How Small Businesses Can Rise Above the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

As small businesses navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, they often find themselves grappling with a double-edged sword: the need to protect their valuable data and assets from cyber threats while struggling to find and retain the cybersecurity talent necessary to do so. 

The cybersecurity skills gap has become a pressing issue for businesses of all sizes. However, small businesses can uniquely suffer the consequences of this shortage. But don't be disheartened; with the right approach and a little ingenuity, you can overcome this challenge and safeguard your business against cyber risks. 

In this post, we’ll explore practical solutions, insider tips, and innovative strategies to help you tackle the talent challenge and rise above the cybersecurity skills gap.

Getting to Know the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Before we dive into strategies for tackling the skills gap, let's understand what it is and how it affects small businesses like yours. The cybersecurity skills gap refers to the shortage of qualified professionals with the knowledge and experience needed to protect organizations from cyber threats. This gap stems from the rapid evolution of cybersecurity technologies and the lack of investment in cybersecurity education and training.

The consequences of the skills gap could be serious without the right preparation. Small businesses with inadequate cybersecurity expertise are at risk of data breaches, theft of intellectual property, and financial fraud. These incidents can result in significant financial losses and damage to your company's reputation.

Assessing Your Small Business's Cybersecurity Needs

To tackle this issue, you need to know where your vulnerabilities lie. 

1. Start by identifying critical assets and potential threats to your business.​

  • Conduct a risk assessment: Begin by evaluating the potential risks and threats to your business's digital assets, such as customer data, financial information, and intellectual property. Identify the most likely attack vectors, such as phishing, malware, or insider threats. This will help you prioritize your cybersecurity efforts.

  • Inventory your digital assets: Create an inventory of all digital assets within your organization, including hardware, software, and data. Categorize them based on their importance to your business, and determine the potential impact of a security breach on each asset.

2. Determine the required skillset for your cybersecurity team to protect these assets. 

Technical skills are crucial for a cybersecurity team. Some key technical skills to consider include:

  • Network and system administration

  • Security architecture and engineering

  • Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing

  • Malware analysis and reverse engineering

  • Security information and event management (SIEM)

  • Cryptography and encryption

Consider soft skills: Effective cybersecurity teams also require soft skills, such as: problem-solving

  • Communication

  • Teamwork

  • Adaptability

These skills enable team members to collaborate, stay up-to-date with industry developments, and communicate complex security issues to non-technical stakeholders.

3. Finally, evaluate your current workforce and identify any gaps in their knowledge and expertise.

  • Plan for ongoing training and professional development: Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field, so it's important to invest in regular training and professional development for your team. This will help them stay current with emerging threats and technologies, as well as develop new skills as needed.

  • Consult with experts: If you're unsure about the specific skillset required for your cybersecurity team, consider consulting with industry experts or seeking guidance from a cybersecurity advisory firm. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on your unique business needs.

By carefully considering these factors, you can determine the required skillset for your cybersecurity team, ensuring the effective protection of your digital assets.

Strategies for Overcoming the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

  1. Outsource cybersecurity services: Consider outsourcing cybersecurity services to third-party providers who have the necessary expertise and experience to protect your business from potential threats. This can include managed security services, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessments.

  2. Utilize automation and artificial intelligence: Leverage automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with cybersecurity tasks, such as threat detection, network monitoring, and incident response. These technologies can help reduce the workload on your cybersecurity team and improve overall efficiency.

  3. Promote diversity and inclusion: Cybersecurity teams benefit from a diverse range of skills, experiences, and perspectives. Encourage diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices to ensure that you can attract and retain a range of cybersecurity professionals.

  4. Partner with educational institutions: Work with local educational institutions to help develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. This could include internships, mentorship programs, or even funding for cybersecurity research and development.

  5. Offer competitive compensation and benefits: Attract and retain top cybersecurity talent by offering competitive compensation and benefits packages. This can help your business stand out in a competitive job market and keep your cybersecurity team motivated and engaged.

Measuring the Success of Your Cybersecurity Strategy

To measure the success of your strategy, set cybersecurity goals and track progress. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your measures and adapt your strategy based on performance metrics and industry trends.

By implementing these strategies, you can overcome the cybersecurity skills gap and ensure that your business is well-protected from potential threats. Remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and it's important to continuously evaluate and update your strategies as the threat landscape evolves.


Overcoming the cybersecurity skills gap is no small feat for small business owners. As we've explored, there are several strategies to help bridge this gap, from investing in ongoing training and education to fostering a strong cybersecurity culture within your organization. However, we understand that the challenges of running a small business can be overwhelming, and tackling the cybersecurity talent issue might seem like a demanding task in an already jam-packed schedule.

That's where partnering with a trusted cybersecurity provider can be a game-changer. By entrusting your business's cybersecurity needs to a team of experienced professionals, you can focus on what you do best: growing and managing your business. 

A cybersecurity provider like Lockwell can handle the complexities of implementing robust security measures, addressing vulnerabilities, and staying updated on the ever-evolving threat landscape, all while providing you with the peace of mind that your business is well-protected.