The federal government’s ability to recruit and retain cybersecurity talent may have suffered an indirect but potentially costly blow from the latest legislative melee over funding agencies and programs, a Washington post report said.
Historically, skilled cybersecurity workers have not really looked to the federal government to start or advance a career in the field. It is clear that the recent disruption in funding has not helped change this behavior, especially given the degree to which private sector cybersecurity job openings eclipse those available in the public sector in terms of pay. , benefits and upward mobility.
In this case, by narrowly, albeit temporarily, avoiding a federal government shutdown, lawmakers dodged the weight of their budget battle on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA). But make no mistake, the country’s cyber powerhouse has suffered and could still take a heavy blow if Congress resumes its punches in early December, when the current temporary deal expires.
Potential Federal Government Shutdown: Implications of the MSSP
How would a shutdown affect MSSPs performing federal contracts? It is difficult to say whether any projects would be shelved or concluded prematurely. Or if a cybersecurity employee leave opened the floodgates for hackers. However, one thing is certain: Amid the growing wave of cyber threats around the world, the likely outcome is that federal agencies would rely even more on MSSPs for their expertise and experience than they already do.
Here’s how a federal government shutdown could affect the country’s cybersecurity profile:
- Had lawmakers forced government agencies to close for lack of funding, it could have immediately undermined a number of programs the federal government has put in place to entice cybersecurity talent to consider careers in the public sector. For example, what would happen to a White House that launched a two-year scholarship program to recruit early-career technologists with skills in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and other fields? critics to begin their profession in the federal public service. Historically, the federal government has relied on credentials to fill its personnel rosters. In this case, however, specific skills will take precedence over recruits gleaned not only from colleges but also from alternative resources such as apprenticeships, boot camps, and certificate programs.
- How would other recruiting efforts go? Last May, the Department of Homeland Services launched a 60-day hiring campaign to complete its roster of cybersecurity employees. In July, lawmakers revived the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act that would create a pilot program to train veterans for careers in the field and establish a learning initiative at CISA. And in June, lawmakers reintroduced the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program, which provides civilian employees with opportunities to advance their careers, enrich their work experience, and expand their networks. Labor laws could allow MSSPs to establish relationships with several government agencies more quickly.
- As for CISA, a stop could have brought the agency to its knees. More than 80 percent of the agency’s 2,500 employees would be forced to stop working, according to a Department of Homeland Security planning document consulted by the Washington post. This would immediately block a number of anti-ransomware actions that CISA has started.
- During a shutdown, thousands of civilian cybersecurity workers working to blunt cyber attackers would be put on leave, potentially opening up large system vulnerabilities to state-backed hackers, especially in critical infrastructure where the government is working to strengthen the country’s cyber defenses.
- Undoubtedly, for potential federal cybersecurity workers, shutting down government operations would raise serious questions about the viability of working in the public sector. As the Washington post Emphasizes, morale is an influencing factor when considering a job. Employees forced to stop working or deprived of pay during a shutdown are unlikely to think of working for the government. Nevertheless, according to the Washington post, CISA’s job list did not shrink after the 2019 shutdown.
But that’s not the only indicator of whether potential cyber employees would be interested in filling open government positions. According to Cyber research, which tracks cybersecurity jobs, in the United States, some 465,000 cybersecurity jobs remained vacant as of May 2021, including about 36,250 in the public sector, where about 60,700 cybersecurity employees are currently working. Cyber Seek ranks the supply of cybersecurity workers in the public sector as “very low”. By way of comparison, the private sector appears much more attractive for cybersecurity candidates, given its 430,000 job offers, 900,000 current employees in the field and the offer also classified as very low.
On average, cybersecurity positions take 21% longer to fill than other IT positions, according to figures from Cyber Seek. This does not bode well for the federal government’s rhetoric to cybersecurity candidates. Nonetheless, cybersecurity jobs will be a key driver of post-Covid-19 economic recovery over the next five years, according to BurningGlass Technologies report find.