73% of IT security teams are understaffed, and CISOs are turning to automation for help

With a cybersecurity talent shortage, AI and machine learning solutions are filling gaps, according to Ponemon Institute report.

How automation can fill the enterprise cybersecurity skills gap Automation is the way that teams gain a humongous amount of leverage in the speed and effectiveness of cyberdefense, says LogicHub CEO and co-founder Kumar Saurabh.

In the midst of a major cybersecurity talent shortage, IT security professionals are turning to automated solutions to fill skills gaps, according to a Monday report from the Ponemon Institute and DomainTools.

Of the 1,400 IT and IT security practitioners surveyed worldwide, 73% said they believe their organization's IT security functions are typically understaffed due to difficulty attracting and retaining qualified candidates.

SEE: Special report: How to implement AI and machine learning (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In part because of this, 29% of respondents said they already use automation, 38% said they plan to use automation in the next year, and 12% said they plan to do so within the next three years.

Despite the increasing automation, 61% of IT and security professionals said they do not think they will lose their jobs, due to automation's inability to perform certain tasks that humans can (65%), inability to replace human intuition and hands-on experience (51%), and making jobs more complex (48%), the report found.

Some 65% of IT and security professionals agreed that human involvement in security is important in the age of automation, according to the report. Some 40% of respondents said that automation will increase the demand for IT security staff with more advanced technical skills, while 35% said they predict automation will allow them to reduce their IT security headcount. A quarter (25%) said they do not expect automation to have any impact on IT security staffing, the report found.

"Within just one year, the perspective around adoption of automated technologies has notably shifted among security professionals," Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said in a press release. "Contrary to the popular belief that the rise of automation will threaten the job market, organizations now feel these technologies will help ease the current strain on resources, and offer the potential to promote job security for highly skilled staff, while strengthening cybersecurity defenses."

However, several barriers to adopting AI security automation still exist, including lack of in-house expertise (56%), a heavy reliance on legacy IT systems (50%), and lack of budget (48%), the report found.

For more tips on how to become a cybersecurity professional, check out this TechRepublic cheat sheet.

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