‘It’s A Real Struggle’: Security, Talent Shortages Top End User Challenges

“We’re trying to manage with less people. With the security threats out there, there are more and more things that we have to take care of and monitor and it’s really a struggle.” says Chris Barnett, IT leader for Red Diamond Inc., a food service company in Birmingham, Alabama.


Many MSPs are facing ongoing security threats and hiring shortages within their own businesses, and those same issues have trickled down to end users.

Whether it’s finding an affordable platform to detect and prevent ransomware attacks or finding enough people to monitor those platforms, IT leaders are trying to balance the needs of their companies with what they have available.

CRN spoke with IT leaders at The Channel Company’s Midsize Enterprise Summit in Dallas, Texas about the biggest issues they’re facing and why they’re facing them.

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Here’s what they had to say.

Brenda Hartson, vice president of information systems at L&B Realty Advisors, a Dallas, Texas-based real estate consulting firm

“Right now it’s a personnel issue. I don’t have enough resources to support my environment. Due to turnover, I can’t hire somebody fast enough to do support. We’ve got tons of tickets in the system so there’s a high load of work to be done. Then once I get the people there, it’s probably security and just making sure our environment is secure. Half of us are remote and half of us are in the office so that becomes an area of concern.”

Robert Roussell, IT lead for the city of Dallas, Texas

Security is our greatest threat. If you get one sort of hack, it can shut down the entire operation network and everything else. Being that we’re a service organization, servicing the 1.3 million people in the city of Dallas, we can’t afford to have our infrastructure go down.”

Raj Dubey, vice president of development for Lane Terralever, a Phoenix, Arizona-based marketing agency

“Talent and security. A lot of talent has been cooped up. With the option to work remotely, they’re able to go and explore something else. But that also creates a problem with security because now you have to manage the resources that are connecting from different networks. That’s hard to secure because they’re not on premise anymore.”

Ross Fitzpatrick, IT leader for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington in Seattle, Washington

Security, that’s the big thing. It’s the big fish in the room right now…phishing and ransomware and the bad stuff that comes with it.”

Chris Barnett, IT leader for Red Diamond, Inc., a food service company in Birmingham, Alabama

“The challenge is finding the time to manage all the software tools that we have. We’re a four-man IT department and we wear so many hats. We can’t really do any justice on any item because there’s just too much to manage.

We‘re trying to manage with less people. With the security threats out there, there are more and more things that we have to take care of and monitor and it’s really a struggle.”

Henry Rose, IT leader for Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas

Hiring and finding talent. There’s a shortage right now, especially with the larger companies and most want to go into large companies because the salaries are much higher. I‘m in higher education, public sector, so we can’t really pay what the private companies can pay.

There also seems to be a serious shortage of skills. Whenever we’re trying to hire, we want experienced hires, and that’s what’s difficult.”

Laurent Poirot, IT leader for the Student Conservation Association, a nonprofit in Arlington, Virginia

“The biggest challenge is balancing the needs with security with the budget, especially for a nonprofit. Another challenge is a lot of the bad governance policies, establishing processes and procedures. Navigating all those different aspects at the same time is tough.”

Robert Mullis, IT leader of the city of Brookhaven, Georgia.

“The resources just to keep up with the bad guys…all the security issues and all the skills that are required, that‘s a major problem. Everything’s changing every day and I can’t keep training people to do that with a limited staff.