Gernot Krautberger - stock.adobe

Users look to channel to plug cyber skills gap

The channel is already seen as a repository of security expertise, and the pressure to deliver that is only set to increase in 2023

The lack of cyber experts is well-catalogued, but combine it with economic pressure on customer budgets and the need for the channel to step in to fill the skills gap is mounting.

Across the industry, the expectations are that next year will see customers leaning even more heavily on their channel partners. MicroScope spoke to a number of experts to gain a sense of their view for the year to come. 

Greg Jones, vice-president of business development for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Datto, a Kaseya company

Security is, as always, a top concern. Ransomware and cyber crime show no signs of slowing down. Supply chain attacks will remain a headache. Connected devices and remote working have brought new risks, and social engineering is becoming smarter.

In addition, attackers are now using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning against their victims – for example, to scrape information off social media platforms, to track users’ behaviour and to exploit certain time windows where they may be more susceptible to attack.

Couple all this with shrinking IT budgets and a shortage of cyber security professionals and businesses have a perfect storm on their hands. Offering extended security services will be a huge opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs) who can fill talent gaps, add agility and provide the right expertise.

Michael Rogers, vice-president of global alliances at CrowdStrike

Managed security service providers (MSSPs) and global system integrators will serve a critical role in addressing the ongoing global cybersecurity skills shortage. According to the (ISC)² 2022 cybersecurity workforce study, there’s a global cyber security workforce gap of 3.4 million people. As a result, organisations will look to MSSPs and GSIs to fill this gap.

The benefit for organisations leveraging MSSPs is that they provide 24/7, 365-day expert monitoring without the need for additional staffing. As for GSIs, they can help organisations to manage the complexity inherent with cyber security and solve business challenges through implementation services.

Sherifa Hady, vice-president of channel for EMEA at HPE Aruba

While the future IT landscape looks promising in regards to the depth and breadth of technologies out there, there is one key roadblock we must address – the growing digital skills gap. The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) shows that every third person who works in Europe lack basic digital skills. It has been estimated that 14 G20 countries could miss out on $11.5tn cumulative GDP growth if the skills gap isn’t addressed.

This tech talent shortage is impacting not only the IT sector, but of course every industry looking to make digital changes. Enlisted with delivering digital transformation, the channel must ensure that it is addressing these skills gaps both on behalf of customers and itself.

As customers continue to look for IT implementations that are both focused and specialised, those in the channel must sharpen their expertise around these offerings. Channel partners must look for vendors that offer robust partner-centric programmes, equipping them with the knowledge needed to foster IT evolution.

Scott Walker, senior director of channel and alliances EMEA at Illumio

Uncertainty surrounding the current economic climate will force organisations to put hiring plans on hold. We’ve already seen the start of a wave of layoffs in the technology sector, and with most businesses already grappling with skills shortages, it will be the channel that will have to step up to plug any gaps. 

The highly skilled individuals within the channel, who can see the industry and its shortcomings from all angles, will be critical in providing the upskilling, consultancy and technology needed to reduce cyber security risks and build resilience.  

Read more on Identity Management Solutions and Services