Cybersecurity in a digital world and the war for talent

By Merlin Piscitelli, Chief Revenue Officer, EMEA at Datasite

Sophisticated cyberwarfare and growing geopolitical tensions mean that cybersecurity threats are evolving at an even faster pace, affecting entire businesses, their operations and their hard-won reputations.

The microchip and electronics powerhouses have recently been hit by cyberattacks, where parts of their business were completely compromised, taken offline for a few days, and employee accounts exposed. Some of these violations were even committed by the same hacking and extortion group.

As a result, the need to fight cybercrime has become even more important in an increasingly digital and interconnected world. This translates into record levels of investment in cybersecurity, which is becoming a top priority for corporate executives, boards and investors, especially as governments warn of an increased threat from cyber- intrusions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The cybersecurity boom

Over the past 12 months the cybersecurity industry has achieved double digit growth and there are now nearly 2,000 active businesses in the UK providing cybersecurity products and services. In fact, the UK cybersecurity industry contributed an estimated £5.3 billion to the UK economy in 2021, up a third from 2020, and cybersecurity companies raised more than a billion of external investments in 84 transactions.

Simply put, the demand for cybersecurity has increased dramatically as the pandemic has thrust the digital revolution into hyperdrive. The pandemic has not only accelerated the adoption of digital solutions by consumers, but it has also accelerated companies’ digitization strategies.

As cybercriminals rise to the challenge, businesses now need cybersecurity solutions to protect a host of new entry points. However, with more than 2.5 million cybersecurity jobs available and the war for talent rapidly escalating, the industry is feeling the strain as pressure mounts for more defenses.

Closing the “skills gap”

Despite the rapidly growing market, the UK’s cybersecurity talent pool falls short at around 10,000 people a year. In fact, the cyber skills shortage in the UK has increased by more than a third in the last 12 months and cybersecurity is now the most sought-after tech skill in the UK.

With more than half, 54%, of UK CEOs believing that cybersecurity presents the best opportunity for TMT deals over the next year, demand will quickly outstrip the supply of expertise unless drastic measures are taken. be taken.

Market demand and the talent war

Companies have reacted to this in different ways. When asked what are the key strategic drivers for recent and future cross-border tech acquisitions, a third of UK M&A professionals surveyed cited access to skilled/specialist talent.

To continue to stay ahead of cyberattacks and manage risk, businesses must also invest in their workforce to ensure they have access to the resources needed to protect their digital ecosystem and support the ‘commercial activity.

Upgrading the skills of people already working in technology, as well as attracting newcomers, will be key to filling the current labor gap. To truly overcome the war for talent, companies will need to recognize the correlation between skills shortages and lack of inclusiveness and bring more meaningful levels of diversity to the sector.

However, tackling this current skills mismatch cannot be left to business alone and requires a united effort from governments, industry and academia. Awareness campaigns encouraging universities, schools and training organizations to promote cybersecurity as an exciting field with vast career opportunities can also go a long way in addressing the current imbalance.

Only by investing in cybersecurity talent will we have enough people with the expertise required to protect organizations’ digital ecosystems as the threat landscape becomes more diverse.

This article was submitted by an external contributor and may not represent the views and opinions of Benzinga.

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