More than a third of businesses in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) are on the hunt for cyber security talent as the number of potential threats continues to rise.
According to a report by IT trade association CompTIA, 75 per cent of professionals from a range of sectors indicated that their organisations were looking to improve their security expertise.
The research, which surveyed 83 CompTIA certification candidates and registered users across A/NZ, found that more than a third of firms intended to plug the gap with training.
Another planned to hire externally, while meanwhile intended to offer a security certification to their workers.
Furthermore, 20 per cent are exploring the use of third parties and outsourcing security while 14 per cent are looking to expand their use of third parties.
The volume and variety of cyber attacks is cited as one of the main factors contributing to the security skills shortage.
“Today’s technology stack contains a diverse set of components, and any of these can be vulnerable,” the research said. “A breach in any one element could disrupt operations, leak data, or create access to other parts of the system.”
The research follows the publication of Australia’s Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan 2018, which found the industry needs 17,600 additional professionals by 2026 to “meet its potential”.
The report, published by AustCyber in November, claimed the shortage was costing $400 million in lost revenues and wages.
“Given the current skills gap, the importance of offering security training and certification will be more important than ever in equipping the future workforce,” said James Bergl, CompTIA A/NZ channel community executive council member.
“For channel businesses, the skills gap may lead to an increase in outsourced security as A/NZ businesses are left with few other options. Heavy competition from competing channel businesses will mean that a strong sense of loyalty will be required for the channel to retain its talent.”
In the long-term, Australia’s education system could produce enough graduates by 2026 to fill the skills shortage, the AustCyber report said.
The number of cyber graduates is expected to quadruple from around 500 per year in 2017 to about 2,000 a year in 2026, based on the current course offerings by cyber security education providers.
However, in the medium-term more efforts need to come from the industry itself, such as through better information and low-cost training places for existing IT workers, it added.