The recent TalkTalk hack, which seriously curtailed the company’s operations for a few days last month has put the issue of cyber security front row centre. The damage that a hack can do to both a company’s reputation and its productivity is considerable and yet workforce solutions provider Gibbs S3 is warning that there is currently a critical shortage of qualified cyber-security specialists.
The global demand for cyber-security professionals is set to grow to six million by 2019 with the shortfall expected to be around 1.5 million, which will be a cause of concern for HR professionals seeking to attract and retain talent.
Measures introduced by the UK Government, including Cyber Essentials, a programme aimed at providing basic cyber-security awareness quickly and cheaply for SMEs have been launched, but, Gibbs S3 claims, these initiatives are decidedly insufficient when it comes to combating modern Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) which threaten British businesses. In 2015 alone, Ashley Madison, TalkTalk, Harvard University and the IRS have all be victims of sophisticated and damaging hacks.
“The range and severity of threats, coupled with the desperate shortage of skilled staff means that the majority of British companies are fighting an increasingly complex war with clearly insufficient resources. This issue is compounded by the fact that standing still is not an option – firms need to be far more proactive in beefing up their digital defences as the hackers who are looking to get in are constantly evolving and mutating their attacks,” commented Farida Gibbs, CEO and founder of Gibbs S3.
The dangers are not limited purely to larger companies either. Recent research from KPMG has found that 70 percent of SMEs can do significantly more to protect sensitive client data. Inadequate cyber-security protection could small businesses significant revenue losses
“We’ve now seen CEOs of major companies lose their jobs because of cyber-attacks which should be a serious wake-up call about the consequences,” commented Punam Tiwar, senior legal counsel and data protection specialist at Gibbs S3.