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IT & InnovationIs Europe facing a cyber security shortage?

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Cyber security is currently one of the most sought-after job roles by businesses all over Europe. With cyber-attacks constantly evolving, businesses across the continent are swiftly becoming aware of just how important it is to have robust defences from data breaches, ransomware and phishing scams.

The WannaCry cyber-attack is still fresh in everyone’s mind after the attack affected over 300,000 computers across the world. One of the more prolific victims was the UK’s NHS which led to various trusts turning away non-critical emergencies.

Oliver Baker our Cyber Security Expert who places professionals into relevant roles across Belgium gives his views on whether there has been an increase in cyber security roles since the WannaCry attack:

‘Since WannaCry, the NHS has had to take additional steps to ensure that an attack which had significant negative impact on all aspects of its operations is prevented in the future. Therefore, NHS Digital  have commissioned additional external support to audit systems and processes locally. (NHS, Lessons learned review of the WannaCry Ransomware, 2018) They have also continued to provide on-site data security assessments to NHS organisations, where security is seen to be paramount, with more emphasis placed onto this part of the business. Organically, the demand for cyber security roles increases across the IT infrastructure, tools and resources.’

With the heightened importance of proper online protection now fully in the public eye, many companies have been looking to bolster their ranks with more cyber security professionals. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study discovered that almost 40% of European companies are looking to grow their cyber security teams by around 15%.

However, while the ambition to grow these teams shows that the risks are not being ignored, the report suggests that the recruitment drive could leave Europe with a skills gap of 350,000 cyber security professionals by 2022. The reason for this skill shortage building up over the next few years is largely caused by strong global recruitment targets, a shortage of qualified candidates and an urgency that means companies would rather recruit an established expert instead of training someone internally. 

It’s not just an increase in cyber-attacks that has led to this high demand across Europe, the looming General Data Protection Regulation deadline is also forcing businesses to look at their internal security.

The new GDPR legislation means that companies need to make sure they’re storing their data fairly and securely. Failure to comply with the regulation could lead to a fine up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is greater. With more imposing punishments set for those who do not keep their data secure and fair, data protection is also a huge driving factor for businesses.

In a technology driven world, such a wide skills gap needs to be solved proactively, the report mentioned previously recommends three ways in which business can help ensure that they the necessary skills to protect against any potential cyber-attacks:

  • Look beyond social and professional networks. This will help pave the way for younger professionals to grow their talents in the industry
  • Invest in the necessary development and training. Such a huge skills gap will lead to an increase in salaries. So, to avoid competing with some of Europe’s biggest business, you can try to employ from within.
  • Communicate your requirements so that you can prioritise specific skills. Like in any career, cyber security professionals are always looking to develop. Offering them a role where they can learn and adapt will help attract talent.

Another of our Cyber Security Specialists Daniel Williams gives his views on how the skills gap can be solved:

'Cyber Security attacks are complex, and they will be very different now, to what they were two years ago,  therefore, the security experts employed to look after the businesses information and prevent such attacks need to be skilled to the highest of standards.

This means that naturally more business budget should be invested into security and fund on-going necessary training, with a business plan in place where these professionals are seen by all to be an intrinsic part of the business and keeping it safe.’

While the skills gap is worrying for businesses, cyber security professionals are going to be presented exciting new opportunities across Europe.

The need for cyber security specialists is stronger than ever. As society continues to become increasingly more connected, companies all around Europe are going to be trying to attract the best talent that can protect their online presence.

However, with a skills shortage set to reach 350,000 in just a few years, those who don’t bolster their ranks or train internal staff early, could find themselves unprepared for the constantly evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Looking for a new role or hiring in cyber security? Email Oliver Baker or Daniel Williams today!

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