A Growing Sector with a Huge Demand for Qualified ExpertsOnline threats are ever-evolving; therefore, there is an increasing demand for experts who are up-to-date on the latest developments in order to provide a successful defence. Furthermore, as awareness of these threats grows, as does the number of employers seeking new members to their teams to protect their systems. Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan has predicted a worldwide shortfall of 1.5 million information security professionals by 2020. The same company found that 62 percent of 14,000 study respondents claimed they don’t have enough cyber security personnel, and 45 percent believed it would take anywhere up to eight weeks to repair the damage, if hacked, due to a lack of qualified staff. The Chief Executive of the Tech Partnership, Karen Price, said:
"In today’s data-driven world, nothing is more important for UK businesses than maintaining security. Developing the skills to protect ourselves is a national priority, and needs action at every level: at schools and universities, through digital apprenticeships, and through upskilling for experienced professionals."
Shortening the Skills GapDespite the gap, efforts are being made to meet requirements. According to a research report by Tech Partnership, the UK cybersecurity workforce has grown by 163 percent in the past five years and is now at a high of 58,000 experts. Salaries are also up 7 percent in the past year to £57,000 – 15 percent higher than for tech professionals as a whole. However, demand for specialist staff in cybercrime is up 263 percent, and big data is up 202 percent, showing more specialists are still required.
What’s the Answer?There are an increasing number of cyber professionals entering the sector; however, cybercrime continues to develop at an accelerated pace. Therefore, there is no quick fix to closing the cyber skills gap. In the meantime raising awareness, improving knowledge and using safety software can begin to bridge the expanse. Kit Burden, Partner and Global Co-Head of Technology at law firm DLA Piper, told Financier Worldwide that:
"The level of awareness of cyber security needs and associated risk is probably higher than it has ever been, but for most organisations it is still at far too theoretical or generic a level. "In other words, organisations are far more aware than before that the threat of cyber intrusion exists and that 'bad things can happen' if an attack occurs, but they remain insufficiently aware of what their own position is, either in terms of their key areas of vulnerability or the degree of targeting that they are likely to be receiving. In other words, it is a bit like the technological version of cancer – we know it is out there, we know it is really serious, but somehow we hope or believe that it will never happen to us."It's easy to think it’ll never happen to you and that your organisation will never fall victim to a hacker, but what would you do if it did happen? Knowledge is a great defence. Vulnerability testing, teamed with an advanced security system, can help highlight weaknesses and minimise the risk to your organisation. The right technology will not replace a human employee; however, it will allow IT departments to free up their valuable time to concentrate on the overall protection of your company.