Hiring gamers may be the answer to the cyber security skills gap

video gamer

A new survey from McAfee says that IT security staff report needing to increase their workforces by 24 percent to adequately manage their organization's cyber threats.

Yet a skills crisis means 84 percent admit it's difficult to attract staff and 31 percent say they don't actively do anything to attract new talent. However, 72 percent of respondents say hiring experienced video gamers into the IT department seems like a good way to plug the cyber security skills gap.

The threat landscape is growing, both in complexity and volume. According to the report, 46 percent of respondents believe that in the next year they will either struggle to deal with the increase in cyber threats or that it will be impossible to defend against them.

"With cyber security breaches being the norm for organizations, we have to create a workplace that empowers cyber security responders to do their best work," says Grant Bourzikas, chief information security officer at McAfee. "Consider that nearly a quarter of respondents say that to do their job well, they need to increase their teams by a quarter, keeping our workforce engaged, educated and satisfied at work is critical to ensuring organizations do not increase complexity in the already high-stakes game against cyber crime."

The growing threat landscape and recruitment problems means businesses are looking for alternative solutions. A majority of respondents (81 percent) believe cyber security would be more successful if greater automation were implemented. 25 percent think automation frees up time to focus on innovation and value-added work.

Gamification could be part of the answer too. More than half (57 percent) report that using games increases awareness and IT staff knowledge of how breaches can occur. In addition 43 percent say gamification enforces a teamwork culture needed for quick and effective cyber security. 77 percent of senior managers agree that their organization would be safer if they leveraged more gamification. Also 78 percent say the current generation entering the workforce, those that have grown up playing video games, are stronger candidates for cyber security roles. Three-quarters of senior managers say they would consider hiring a gamer even if that person had no specific cyber security training or experience.

Image creditsvyatoslavlipik/depositphotos.com

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