More investment is needed if the UK is to retain the talent needed to defend itself against a growing wave of cyber attacks, according to cyber security recruiters.
Tom Chapman, co-founder and director of cyber security recruiter Iceberg, told Recruiter that a failure by government to invest in protecting the UK’s critical infrastructure meant that the UK “was losing a lot of talent to other parts of the world”.
Chapman’s comments come after Britain’s spy agencies warned the bosses of utilities and health services that Russian hackers are infiltrating unprotected networks as a prelude to potentially serious attacks. An anonymous survey by the Engineering Employers Association found that almost half (48%) have been the victim of cyber attacks.
Chapman says that countries in Europe, such as the Netherlands, were far more prepared to put in the investment that is needed. He says he knows of one UK organisation that made a cyber role redundant, with the jobholder quickly being snapped by an organisation in the Netherlands. Chapman says competition for cyber specialists is fiercely competitive, and talent was “very flexible” in terms of the countries in which they were willing to work.
He adds the scale of attacks on UK organisations was hidden. “The amount of cyber attacks that don’t reach the press is quite worrying. It’s not one or two attacks – sometimes it can be hundreds of times a day. That is why it is important they have the right individuals in place to make sure their systems are secure.”
Ed Carr, who manages the cyber security team at search firm BeecherMadden, told Recruiter that employers should consider looking beyond the usual suspects to find talent. This included previous hackers who were prepared to put their skills to use by becoming ethical hackers. People without professional experience, but who “have a true passion for this space and live and breathe security, and are naturally very inquisitive and enjoy breaking things”, were also a source of untapped talent, he adds.
Carr says he placed a part-time fireman into penetration testing, who has gone on to become one of the best qualified in the UK “purely as a result of their passion for this area”.