By Alan Reyes

WITH cybercriminals constantly improving their tactics, organizations in the Philippines face the daunting task of protecting their critical digital assets from sophisticated attacks. However, understaffed security teams and a shortage of senior-level personnel make them more vulnerable to breaches.

According to the Fortinet 2023 Global Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, 86% of IT and cybersecurity decision makers in the Philippines and Malaysia agreed that the skills shortage creates more cyber risks for their organizations, with over half admitting they struggle to recruit and retain qualified professionals for their security team.

To bridge this gap, Filipino organizations need to adopt innovative approaches, from tapping into new talent pools to enhancing the skills of their current security team, to protect themselves from cyber threats.

Unlocking New Talent: As the demand for cybersecurity professionals in the Philippines continues to rise, organizations are facing a critical skills shortage. The (ISC)² 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study revealed that the Asia-Pacific region requires at least 2.2 million cybersecurity talents, leaving traditional candidates with cybersecurity degrees or relevant work experience unable to meet this demand alone.

To address this gap, organizations can look to untapped communities, including women, veterans, and students, and provide accessible cybersecurity training to those looking for a career change. By investing in these new talents, Filipino organizations can broaden their candidate pool and help build a stronger defense against cyber threats.

Unlocking Existing Potential: In the face of a severe skills shortage, retaining top talent is crucial for organizations in the Philippines. To achieve this, leaders must prioritize employee experience and job satisfaction by offering more opportunities for professional growth and skill development. One way to do this is by encouraging team members to take advantage of high-quality cybersecurity training and certification programs, such as those offered by the Fortinet Training Institute.

The Network Security Expert program, with its self-paced and instructor-led training, provides eight levels of cybersecurity certification that cater to different skill levels. By investing in their employees’ growth, Filipino organizations can empower their team members to progress in their careers, while also providing a strong foundation for newcomers looking to build a career in the industry.

Unlocking the Talent Pipeline: As cyber threats become more sophisticated and frequent, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is on the rise in the Philippines. To address the ongoing skills gap and ensure a robust defense against these threats, colleges and universities are expanding their cybersecurity degree programs.

By partnering with these institutions, organizations can provide opportunities for students to acquire industry-recognized certifications even before graduation, ensuring a pipeline of qualified candidates to fill critical cybersecurity roles. From training new talent to empowering employees with professional growth opportunities, Filipino organizations must adopt innovative approaches to address the skills gap and safeguard against cyber attacks.

In conclusion, the cybersecurity skills gap remains a significant challenge for organizations in the Philippines. However, by adopting innovative approaches such as investing in new talent, empowering current employees with professional growth opportunities, and partnering with educational institutions, Filipino organizations can address the skills shortage and build a vigorous defense against cyber threats.

Alan Reyes is the country manager of Fortinet Philippines.

The key to success is to prioritize cybersecurity as a critical business function and recognize the need to continuously evolve and adapt to the changing threat landscape. By doing so, Filipino organizations can ensure that they are adequately equipped to face the challenges of today’s digital world and secure their critical digital assets.

Alan Reyes is the country manager of Fortinet Philippines.