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UK businesses at risk from cyber skills gap

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/deepadesigns)

The cybersecurity skills gap in the UK has reached a “crisis point”, according to a new report from RedSeal. Polling UK CIOs and senior IT professionals on the ongoing war against online fraud and cybercrime, the report says UK businesses are “on the backfoot” as the skills gap widens further.

The vast majority of CIOs and senior IT pros are saying they’re having a difficult time finding rightly skilled staff which they deem necessary to combat serious organised online crime.

Brexit isn’t helping either, as many of the potential new employees come from outside the UK. Once the process is done, getting people from continental Europe, or elsewhere around the world, to come work in the UK, is only going to get harder.

Hackers and criminals, on the other hand, are relentless. The report says the threats and their impact on UK businesses will continue to grow. More than four in five (81 per cent) of CIOs and senior IT pros said their organisations suffered a data breach in the last 12 months.

Not having properly skilled employees has also contributed to a lack of proper response planning. Almost half of the respondents said their organisations don’t have a plan in place, in case of a security breach.

“Across the industry, we have drained the talent pool for security professionals. There’s a global shortage of about 4 million cybersecurity pros, up from just over 3 million last year,” commented Dr Mike Lloyd, CTO at RedSeal and expert in the study of the spread of malware. 

“The UK’s education system can help, but not quickly – professionals agree that it takes about 10 years of real-world experience to develop the skills needed to combat today’s threats, so we’re facing a sustained drought for talent. Automation can help but cannot replace human intuition and insight. We have to build hybrid teams, combining computers for all the drudge work so that the few human analysts can focus on the security tasks that matter.”