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Lockdown: Cyber security demands grow amid shortage of skilled professionals

A November 2019 workforce study by ISC2, found that the global shortage of cyber security professionals has crossed 4 million. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
A November 2019 workforce study by ISC2, found that the global shortage of cyber security professionals has crossed 4 million. (Photo: Reuters)

  • Cyber security demands were 10% of the total IT requirements, during lockdown they have gone up to 15%
  • Cyber security market is poised to grow exponentially, fuelled largely by remote working requirements during the pandemic

NEW DELHI: The growing wave of cyber-attacks targeting individuals and organisations during lockdown has led to an increase in demand for skilled cyber security professionals.

Before the covid-19 outbreak, cyber security demands were 10% of the total IT requirements. During lockdown they have gone up to 15%. Once the lockdown lifts, it is expected to go up to 20%, according to TeamLease Services, India’s leading staffing company.

Persistence market research also suggests that cyber security market is poised to grow exponentially, fuelled largely by remote working requirements during the pandemic.

“In such a scenario, cyber security assumes a rather more critical role. It is widely expected that during and after the pandemic, the demand for cyber security professionals would go up as the attack surface would immensely widen and organizations would need to further beef up their cyber security posture," said Rama Vedashree, chief executive, Data Security Council of India.

Cyber criminals have unleashed a wave of ransomware and phishing attacks targeting organisations and individuals. The shortage of skilled professionals in cyber security has exacerbated the problem.

“Even before the pandemic there was big gap in supply and demand. We were finding it difficult to fulfil the requirements. On an average 13% of our demands were related to cyber security and we were able to fulfil only 7% of them," rues Sunil C, head- specialized staffing, TeamLease Digital.

A November 2019 workforce study by ISC2, found that the global shortage of cyber security professionals has crossed 4 million. To meet the growing demand, the global cyber security workforce must grow at a staggering rate of 145% every year.

Vedashree pointed out that although the talent pool gap has seen a narrowing over the last years, there continues to be a shortage of skilled resources in some niche and upcoming domains such as SCADA systems, 5G and IoT security.

There has been an increase in industry led training and certification programs for imparting the core domain skills. Under the ISEA (Information Security Education and Awareness) programme, several engineering institutes are providing undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral courses in cybersecurity. The CyberShikshaa programme, led by Microsoft & DSCI, aims at equipping women engineers with cyber security skills.

“There is also a very specific focus on re-skilling the existing workforce in order to upgrade the skill set and make employees ready for a diverse set of roles," adds Vedashree.

Sunil C said once this crisis is over the discretionary spends allocated for digitisation is going to come down. In scenarios like this it makes more sense to re-train existing IT professionals and encourage them to pick cyber security skills.

Many of the cyber security processes such as threat detection, vulnerability management are now getting automated. Adoption of ML (machine learning) has also increased. Sunil C doesn’t think this will reduce dependence on humans, adding, “I don't think organisations can entirely rely on automation. They still need cyber security professional to manage the automated tools. And this dependence is likely to grow going forward."

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