Global shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals

By Given Majola for IOL

While cybercrime has increased significantly, there are not enough cybersecurity professionals to keep businesses and individuals safe, leaving them in great jeopardy, says Fortinet regional sales manager Doros Hadjizenonos.

He said the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals was in the millions globally – affecting up to 82 percent of organisations and possibly tens of thousands in South Africa.

“The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2021 report from the Information Systems Security Association and the industry analyst Enterprise Strategy Group shows the cybersecurity skills shortage has not improved and the State of Cybersecurity 2021 reports that 55 percent of survey respondents have unfilled cybersecurity positions.

“At the same time, cyberattacks are soaring. FortiGuard Lab’s midyear Global Threat Landscape Report reveals that ransomware alone has grown over tenfold over the past 12 months,” said Hadjizenonos.

Fortinet, an American multinational corporation that develops and sells cybersecurity solutions, said in the face of a growing cybercrime onslaught, industry leaders, governments and civil society were questioning where the necessary cybersecurity skills would come from to defend organisations against the risks.

Hadjizenonos said in South Africa they believed the answer to the skills shortage lay within the ranks of smart but unemployed youth.

“With up to 44 percent of our labour force without work and as many as 59.5 percent of unemployed people under the age of 35, we have a vast army of potentially tech-savvy people capable of being trained into cyber security positions.

“What’s more, many of these unemployed young people have tertiary qualifications: the graduate unemployment rate is 40.3 percent for those aged 15 to 24 and 15.5 percent among those aged 25 to 34.”

The firm said with the right training and experience, these young people had the potential to bolster a new cyber defence force to support the country’s Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To close the gap, Fortinet said it was committed to closing the cybersecurity skills gap challenge by providing training, certifications and resources through its Training Advancement Agenda initiatives and NSE Training Institute programmes.

Fortinet said it has made all of its self-paced online courses from the Network Security Expert Training Institute available for free, to give all levels of students or information and communications technology practitioners a foundational and advanced understanding of cybersecurity tools and principles.

Since making more than 30 courses available free to anyone worldwide, there have been more than one million registrations for the training courses.

Those interested in transitioning into a career in cybersecurity could also take advantage of Fortinet’s education pathways to enhance their skill sets in specialised areas such as security operations, security-driven networking, adaptive cloud security and zero trust access.

Meanwhile, the Security Academy Programme enables educational institutions around the world to help learners become part of an elite group of skilled cybersecurity professionals.

There are now 420 authorised security academies in 85 countries and territories around the world, including five in South Africa.

Fortinet said it had bolstered its commitment to address the cybersecurity skills gap by pledging to train one million people globally across the next five years through its various training programmes and corporate social responsibility efforts.


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