Australia tops the list when it comes to a skilled shortage in cybersecurity, as reflected in a recent study conducted by Intel Security, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Findings from report found that 88 per cent of participants in Australia reported a skilled shortage in their organisations, compared to an average of 82 per cent in the other countries.
According to the study, the low supply and high demand for cybersecurity professionals has also driven up salaries. In the US, cybersecurity positions pay almost 10 per cent 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 per cent), technical skills in software development (81 per cent) 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," he said.
"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."
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."
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," he added.
"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.
Australia had the second highest level for the view that the country is well informed on the issue of data privacy (72 per cent said they were either extremely or very well informed); 68 per cent said they believe that the laws and regulations for cybersecurity are the right level of strictness; and 79 per cent said cybersecurity laws and regulations are effective in the country.
Across Australian organisations, nearly half (44 per cent) feel that they are a target for hackers due to limited cybersecurity and nearly a third (27 per cent) say they have lost proprietary data already.
Meanwhile, 57 per cent of local organisations look for a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement, but only 27per cent said this was important when evaluating candidates for cybersecurity job.
While only one in four (24 per cent) say that education programs fully prepare professionals for the cybersecurity industry, one in ten Australian organisations look at participation in hacking competitions as an important feature (13 per cent) - higher than the average 10 per cent.
In addition, 87 per cent of Australian organisations said that hacking competitions play a role in developing cybersecurity talent (global average of 68 per cent), with 72 per cent of respondents reporting that they had participated in one in the past (global average of 51 per cent).