Cyber skills gap ‘reaches breaking point’

New research conducted amongst UK chief information officers (CIOs) and senior IT professionals has revealed that the cyber security skills gap has reached a crisis point.

The study from digital resilience firm RedSeal showed that 87 per cent reported that they are struggling to find cyber security professionals with the expertise needed to combat serious and organised online crime, while 73 per cent said that uncertainty around Brexit was a concern when it came to hiring security professionals from outside the UK.

An overwhelming 95 per cent said that Brexit will widen the current skills gap, since many IT security professionals currently within British business are from outside the UK, mostly due to the lack of advanced cyber security education provided locally.

It has been just over a year since parliament's Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy - a cross-party group that works across both the Commons and Lords - published a report exposing the UK's lack of digital skills, even within some of its own security agencies.
The report revealed that “although the UK has one of the most vibrant digital economies in the world, there is not currently the cyber security skills base to match, with both the government and private sector affected by the shortage in skills”.

At the time, authors of the report voiced concerns around the government’s lack of urgency in addressing the cyber security skills gap in relation to Critical National Infrastructure, yet RedSeal pointed out that nothing has been done to address this.

The report showed that 81 per cent have suffered a cyber security breach in the last 12 months. The lack of skills has also contributed to a lack of proper response planning, with 40 per cent of senior IT professionals stating that their business do not have a plan in place to respond to a security breach.

RedSeal urged the UK government to create a more robust education policy that will deliver the skills needed in the future.

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