How to overcome the global shortage of cybersecurity professionals

In 2016, the finance sector received 14% of all cyber-attacks in the year – an 11% increase from the previous year. This now puts it at the top of the cyber-attack list, along with the government. As a result, we’re seeing an increased demand for cybersecurity professionals in the industry. So what are the consequences of a cyber-attack, how can you protect your business from them, and where can you find the best candidates? We spoke with Jake Jacobs, a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Huxley, to find out more.

Cyber-attacks and breaches are incredibly costly

Over the years, a number of serious cyber-attacks have occurred within the banking and finance industry. Generally speaking, these attacks will result in a quantitative loss of money or data. As a result, it’s highly likely that breaches such as these will result in a significant loss of customer faith.  Research has indicated that this is a concern for millennials in particular, with over 80% expressing concern as to who can access their data.

In 2006, one of the first publicised UK data breaches in the industry took place; an unencrypted laptop was stolen from an employee of Nationwide Building Society, putting 11 million customers’ personal data at risk. As a result, the company was fined £980,000.

Fast-forward 10 years, and cyber-attacks become more common. Sage were breached, resulting in the loss of the employee data of up to 280 UK businesses. 40,000 Tesco Bank accounts were compromised as the result of a breach, with half the affected customers having money stolen from their accounts. And in 2017, Wonga’s breach exposed 245,000 customers’ personal details.

How to protect yourself from cyber-attacks

Due to the nature of cyber-attacks, there’s no single form of defence that provides enough protection. It’s not enough to rely solely on your anti-virus software anymore; you need to cover all bases. This includes:

  • Educating your employees on the best practices
  • Ensuring your anti-virus software, firewalls, and operating systems are up-to-date
  • Investing in a cybersecurity team that can monitor, oversee, and react when necessary
  • Using micro-segmentation software to minimise the impact of a hacker if breached

By doing this, you’re not only making it as difficult as possible for your data to be breached, you’re also minimising the damage done should a hacker access your system. For many companies, this seems like an expensive and time-consuming undertaking – but when you compare it to the cost of data loss, it’s worth doing. Hiring cybersecurity professionals can not only save money, but it also highlights the lengths that you’re willing to go to in order to protect your customers.

GDPR adds a sense of urgency

As soon as EU GDPR is fully introduced in May 2018, organisations will have 72 hours to report any breaches. When you consider that it takes, on average,  146 days for companies to become aware of a breach, this could prove quite challenging.

This is why it’s essential to have multiple levels of defence, with software in place that will alert your cybersecurity team of any attacks. This will allow them to isolate the breach and limit the damage. In the past, the demand for cybersecurity professionals in banks perhaps wasn’t as significant as threats and attacks were less common. Now, however, it’s essential that banks have appropriate systems in place. So it’s extremely beneficial for companies to invest in professionals who can deal with these issues on a long term basis.

The global shortage of cybersecurity professionals

74% of consumers say they would change provider should a breach occur, so it’s understandable that more companies are investing in their cybersecurity team. We’ve noticed a significant increase in companies using consultancies to combat the issue rather than hire permanent in-house professionals. The aim is that they’re able to learn from tech professionals, giving them the ability to solve problems independently. While a quick and inexpensive fix may seem like an attractive solution, when it comes to cybersecurity, the integrity of your business is at stake.

Investing in experienced cybersecurity professionals could save you money in the long run. It will also give you constant access to individuals with up-to-date specialist knowledge. However, perhaps more importantly, it also sends a clear message to your customers. Safety and security is of the utmost importance, and reassuring your customers of this is vital.

However, there’s currently a global shortage of cybersecurity experts and it’s expected that by 2022, this shortfall will reach 1.8 million. This means that while the demand for skilled professionals increases, the number of workers available is set to decrease.

Here at Huxley, we have access to cybersecurity experts all over the world. Our strong relationships with candidate’s means our talent pool is ever-growing. So if you’re looking to permanently hire cybersecurity experts, or would like contractors to work with you on a project, contact us today to find out how we can help.

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