IoT Talent Shortage has Potential for Major Cybersecurity Concerns

The internet of things (IoT) is a rapidly expanding market, but the talent pool has yet to catch up. People are growing more and more concerned with the information stored in their intelligent fridges and smart tractors, but few people have the skills to keep that data safe.

A new survey from Inmarsat surveyed enterprise-sized companies and the current state of their IoT technology and staff. Twenty-one percent of respondents had fully deployed IoT solutions and 33 percent had at least partially deployed IoT solutions.

But the most glaring statistic in the report is not the growth of IoT usage, but the lack of preparedness in properly staffing teams for IoT security and maintenance. Seventy-six percent of the organizations need additional staff to safely deploy IoT solutions.

Four of five respondents were without staff with hands-on IoT delivery experience and 60 percent would need additional security staff. At this point, the technology has evolved much faster than the education and workforce.

Companies continue to struggle recruiting workers skilled in artificial intelligence software development, data sciences and user experience. G2 Crowd’s recently looked into this with our 2018 trends and how artificial intelligence future will impact businesses.

We surveyed more than 3,000 people and the two hardest roles to fill were “highly skilled (specialists)” and IT professionals, with 70.1 and 54 percent of respondents reporting difficulties. Those two types of roles were the most difficult to fill across small, mid-sized, and enterprise businesses.

Surely having the best recruiting software can help companies stay ahead of the curve. But that still leaves an extreme shortage of qualified candidates across company size and industry.

And that shortage leaves consumers at risk. There have already been many documented cases in which vulnerable IoT endpoints have been linked by malware and used in DDoS attacks like the WannaCry events earlier in 2017.

According to the Inmarsat report, only two percent of respondents said IoT creates zero security-related challenges. And honestly, those two percent of respondents may not totally understand the scope of threats presented by vulnerable endpoints.

Fleets of trucks could be taken control of and medical devices could be sabotaged. The hypotheticals range from malfunctioning smart toasters to millions of infected devices that affect companies, citizens and data.

Only 13 percent of Inmarsat respondents said board-level staff fully understood IoT, and that’s not to say average employees have any better an understanding. Few people are surprised such a gap in training and education exists.

G2 Crowd’s survey showed, “the most common response cause of hiring difficulties in aggregate, and for the small-business and enterprise respondents, is ‘lack of experienced candidates.’”

Unless our education systems and job training opportunities evolve to manage the growing threats of rapidly expanding technologies, companies will struggle to find job candidates with the skills needed to develop, secure and maintain IoT systems.

In the meantime, business owners and IT workers should brush up on cybersecurity threats and the security software that can help prevent digital disasters.

Learn more by exploring the biggest Cybersecurity threats in 2018.