Cyber security skills gap contributing to 80% of breaches

According to Fortinet research, eight in 10 organisations have suffered at least one breach that can be attributed to a cyber security skills or awareness gap

Globally, 64% of organisations surveyed by Fortinet experienced breaches that resulted in loss of revenue, recovery costs and/or fines.

A significant challenge for firms has been finding and retaining the right people to fill critical security roles, from cloud security specialists to SOC analysts, with 60% of leaders admitting struggles with recruitment.

Meanwhile, 52% said they struggle to retain talent once they’re in the door, adding to the ongoing skills shortage in the cyber security discipline.

What’s more, (ISC)2’s 2021 Cyber Workforce Report, found that the global cyber security workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organisations’ critical assets.

“According to the Fortinet report released today, the skills gap isn’t just a talent shortage challenge, but also severely impacting business, making it a top concern for executive leaders worldwide,” said Sandra Wheatley, senior vice-president, marketing, threat intelligence and influencer communications at Fortinet.

“Through Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and Training Institute programs, we are committed to tackling the challenges revealed in the report through various initiatives, including programs focused on cyber security certifications and recruiting more women into cyber.

“As part of this commitment, Fortinet has pledged to train 1 million professionals to increase cyber skills and awareness and make a dent in the skills gap by 2026.”

Addressing lacking security skills

Fortinet also found that addressing this ongoing issue remains a top concern for C-level executives, and is increasingly becoming a board-level priority.

88% of organisations with a board of directors reported that their board asks questions specifically about cyber security, while 76% have a board of directors that has recommended increases in IT and cyber security headcount.

The research demonstrated that training and certifications are critical, with 95% of leaders believing that tech-focused certifications positively impact their role and their team.

91% of respondents expressed willingness to pay for an employee to achieve cyber certifications, while 81% of leaders prefer to hire people with certifications.

A major reason for certifications being highly regarded is due to their validation of increased cyber security knowledge and awareness (cited by 79%).

1,223 IT and cyber security decision-makers from over 25 different locations were surveyed by Fortinet for its 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report.


Understanding the journey of breached customer data — Jeremy Hendy, CEO of Skurio, discusses how businesses can gain an understanding of the journey of breached customer data when attacks occur.

How the tech sector can provide opportunities and address skills gaps in young people — Adrian Overall, CEO and founder of CloudStratex, discusses how the tech industry can provide opportunities and address skills gaps for young people.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.