The global shortage of IT security professionals is rapidly leading to the adoption of AI and Automation in cybersecurity   

While there has been a clear focus on the best ways to safeguard corporate networks and ensure safety from cyber-attacks, CISOs worldwide are facing another big issue – shortage of cybersecurity experts. A recent survey reveals that 63% of organizations do not have enough staff to monitor the threats on a 24/7 basis.

The results of the Ponemon Institute’s survey on staffing in IT security indicates a shortage of IT security talent across geographical regions, with 73% of respondents admitting that their teams are understaffed. The report titled ‘Staffing the IT Security Function in the Age of Automation: A Study of Organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, and APAC,’ is based on feedback from 1,400 IT executives and security professionals in the US, the UK, and APAC.

Fifty-three percent of the respondents listed staff shortages as the main reason why their enterprise has adopted automation solutions. Skills shortages were seen lower in the APAC region at 67%, compared to the US (78%) and the UK (70%). While there is a shortage of staff, CISOs, feel they may have found the solution. As machine learning earns increasing amounts of trust, automation of the systems with AI integration is becoming a solution for many cybersecurity challenges. Security professionals across industries are seen betting heavily on these solutions to overcome the knowledge gap and fill in IT security jobs.

According to respondents, automation is expected to provide a partial solution to the problem. It will relieve the security professionals of activities that are time-consuming and non-cost-effective. Tasks like malware and log analysis are already automated in 79% of companies, or they plan to automate within the next three years.

Though AI and Automation have proven effective, cybersecurity specialists warn they cannot replace jobs. This concern was raised by 35% of the respondents. Experts believe that contrary to the popular belief that rise of automation might threaten the job market, organizations, in fact, feel that these technologies will help ease the current strain on resources and promote job security for highly skilled staff.  Though no security professionals think that their jobs are threatened, almost 40% say that there is a clear need for tech talent with advanced skills. The responses in the report suggest that automation improves the ability to prioritize threats and vulnerabilities (49%) and increases the productivity of current security personnel (47%).

The geographical locations of the respondents play an essential role in how automation is perceived and implemented. 65% of professionals from the US and 59% of professionals in the UK are more likely to resort to AI as a tool to help their teams. While, the APAC region is more skeptical of the technology’s capabilities, as only 48% were likely to trust AI.

Overall, IT security professionals are confident that automation and AI will make their workload manageable and increase the accuracy of particular tasks, but the geographical differences in the level of confidence in AI can make the adoption process slow.