train talented versatilists needs to be a stalwart learning partner that provides agile and inclusive learning programs that don't get bogged down by the natural evolution of a changing workplace.

Skillsoft offers a holistic approach to assessing skill gaps, offering personalized learning, and measuring progress over time. Through the Cybersecurity and Cloud Career Journeys, organizations can equip their technical teams with myriad learning resources, including on-demand and live courses, hands-on practice labs and simulations, and far more.

Read more about Skillsoft’s Technology & Developer Career Journeys here.