Home / News / India /  India Inc struggles to fill roles to counter rising cyberattacks

Covid-led shift to remote working has made organizations in India vulnerable to all sorts of cyberattacks. But amid a rise in such threats, Indian companies are also struggling to find cybersecurity talent. According to a Sophos survey, 60% of organizations in India said they have struggled to recruit people with required skills.

TeamLease Digital’s data shows that demand for cybersecurity skills has gone up by 18-20% over the last six months. “There is a demand for more than 1 lakh cybersecurity professionals in the market. However, as per our estimates currently the supply gap is up to 70% for a few of these skills," said Naren Bhagi, associate vice-president and business head, IT infrastructure, TeamLease Digital, a staffing company.

Bhagi said that most organizations are relying on skill development and upskilling of existing employees to bridge the gap.

To support hiring and reskilling programmes, organizations have also stepped up their cybersecurity spending. As per Kaspersky, the share of cybersecurity spending of the total IT budget for small and medium enterprises grew to 26% in 2020 from 23% in 2019. Spending by large enterprises grew to 29% from 26% during the same period. Sophos is expecting an increase in the median percentage of technology budgets spent on cybersecurity from 9% today to 10% in the next two years in India.

“Highly skilled resources are required for managing next-gen cybersecurity solutions and carrying out 24x7 threat hunting, detection and response to combat next-gen cyberthreats, which are advancing as we speak," said Sunil Sharma, managing director, sales, and Saarc, Sophos.

According to Shree Parthasarthy, leader, South Asia cyber and strategic services and Asia-Pacific cyber innovation at Deloitte, the “threat surface" has changed. This means that while cybersecurity needs earlier were to protect back office and other IT infrastructure, rapid tech adoption has added more avenues where cyberthreats can come from, say, internet of things, mobile security, digital transactions and more. “Like the telecom era, when we moved directly from landline to mobile, etc., here too we are leapfrogging a lot of things," he said.

Shortage of cyberskills is also a matter of concern for the Indian cybersecurity products industry, which as per Data Security Council of India, has grown by two times in the last two years, from $ 475 Million in 2018 to $1 billion in 2020. India is now home to over 200 cybersecurity firms. Parthasarthy pointed out that while there’s been a “mushrooming" of smaller cybersecurity firms, it’s not as easy a subject as software development etc. “Everybody thinks security is easy, but one incident can essentially wipe out the entire company," he said.

"All the statistics and trends go to show that the Indian cybersecurity industry has been expanding rapidly and the need for having skilled human capital is rising," said Rama Vedashree, CEO, Data Security Council of India.

Government and educational institutions have also escalated efforts to address the skill gap. “I think we as a country are still not very organized in terms of how we get out talent pool into this, and that’s a problem. We depend a lot more on the unorganized sector to fill this space," said Parthasarthy.

As per DSCI, more than 180 universities and colleges across the country have started to offer specialized cybersecurity degrees and courses, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Educational institutes are also collaborating with industry to impart specialized trainings and courses in areas like threat Intelligence, application security and security operations. CERT-In has stepped up its training programs for government officials.

DSCI has been conducting several programs in DevSecOps, Application Security, and many Hackathons all of which help build skills. “However, we need many more targeted interventions in skills development and upgrade for the new emerging job roles and also for leadership development," added Vedashree.


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