Data Wars: Addressing The Cyber Security Talent Shortage And The Increasing Strain On The Industry

5 min

In an internet dominated world, society is becoming more dependent on digital and cloud-hosted technologies, causing an intensely hyper connected world. The power of the internet is continuing to increase across the board with 3.5 billion current users, a sum that has exponentially increased by 900% since 2000 and is only going to continue to rise. New challenges are arising in today’s modern world as a result. One of these issues is cyber hacking - we leave ourselves vulnerable by being so interconnected.

The expanding Internet of Things (IoT) market is just one example of how the interconnectivity we enjoy with the internet is raising new challenges regarding security vulnerability. Tens of billions more devices are going online and being exposed to cyber threats; in 2016 the Mirai attack highlighted how vulnerable IoT is to cyber-attacks, targeting big companies such as Netflix and Amazon whose services were disrupted -TalkTalk and the Post Office’s broadband services were also affected. Cyber threats are increasing worldwide in their sophistication and quantity. 60% of SMEs have been breached through hacking in the last 12 months alone, causing corrupted data and sometimes extortion. There is therefore a pressing need for cyber security professionals to combat the threat.

Growing Pains For Cyber Security

Cyber security expertise is one of the most in demand skills in today’s IT sector – and this need has been heightened recently as multiple notable hacking scandals have headlined the news in the past few months alone. The NHS was the most worrying hack for the UK, as it highlighted how vulnerable we as a country to malicious attacks on our most vital services. More than 300,000 computers in 150 countries were infected by the WannaCry ransomware recently, including the Health Service, which it reduced into temporary disarray. In the case of the NHS, the computers in the trust were not all running the most up to date software, which made them vulnerable. Most notable, however, was the lack of education around the topic of cyber security and staying safe online. Cyber education is a vital issue that needs addressing not only in the UK but globally to help individuals and businesses to protect themselves in the future.

The UK government is thankfully beginning to take action on this front. In 2016 the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre opened to tackle cyber threats. In its first year of operation there were 1,131 reported cyber threats, nearly 600 of these were significant attacks which required a national response. There is new government legislation in the works which will attempt to improve security across the board. One measure which will catch the attention of businesses is the proposed fine for companies without adequate cyber security measures in place of up to 4% of annual turnover.

Safeguarding Your Business

With that in mind, good cyber security measures result in good business practice. It can increase productivity, help to maintain business reputation and protect from sanctions. In 2016, the global cyber security market was worth an estimated $106 billion, and by 2023 this is expected to expand to around $639 billion – this is a market to invest in. Although the market is continuing to grow, so too are the sophistication of the cyber hacks which are creating new challenges. One such challenge is the loss of trust that is being caused as a result. When data is breached through cyber-attacks, vital information is corrupted. This can result in personal information of customers being infringed upon and that is where the trust of the customer is lost. Recently in the U.S the credit agency Equifax encountered a large hack on its network which led to the theft of financial information of up to 143 million people – an event which has shaken the reputation of the company. It goes to show that investing in tight cyber security measures is crucial for your business; this can help mitigate against future attacks so that the reputation of your business is upheld.

Ensuring that your business has tight cyber security should be a priority due to the new governmental policy which is being brought in, that attempts to protect the UK from further more malicious attacks by improving the security across the board. In the near future companies will have to have adequate cyber security measures in place otherwise they could be penalised by up to £17 million (4% of annual turnover). The question now is, can you afford not to invest in cyber security?

Reducing The Talent Shortage

Despite the demand for cyber security professionals being so high, there is a talent shortage in this industry which is only projected to increase.  By 2022 there will be an estimated 350,000 unfilled jobs in cyber security throughout Europe, with the same outlook for the rest of the world as well. The industry needs to react to this and tackle the skill shortage head on. Much of this is through investing in marketing campaigns to promote the industry, but there is also work to do on employing millennial’s, with the prospect of a talent shortage set to increase in this industry, the young talent needs to be embraced and nurtured for the future.

As the industry continues to grow with the net worth of cyber security set to reach and exceed $639 billion by 2023 and a talent shortage looming, now is the best time to get ahead of the competition and reach into the cyber security market. CSG have a dedicated cyber security team which sits under our technology sector; we specialise in placing high calibre talent in mid-level to senior level roles across all functions.