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Addressing the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage in Government

The role of culture, workforce development strategy, and AI in maturing security programs within federal government departments and agencies.

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Getting the whole organization on board is a challenge, even as the need to deliver more digitally increases the risk of cyberattacks.

Cyber resilience suffers due to:

  • Inability to retain/hire cybersecurity talent.
  • Lack of modern technology and skilled workforce.
  • Not leveraging digital technology (e.g. AI to assist with cyber resilience efforts).
  • Lack of government investment in cyber technology, cyber products, and cyber workforce development.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

A comprehensive cybersecurity workforce development strategy addresses the inability to hire staff with the desired skills. Define the skills gap in your cyber workforce and build a development plan that includes strategies that fully empower skilled employees to resist cyber threats.

Impact and Result

Digital transformation introduces challenges and opportunities. Info-Tech’s approach involves three elements:

  • Create a cybersecurity culture: Cyber resilience is everybody’s responsibility.
  • Implement a cybersecurity workforce development strategy and hire the right people with the right cyber skills.
  • Harness artificial intelligence to assist with recruitment and threat detection and response.

Addressing the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage in Government Research & Tools

1. Addressing the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage in Government Storyboard – A step-by-step guide that enables federal government departments and agencies to enhance their ability to retain cybersecurity professionals.

Government departments and agencies can use the suggested steps in this research to improve their ability to attract and retain cybersecurity professionals, even in the face of stiff competition from the private sector. By doing so, they can better protect sensitive information and systems and enhance national security.

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Addressing the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage in Government

The role of culture, workforce development strategy, and AI in maturing security programs within federal government departments and agencies.

Analyst Perspective

Governments are increasingly at risk from cyberattacks as they become more digital, requiring them to take proactive measures to enhance their cyber resilience. A common challenge is getting the entire organization on board with cybersecurity measures. This can result in insufficient understanding of strategies and technology, as well as difficulty in maintaining a skilled and engaged workforce.

To address this challenge, Info-Tech suggests a three-pronged approach. First, governments should foster a culture of accountability and collaboration throughout the organization to create a shared responsibility for cybersecurity. Second, governments should implement a comprehensive cyber workforce strategy that includes acquiring individuals with the necessary skills and expertise and investing in innovative training programs and educational partnerships. Third, governments must invest in advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning, to detect threats more quickly and accurately.

Paul Chernousov
Research Director, Industry
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge Common Obstacles Info-Tech’s Approach

Governments are becoming increasingly digital, leading to increasingly diverse cyberattack scenarios.

Cyberattacks are becoming more prevalent and creating serious consequences for government departments and agencies.

Cyberattacks impact governments, businesses, and individuals, by compromising critical infrastructure; disrupting essential services, power, and communication systems; and potentially leaving people without access to the resources they need.

Your government needs to take proactive steps to address these threats and protect citizens from the potentially devastating digital and real-world impacts.

Getting the whole organization on board as the need to deliver more digitally increases the risk of cyberattacks.

Cyber resilience suffers due to:

  • The inability to retain/hire cybersecurity talent.
  • Lack of modern technology and skilled workforce.
  • Not leveraging digital technology (e.g. AI to assist with cyber resilience efforts).
  • Lack of government investment in technology, cyber products, and cyber workforce development.

Digital transformation introduces challenges and opportunities. Info-Tech’s approach involves three elements:

  1. Create a cybersecurity culture: Cyber resilience is everybody’s responsibility.
  2. Implement a cybersecurity workforce development strategy and hire the right people with the right cyber skills.
  3. Harness artificial intelligence to assist with recruitment and threat detection and response.

Info-Tech Insight
A comprehensive cybersecurity workforce development strategy addresses the inability to hire staff with the desired skills. Define the skills gap in your cyber workforce and build a development plan that includes strategies that fully empower skilled employees to resist cyberthreats.

We are in an increasingly vulnerable digital world

Digital transformation often introduces new digital risks for an organization to manage.

95% Percentage of cybersecurity issues that can be traced to human error.

43% Percentage of cybersecurity breaches or infractions represented by insider threats, either intentional or accidental.

Source: GlobeNewsWire, 2021; World Economic Forum, 2022.

Potential workforce risks enabled by digital transformation:

  • New digital identity governance and threat-monitoring challenges
  • Cultural and behavioral changes
  • Lack of skills availability
  • More sophisticated threat actors

Info-Tech Insight
Digital transformation presents new workforce risks, such as cyberthreats and challenges associated with distributed workforce. Organizations need to proactively address these risks to ensure a successful digital transformation at all levels.

Digital transformation enables improved outcomes

Digital technologies are integrated into all aspects of public sector operations, fundamentally changing the way services are delivered and how value is provided to citizens. This transformation also involves a cultural shift, as government departments and agencies need to continually challenge traditional processes, experiment, and adapt to new ways of working.

Digital citizen experience
Enhancing citizen interactions and satisfaction by leveraging digital technologies to provide seamless, personalized, and data-driven experiences in accessing government services.
Examples: Online portals for tax filing, mobile applications for reporting civic issues, and chatbots for addressing public queries.

Operational efficiency
Streamlining and automating government processes to improve productivity, reduce costs, and optimize resource use.
Examples: Implementing cloud-based systems for interagency collaboration and using predictive analytics to optimize public service delivery.

Policy and service innovation
<>Adapting or creating new policies and services that leverage digital technologies to deliver value in new ways or to better address citizen needs.
Examples: Implementing digital identity solutions, using open data platforms to improve transparency, and leveraging data-driven insights to inform policy decisions.

Workforce enablement
Empowering public sector employees with the right digital tools, skills, and mindset to adapt to the evolving work environment and contribute effectively to the government's digital transformation journey.
Examples: Providing digital skills training, implementing collaboration tools (e.g. Slack, Microsoft Teams), and promoting a culture of continuous learning and innovation.

Data and analytics
Leveraging data-driven insights to inform decision-making, optimize processes, and drive innovation across government organizations.
Examples: Applying machine learning algorithms to predict citizen behavior, using big data analytics to identify social trends, and employing real-time data monitoring to optimize resource allocation.

Digital security
Implementing robust cybersecurity measures to protect government digital assets, citizen data, and overall digital infrastructure.
Examples: Deploying AI-based threat detection systems, establishing secure data storage and encryption protocols, and conducting regular security audits and training.

Digital transformation is also creating new attack surfaces

Digital transformation is introducing new technologies, systems, and processes to government departments and agencies, leading to the following obstacles:

Expanded digital landscape and cyberthreats
Digital transformation in government involves the integration of new technologies, systems, and processes that lead to an increased exposure to cyberthreats. These include malware, ransomware, and other forms of cybercrime.

Cultivating a cybersecurity-aware culture
New challenges make it essential for governmental departments and agencies to foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness within their workforce. This includes providing regular training and promoting a shared responsibility to maintain digital security.

Addressing the cybersecurity talent gap
The growing complexity of cyberthreats necessitates a skilled cybersecurity workforce in government. However, a shortage of cybersecurity talent makes it challenging to effectively combat these threats and safeguard digital infrastructure.

Enhancing cyber resilience and security
To mitigate the risks of cyberthreats, government departments and agencies must prioritize the creation of robust cybersecurity strategies, invest in employee training, and collaborate with external parties to enhance their cyber defense capabilities.

Digital threats are coming from various actors

Threats to cybersecurity can come from a multitude of sources. One common source is email phishing scams, where attackers send fraudulent emails designed to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious software.

Other sources of digital threats include unsecured networks and devices, malicious software downloads, and social engineering attacks. It is important for individuals and organizations to stay vigilant and educated about these threats to protect their sensitive information and assets.

The nature of cybersecurity risks is changing

Remote/Hybrid workers

Traditional security models rely on perimeter-based defenses that assume everything within the network is trustworthy. This can be an issue since threats can originate from within that network.

Traditional security measures such as firewalls, antivirus, and intrusion detection systems may not be sufficient against increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats.

The attack surface is becoming more complex

The adoption of new and emerging technologies, such as automation and digital transformation concepts, introduces additional vulnerability at all organizational levels.

The complexity of the attack surface can make it difficult for organizations to identify and mitigate all potential vulnerabilities, increasing the risk of successful cyberattacks.

Automation brings additional cybersecurity risks

Automation has led to several types of cybersecurity attack

DDoS Wipers Espionage Disinformation
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are a cyberattack from multiple remote locations intended to cripple an organization’s online operations. Wiper attacks are a type of cyberattack that destroys data on infected machines. Cyber espionage is a type of cyberattack committed against a rival business or governmental organization with the goal of obtaining sensitive information. Disinformation refers to false information that is spread with the specific intent of misleading or deceiving people. It is sometimes confused with misinformation. Misinformation is defined as false information but is not deliberate.

Cisco Ransomware Attack

On the same day that the Yanluowang ransomware group published a partial list of files it says were stolen from Cisco, the networking giant's Talos Intelligence Group confirmed that Cisco had, indeed, been hacked. Cisco said the initial access vector was through the successful phishing of an employee’s personal Google account, which ultimately compromised their credentials and led to access to the Cisco VPN.

WannaCry Ransomware

In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected hundreds of thousands of computers in over 150 countries. The attack exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system, and it was able to spread quickly due to the widespread use of automated systems and tools. Several government agencies and organizations, including the UK's National Health Service, were impacted by the attack.

External factors are driving cybersecurity risks

Digital Transformation 82% of IT security and C-level executives reported experiencing at least one data breach directly resulting from a digital transformation. 1
Lack of Staff Training 70% Reduction in security risks when organizations invest in cybersecurity training and awareness. 2
Cloud Computing 59% of ransomware attacks where the data was encrypted involved data in the public cloud. 3

1 Ponemon, 2020.
2 Security Boulevard, 2021.
3 Sophos News, “State of Ransomware,” 2020.

Governments are challenged to attract and retain top talent

Governments face significant difficulties when it comes to attracting and retaining top cybersecurity talent for several key reasons:

Offering competitive salaries compared to the private sector could greatly enhance governments’ ability to attract top cybersecurity talent.

Limited opportunities for career growth and professional development in the public sector can discourage cybersecurity professionals from pursuing government roles.

Rigid bureaucratic processes within government organizations may limit the ability of cybersecurity professionals to innovate and respond quickly to emerging threats.

The lack of autonomy in many government agencies can further discourage talented cybersecurity professionals from choosing public sector careers.

The lack of flexible work environments that foster innovation and creativity should be avoided in order to attract and retain skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Hiring delays and skills gaps are fueling resource challenges

Hiring is taking too long
59% of organizations report taking 3 months or more to fill a vacant cybersecurity position.
Source: ISACA, 2020

Cybersecurity has a skills gap
30% report IT knowledge as the most prevalent skills gap in today’s cybersecurity professionals.
Source: ISACA, 2020

Develop a staffing strategy:

Security leaders should not use staffing benchmarks to justify their requests for resources. However, while staffing benchmarks are useful for quick peer-to-peer validation and decision making, they tend to reduce security programs to a set of averages that can be misleading when used out of context.

Determine what security services need to be provided, the level of demand, and what it will take to meet that demand currently and in the coming years.

Develop a staffing strategy. Use insights to predict what roles need to be hired, what skills need to be developed, and whether outsourcing is an option.

Internal cybersecurity risks cannot be ignored

Alert Fatigue Efficient decision-making and reducing mundane tasks are crucial for effective cybersecurity. The evolving threat landscape leads to too many false alarms and time-consuming tasks for analysts, resulting in alert fatigue and the fear of missing an incident.
Skills Shortages Investment in cybersecurity personnel is necessary for organizational protection. Acquiring and retaining skilled cybersecurity talent is challenging for organizations, with not all being able to invest in a dedicated security team.
Solutions Zoo Orchestration and integration of cybersecurity solutions are key to an effective system. Organizations often use diverse toolsets for threat management, complicating SecOps processes.
Lack of Insight Distilling lessons into insights is vital for improving future accuracy in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity still faces challenges from complexity and working in silos, with lessons learned not yet fully transformed into actionable insights.
Lack of Visibility The convergence of OT, IoT, and IT is crucial to enhancing threat management. Complete visibility of the threat landscape, risks, and assets requires system integration and a consistent workflow across an organization.

Adapted from IBM, “What Is Threat Management?” 2020.

Create a Cybersecurity Culture

Cyber resilience is everybody’s responsibility

Every employee plays a crucial role in safeguarding the organization’s digital assets

Mitigating cybersecurity risks requires everyone to row in the same direction

Unite employees to protect digital assets Build knowledge to bridge the cybersecurity gap Communicate and collaborate to build cyber resilience
Engage employees to build a culture of protection. It is vital for organizations to adopt a unified approach to cybersecurity as cyberthreats become increasingly complex. Knowledge is an organization's most powerful asset in the fight against cyberthreats. By providing comprehensive and ongoing cybersecurity education reinforced by policies to all employees, organizations can bridge the knowledge gap that often leaves them vulnerable to attacks. Effective cyber resilience relies on the collaboration and communication of everyone within an organization. By sharing insights and knowledge, employees can work together to identify vulnerabilities, respond to incidents, and prevent cyberattacks.
Train all employees. By involving everyone in cybersecurity training and emphasizing the importance of vigilance, organizations can create a strong, cyber-resilient workforce that is prepared to tackle the challenges of an ever-changing digital landscape. A well-informed workforce is better equipped to recognize and respond to potential threats and risks, making it an invaluable component of a robust cyber defense strategy. Encouraging an open dialogue and fostering a collaborative atmosphere not only strengthens the organization's security posture, but also promotes a sense of shared responsibility for cyber resilience.

Checklist: Foster a cybersecurity-conscious culture

Develop a culture of awareness and responsibility

  • Establish a cybersecurity policy: Develop a policy outlining expectations, roles, and responsibilities of all stakeholders, departments, and agencies.
  • Identify and prioritize cybersecurity risks: Conduct a risk assessment to identify and prioritize cybersecurity risks based on their potential impact on government operations.
  • Develop and implement a cybersecurity framework: Develop and implement a cybersecurity framework based on industry standards such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework.
  • Implement cybersecurity training and awareness programs: Provide regular training and awareness programs for employees to ensure they are aware of the latest threats and best practices.
  • Implement cybersecurity technologies: Deploy cybersecurity technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, anti-virus software, and vulnerability scanners.
  • Develop incident response plans: Develop and test incident response plans to ensure that all stakeholders know their roles and responsibilities in the event of a cybersecurity incident.
  • Foster partnerships: Foster partnerships with other government departments/agencies, industry, and academia to share threat intelligence and collaborate on cybersecurity initiatives.
  • Make cybersecurity a priority for digital transformation projects: Ensure that cybersecurity is a priority for all digital transformation projects by embedding cybersecurity requirements into the planning, design, and implementation phases.
  • Continuously improve: Continuously improve the government's cybersecurity program by assessing new threats, vulnerabilities, and technologies and adapting the program accordingly.

Implement a Cybersecurity Workforce Development Strategy

Upskill your IT team by going beyond certifying knowledge to assuring competence

A cybersecurity workforce development strategy ensures security, compliance, and efficiency

National security
Digital transformation initiatives can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations, but they also introduce new cybersecurity risks.
Building a strong and resilient cybersecurity workforce is essential for ensuring that digital transformation initiatives are secure and that government operations are not disrupted by cyberattacks or data breaches.

Federal departments and agencies are required to comply with a range of cybersecurity regulations and standards, including the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).
Creating a strong and resilient cybersecurity workforce is imperative for meeting these compliance requirements and protecting government data and systems.

Efficiency and effectiveness
Cybersecurity is essential for protecting national security, and the federal government has a critical role to play in securing the country's critical infrastructure, defense systems, and sensitive data.
Ensuring that the government has a strong and resilient cybersecurity workforce is crucial for maintaining national security in the face of growing cyberthreats.

A strong cybersecurity workforce development strategy provides additional benefits

Addresses Cyber Workforce Shortages Enhances Collaboration Increases Cyber Workforce Agility

A strong cybersecurity workforce development strategy can help to identify required competencies and streamline the government’s recruitment and training processes.

It encourages a culture of continuous learning and professional development, thus improving talent retention and career satisfaction.

Cybersecurity workforce strategy principles will help to bridge the skills gap and strengthen the overall cybersecurity workforce.

The unified approach to cybersecurity unlocks the ability for different government agencies to share their best practices, lessons learned, and insights to promote a better cyber understanding.

Government employees can benefit from cross-functional training and skill development opportunities. These opportunities can help address the scarcity of expertise.

This approach helps to build a more resilient and knowledgeable workforce.

Employees will be motivated to develop a comprehensive understanding of the cybersecurity landscape, including emerging threats and attack vectors.

A cybersecurity workforce development framework will foster the environment of continuous learning, enabling the workforce to better adapt to the fast-changing nature of cyberthreats, reducing turnover.

Existing personnel will be better equipped to handle diverse cybersecurity challenges.

Sources: NIST, “NIST Revises Guidance”; GCN, 2023; Silicon Angle, 2020.

Governments need to address the challenge of hiring and retaining top cybersecurity talent

By developing a comprehensive cybersecurity workforce development strategy, governments can attract, retain, and develop top cybersecurity talent and build a strong and resilient cybersecurity workforce

Define workforce needs: Assess your cybersecurity workforce needs and define the roles and skills required to meet those needs.

Recruit and hire top cybersecurity talent: Prioritize the recruitment and hiring of top cybersecurity talent to fill critical roles.

Develop cybersecurity training strategies: Develop cybersecurity training strategies that provide employees with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their cybersecurity roles effectively.

Build cybersecurity partnerships: Build partnerships with academic institutions, cybersecurity industry associations, and other organizations to support the development of a strong cybersecurity workforce.

Develop career paths that foster diversity and inclusion: Develop career paths that provide cybersecurity professionals with opportunities for growth and advancement. Foster diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity workforce by promoting a culture of inclusion, recruiting from diverse talent pools, and providing opportunities for underrepresented groups to develop skills and advance their careers.

Faced with similar challenges, leading governments are developing innovative solutions

In January 2021, the US federal government had more than 33,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions. This represented 10% of its total cybersecurity workforce.

In 2020, the United Kingdom’s public sector had a 46% shortfall of cybersecurity skills compared with 29% for the private sector.

The US launched the Cybersecurity Talent Management System to attract and retain diverse cyber professionals.

Canada invested $80 million in the Cyber Security Innovation Network to boost R&D and address talent shortages.

The UK created the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund to increase diversity and workforce in the cybersecurity sector.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre launched a cyber security talent initiative to recruit & develop skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Collaboration between government, academia, and industry can effectively address the shortage of skilled professionals.

Sources: Deloitte, “Government’s Broader Role”; The Washington Post, “Cybersecurity 202.”

Your IT sourcing plan plays several key roles

Empowering departments and agencies
IT sourcing plans identify required services and optimal strategies to access necessary resources in supporting government operations.

Controlling costs
IT sourcing plans result in long-term savings by identifying cost-effective strategies for each IT service, facilitating cost control.

Minimizing risk
IT sourcing plans promote risk mitigation and security measures, minimizing service disruptions or data breaches risks by identifying potential vulnerabilities.

Creating transparency and accountability
IT sourcing plans foster transparency by defining stakeholders' roles and responsibilities, ensuring clarity and accountability for actions taken.

The IT sourcing plan outlines the sourcing strategy for IT services, including whether services will be provided in-house or outsourced to third-party vendors

Your IT sourcing plan helps identify cybersecurity talent shortages

By following the steps below, you will attract and retain the right cybersecurity talent

1. Identify the most effective approach for sourcing cybersecurity talent
An IT sourcing plan aids government entities in finding the optimal mix of full-time cybersecurity professionals and third-party vendor contracts.

2. Leverage the expertise of third-party vendors
IT sourcing plans facilitate the identification of specialized cybersecurity vendors to bolster an agency's cybersecurity posture.

3. Ensure that cybersecurity services meet agency needs
Departments and agencies use IT sourcing plans to pinpoint cybersecurity services aligning with their compliance, risk management, and budgetary needs.

4. Address cybersecurity talent shortages
IT sourcing plans assist in tackling cybersecurity talent acquisition and retention challenges by exploring alternatives like academic partnerships for training or internal resource sharing.

Successful cybersecurity workforce development strategies take several forms

Governments benefit from different approaches to cultivating cybersecurity workforce development

Public-private partnerships
Collaboration between government agencies, private sector companies, and educational institutions is essential to addressing the modern cybersecurity workforce gap.

Competitions and challenges
State actors would be well advised to discuss the value of offering hands-on training, courses, scholarships, and internships on various cybersecurity topics to develop a skilled workforce capable of combatting emerging cyberthreats.

Academia and industry
Bringing together academia, corporations, startups, and government entities is an important factor in creating a cybersecurity hub that fosters innovation, research, and workforce development programs, strategies, and approaches.

Comprehensive training
State actors would be well-advised to discuss the value of offering hands-on training, courses, scholarships, and internships on various cybersecurity topics to develop a skilled workforce capable of combatting emerging cyberthreats.

Examples of efforts to build the next generation of cybersecurity talent

Public-private partnerships Competitions and challenges
Cybersecurity Talent Initiative (USA)
A public-private partnership that aims to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity leaders. Participants are given the opportunity to work for a federal agency for two years, followed by full-time employment with a private-sector partner.
Cyber Security Challenge (UK)
A program encompassing competitions and events designed to identify, inspire, and enable talent in cybersecurity. The challenges are designed to test various skills and attract individuals from different backgrounds, helping to address the skills gap in the UK's cybersecurity workforce.
Academia and industry Cybersecurity Toolkit
National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (USA)
A partnership between government, academia, and the private sector focused on cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development. Its mission is to energize and promote a robust network and an ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training, and workforce.
Fortinet (USA)
A cybersecurity workforce development toolkit that includes five best practices for building a cybersecurity workforce pipeline. The toolkit includes tips for finding untapped talent, getting creative to close the cybersecurity skills gap, and more.

Cybersecurity has many key stakeholders

Addressing cybersecurity workforce development requires a collaborative effort involving multiple stakeholders across the organization.

Senior leadership
Senior leadership is critical in setting the tone and providing the necessary resources to address cybersecurity workforce development.

Budget and finance teams
Budget and finance teams are responsible for allocating the necessary funds to support cybersecurity workforce development initiatives.

Procurement teams
Procurement teams are involved in sourcing and procuring the necessary tools and resources to support cybersecurity workforce development.

Legal departments
Legal departments are responsible for ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations related to cybersecurity workforce development.

Harness Artificial Intelligence

Intelligent security: Harnessing AI to forge a safer digital tomorrow

AI tools can be leveraged to assist with recruitment and threat detection and response

Streamline the recruitment process by automating tasks such as resume screening and initial candidate assessment.

Reduce the workload for recruiters and allow them to focus on the most promising candidates.

Threat detection and response
Detect and respond to cybersecurity threats in real time, diminishing the workload on cybersecurity staff and allowing them to focus on more complex issues.

Proactively identify patterns of potential cyberattacks, allowing organizations to take preventative measures and minimize the risk of data breaches and system compromises.

Skills assessment
AI-enabled tools can be used to assess the skills and knowledge of current cybersecurity staff.

AI can identify areas where additional training may be needed and provide personalized learning paths to help staff upskill.

Decision-making support
AI-enabled tools can provide decision-making support by analyzing large amounts of data and identifying patterns and trends that may be difficult for human analysts to detect.

This can help inform cybersecurity strategy and prioritize resources.

Government organizations worldwide are adopting AI technologies

By automating repetitive tasks, analyzing vast quantities of data, and optimizing resource allocation, AI can facilitate faster and more informed decision-making processes, thereby enabling governments to better serve their citizens and respond to their needs in a timely manner. It is crucial for governments to approach AI adoption with a focus on ethical considerations, including data privacy, algorithmic fairness, and transparency. Establishing robust regulatory frameworks and adhering to ethical guidelines will ensure that AI systems work in the best interests of the public while minimizing the risks of bias, misuse, and unintended consequences.

Canada USA UK Australia
Canada is using AI to identify and respond to cyberthreats. AI can analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns of suspicious activity. The US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) makes use of AI to identify and respond to cyberthreats in real time. The UK government harnesses AI to monitor its networks and detect potential cyberattacks, analyzing large amounts of data and identifying suspicious activity for faster response times. The Australian government uses AI to detect and prevent cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as power grids, transportation systems, and communication networks.

Sources: CCCS, “National Cyber Threat Assessment”; CISA, n.d.; GCHQ, 2021; Water, 2022.

AI can improve efficiency, scalability, accuracy, and collaboration

AI accelerates threat identification and mitigation by processing vast data volumes quicker than humans.

AI adapts to evolving cybersecurity threats, reducing the need for constant recruitment and training.

AI’s precision in threat identification minimizes human error, lowering the risk of cyberattacks.

AI streamlines communication, fostering a greater degree of cooperation between departments and agencies.

Conclusion: Use the three pillars for protection

Digital transformation has accelerated the rate of cyberattacks that need to be addressed through an effective resource plan that changes current culture and enhances capabilities. Info-Tech’s approach to increase an organization’s cyber preparedness consists of three pillars:

Creating a cybersecurity culture: Cyber resilience is everybody’s responsibility.

Implementing a cybersecurity workforce development strategy and hire the right people with the right cyber skills.

Harnessing digital technologies like artificial intelligence to assist with recruitment and threat detection and response.

Info-Tech’s approach to addressing the cybersecurity talent shortage in government

By addressing these unique challenges, government departments and agencies can improve their ability to attract and retain cybersecurity professionals, even in the face of stiff competition from the private sector.

By doing so, they can better protect sensitive information and systems and enhance national security.

Step 1
1. Identify the current state of cybersecurity skills within government departments and agencies. This involves assessing the current workforce's cybersecurity skills and identifying any gaps in the required skills for protecting government data and systems.

Step 2
2. Develop a cybersecurity skills roadmap for government departments and agencies. The roadmap should include a timeline, milestones, and metrics for measuring progress.

Step 3
3. Create targeted training strategies for cybersecurity skills development. These programs could include cybersecurity boot camps, on-the-job training, and certification programs.

Step 4
4. Foster partnerships with academic institutions and industry experts. These partnerships could help to provide access to specialized cybersecurity training and expertise.

Step 5
5. Develop incentives to retain cybersecurity talent within government departments and agencies, such as bonuses, promotions, and flexible work arrangements.

These incentives can help to attract and retain skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Step 6
6. Monitor progress toward the cybersecurity skills roadmap and adjust the plan as needed to ensure that government agencies have the necessary skills to protect against evolving cyberthreats.

Step 7
7. Build an IT sourcing plan. The IT sourcing plan outlines the sourcing strategy for IT services, including whether services will be provided in-house or outsourced to third-party vendors.

Step 8
8. Develop strategies to address pay and benefits disparities between government and private sector cybersecurity roles.

This may include advocating for competitive pay scales and providing additional benefits such as flexible work arrangements and development opportunities.

Step 9
9. Increase awareness of the importance of cybersecurity within government departments and agencies and highlight the critical role that cybersecurity professionals play in protecting sensitive information and systems.

Step 10
10. Create a positive work culture within government agencies that values and supports cybersecurity professionals.

This could involve offering opportunities for career advancement, recognizing the contributions of cybersecurity professionals, and fostering a supportive work environment.

Related Info-Tech Research

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Research Contributors & Experts

Ron Gumbert
Senior Managing Partner II, Executive
Services, Info-Tech Research Group

Matthew Bourne
Managing Partner II, Executive
Services, Info-Tech Research Group

Patrick Spencer
Practice Lead, Research –
Development, Info-Tech Research Group

Aaron Shum
Vice President, Security & Privacy
Research - Call Quality & Delivery,
Info-Tech Research Group

Isabelle Hertanto
Practice Lead, Research –
Development, Info-Tech Research

Cassandra Cooper
Senior Research Analyst, Security,
Risk & Compliance, Info-Tech
Research Group

Bob Smock
Vice President, Security
Consulting & Technical Counselor,
Info-Tech Research Group


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The role of culture, workforce development strategy, and AI in maturing security programs within federal government departments and agencies.

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