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Australia haa a huge national cybersecurity skills shortage, Intel Security says

By Hafizah Osman | Aug. 4, 2016
Nearly nine in 10 Australian IT execs say their companies need more skilled workers

Australia tops the list when it comes to a skilled shortage in cybersecurity. This is reflected in a recent study conducted by Intel Security, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In the report, which was based on research across a survey of 775 IT decision makers from public and private sectors in eight countries, Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and U.S., it found that 88 percent of participants in Australia reported a skilled shortage in their organisations.

This is compared to an average of 82 percent in the other countries. According to the report, the low supply and high demand for cybersecurity professionals has also driven up salaries. In the U.S., cybersecurity positions pay almost 10 percent more than other IT jobs.

The most desirable skills cited in all eight countries are intrusion detection, secure software development, and attack mitigation.

This was reflected in Australia – the most scarce skills in an organisation’s cybersecurity professionals were technical skills in intrusion detection (87 percent), technical skills in software development (81 percent) and technical skills in attack mitigation (76 per cent).

Intel Security solution architect, Andy Hurren, said the skills shortage is having a huge impact on companies across Australia.

“Nearly half of those that we spoke to feel exposed to hackers and a third have already lost data to cyber-attacks. It’s a clear issue affecting our industry and whilst the shortage is well known, this report helps to shine a spotlight on just what it means to our local businesses.

“Every day we are seeing seats go unfilled due to the shortage and we must rectify this,” he said.

Hurren added that while the talent shortage must be addressed, there lies an opportunity for the channel ecosystem to partner with organisations and customers to address the skills shortage.

“By bolstering managed security services and education offerings, as well as building robust security solutions that leverage the power of predictive analytics and automation, partners, resellers, MSSPs, MSPs and distributors can take an active role in mitigating risks from next generation cyber threats during a challenging time for the industry,” he mentioned.

According to Hurren, the Australian Government’s investment into education and cybersecurity is welcome.

“We as an industry need to do more to cultivate and encourage development of the right security skillsets for tomorrow’s workforce. Initiatives such as hacking competitions and industry cooperation with educational institutes are great ways to incubate and enable candidates with the skills we need."

The study also showed that unlike a global average of 76 per cent where respondents say their governments are not investing enough in programs to help cultivate cybersecurity talent and believe that the laws and regulations for cybersecurity in their country are inadequate, levels of awareness are high in Australia.


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