During the 2017 RSA Conference, we capitalized on the opportunity to speak to the array of IT security professionals gathered under one roof about one of the biggest issues plaguing the industry: the skills gap. What stood out most is that an astounding 93% of people that we talked to think that experience is more important than qualifications when it comes to hiring IT security staff, and 73% said that it wouldn’t matter if a person was a college graduate or not.

In addition, respondents were split down the middle as to what was more important: good communication skills or the best technical skills, proving that IT professionals with good communication skills, but perhaps not the best technical skills needn’t rule themselves out of a job as there is plenty of scope for their skills within the business. Another 90% of IT security professionals surveyed agreed that in order to keep up with the rapidly changing threat landscape, IT security professionals would have to become more business savvy.

It would therefore seem that one of the answers to solving the skills gap in IT security will be taking these individuals who may not have trained specifically in IT security and getting them to relay the IT security messages to the rest of the company or senior management in ways that also make sense in business terms.

An influx of experience IT security professionals would certainly alleviate some of the management burden organizations are carrying. However, it’s possible that no amount of staff will ever completely close the gap. It may be that the best way to keep pace with technology is to manage it using smarter tools. In fact, our survey also showed that a third of people agreed that they would benefit from more intelligent security products.

With all of the complexity surrounding IT security infrastructure, from the various routers, switches, firewalls and so forth, more intelligent products can be the last piece to the skills gap puzzle. With more intuitive technology, staffing resources are freed up from mundane tasks to focus their knowledge where it really counts.