BY: ONOME AMUGE
Cyber security jobs are among the fastest-growing globally, but the industry has a 2.5 million jobs deficit it must fill to keep up with an evolving digital underworld where cyber attacks have become increasingly complex and difficult to detect, morphing into indiscriminate and elaborate operations.
Mohammed Arif, director of modern workplace and security at Microsoft UAE, made the assertion while harping on the need to educate people on the key new trends and skills to become strong security professionals.
According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, a leading research firm covering the global cyber economy, cyber criminal activities inflicted damages worth about $6 trillion globally in 2021, and is projected to grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.
The Microsoft director explained that ransomware was the attack of choice and caught people by surprise in 2021, and was only part of the rapid acceleration of cyber attacks that have become more complex, frequent and increasingly destructive.
Recounting the attack on the US IT management company, SolarWinds, which compromised big companies, governments and countless individuals on several continents, Arif emphasised the need for greater information technology vigilance and more watchful eyes within corporate ranks.
With the number of job openings expected to grow to 3.5 million by 2025, according to industry data, the cybersecurity expert explained that the shortage of manpower is putting a strain on security teams and organisations who are faced with the challenge of scrutinising candidates for cybersecurity jobs which requires expertise on new as well as the latest knowledge on how cybercriminals operate.
To minimise the already challenging nature of selecting the right people for the job, a Microsoft study advised companies to cast a wider net and promote more inclusion in hiring, and also include women, who represented only a quarter of cyber security jobs in 2021, noting that they have a huge opportunity to contribute to the field.
Corroborating the recommendation, Arif said organisations can vastly decrease the deficit by deliberately expanding hiring capacities and mentorship of underrepresented groups who can bring significant value.
“But there is also a responsibility from corporate leadership to ensure that their staff get the proper training or risk cyber crime seeping through cracks in their infrastructure,” he added.