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Healthcare Industry Faces Shortage in Experienced Cybersecurity Experts

October 28, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Given the increase in cyber attacks against healthcare organizations, cybersecurity is a top priority for many hospitals and health systems, yet there is currently a shortage in experienced cybersecurity professionals, according to a research report from Burning Glass Technologies.

While cybersecurity positions have historically been prevalent among defense contractors and government agencies, there is has been a hiring boom in industries like finance, healthcare and retail, the report says. Burning Glass Technologies is a Boston-based job market analytics provider and the report provides a cybersecurity job market analysis.

The healthcare industry has seen a 121 percent increase in the demand for cybersecurity workers in the past five years, and the authors of the Burning Glass Technologies report credit this increase to the fact that healthcare organizations manage increasing volumes of consumer data. Yet, the healthcare industry is competing with other industries for experienced cybersecurity professionals.

Job postings for cybersecurity positions have grown 91 percent from 2010 to 2014, across all industries. And, due to the gap between demand and supply, cybersecurity professionals can command salaries that are 9 percent higher, on average, than other IT professionals. Cybersecurity jobs took 8 percent longer to fill than IT job postings overall in 2014, the report found.

And, there is a high demand for cybersecurity talent that holds Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credentials, and that demand is outstripping supply as well.

 In the U.S., there are 65,362 professionals who hold a CISSP certification, but employers posted nearly 50,000 jobs requesting a CISSP certified cybersecurity professional. That equates to about three or more job postings for every professional who holds a CISSP certificate.

CISSP is the primary credential in cybersecurity work, yet professionals must have at least five years of work experience in the cybersecurity industry before even applying for it, so this is a gap that will take time to fill, the report authors state.

In addition, within the healthcare industry, there is a rising demand for cybersecurity professionals with skills pertinent to healthcare, such generally accepted accounting principles and financial reporting as well as familiarity with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance and standards and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

According to the report, positions that require both CISSP credentials and familiarity with healthcare skills and knowledge can be very difficult to fill.

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