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Call to close cyber skills gap

The UK needs an education policy that will deliver cyber skills, says a cyber risk modelling and digital resilience product company after a survey.

Most, 87 per cent of CIOs and senior IT pros reported that they are struggling to find cybersecurity professionals with the expertise needed to combat serious and organised online crime. Almost three quarters (73pc) went on to say that uncertainty around Brexit is a huge concern when it comes to hiring security professionals from outside the UK. Further, near all, 95pc specified that Brexit will in fact widen the cyber skills gap, since many IT security people within British business are from outside the UK – due to the lack of advanced cybersecurity education by the UK.

Dr Mike Lloyd, CTO at RedSeal, said: “Across the industry, we have drained the talent pool for security professionals. There’s a global shortage of about four million cybersecurity pros, up from just over three million last year [according to IT industry body ISC2].

“The UK’s education system can help, but not quickly – professionals agree that it takes about ten years of real-world experience to develop the skills needed to combat today’s threats, so we’re facing a sustained drought for talent. Automation can help but cannot replace human intuition and insight. We have to build hybrid teams, combining computers for all the drudge work so that the few human analysts can focus on the security tasks that matter.”

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Prof Peter Komisarczuk, Head of Department Information Security at Royal Holloway University of London, said: “Further and higher education in cybersecurity needs continuing support to keep pace with the ever changing threat landscape that UK business is facing right now. There is a shortage of professionals with cyber security skills in the UK which means that engaging young people and mid-career changers in developing skills and knowledge through high level technical and computing education is more important than ever before.”

Paul McEvatt, Senior Threat and Intelligence Manager at Fujitsu EMEIA, says that the skills gap has become too large for organisations to ignore. He says: “Cyber security incidents and data loss continue to pose a significant risk to the UK economy.

“It is evident new approaches to talent creation need to be considered. Government, academia, law enforcement and businesses all have a part to play in talent identification and will need to work collectively on the provision of different pathways for students who may not ordinarily be suited to the traditional education route. One way to achieve this is through addressing diversity within cyber security and making training more accessible to people of all backgrounds. By doing this, businesses will be able to tap into more talent than ever before. Further to this, more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity teams will be key in facilitating a broader range of ideas and perspectives about how to detect and respond to attacks against UK businesses.”

An online survey was by Atomik Research on behalf of RedSeal among 502 IT people from the UK, in June.


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