As a fast-moving sector that hinges on advancements in technology, it’s almost inevitable that the cyber security industry will be forever chasing a skills gap. This gap is significant, however, and due to the widespread adoption of popular technologies such as the cloud, the IoT, and DevOps, it’s constantly growing. Analysts have predicted there will be a shortage of 1.8 million workers in the information security sector by 2022, a figure that was recently revised upwards from a forecast of 1.5 million just three years ago.
It is clearly becoming increasingly hard to deal with the rising volume, diversity and frequency of high-profile cyber attacks, such as the recent breach in which the details of 29 million Facebook users were compromised. There is a need, therefore, for those in the IT sector to upskill in order to evade further attacks, and the harm they can cause to an organisation’s operations, its reputation, and its bottom line.
Lack of suitable qualifications
One of the main reasons for this, according to the UK’s National Security Strategy 2016-2021, were the lack of young people entering the profession in the first place, and the absence of established career and training pathways into the profession.
This year’s GCSE results, for example, showed a 16.6% year-on-year fall in the number of students sitting computer-related subjects, and this year has seen a noticeable decline in the number of school-leavers pursuing STEM-related subjects at university.
With the growing sophistication of cyber attacks making their mitigation more complex than ever, the cyber skillset is continually evolving, and the definition of these skills may require more clarity than has been previously afforded.
The demand for cyber security talent is set to grow over the next two to three years, as businesses protect themselves against an increasingly sophisticated threat landscape while having to comply with new legislation such as the GDPR.
Here in the UK we have a good programme of cyber reservists, but we should now look at how development and nurturing of these skills can lead to better career progression for them, and better protection for our businesses and the precious data they hold.