Career & Education

Wanted: Trained cybersecurity professionals

Sunday, September 17, 2017

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In the face of the increasing prevalence, sophistication and impact of cybercrimes, technology companies need to offer more training and certification courses to students to close the existing talent/skills gap of cybersecurity professionals and enable the growing digital economy to stave off cybersecurity threats.

That's the argument Fortinet's director of Human Resources for Latin America and the Caribbean Elisa Ball makes.

Quoting financial and tech media outfit Forbes, Ball said one million new jobs are created in cybersecurity each year, with the number of professionals required globally expected to increase from five to six million by 2019.

“Anyone who has tried to hire a security professional has seen the shortage of people with the skills needed to plan, design, implement and manage a cybersecurity strategy,” she said.

That's a clear sign, she argues, that “demand for trained cybersecurity professionals far exceeds supply”.

“The security industry needs to increase the available training and certification needed to meet this growing demand, targeting ideal candidates, such as university students, to fill these positions. Many of today's students are already familiar with technological and privacy issues and are driving the changes that fuel our transition to a digital economy. Technology is a second language for many of them, and, with proper guidance, they can provide unique insight into the minds of cybercriminals and the tools they use,” Ball continued.

She further bases her argument on the Evolution of HR Technology study which finds that more than 25 per cent of companies consider human talent, its management and integration in organisations to be a factor in competitiveness.

“Ensuring a strong future for digital security and the global economy depends not only on innovations in security, but also on the people who run and operate the cybersecurity areas at the companies. Behind the tools used for cybercrime are people, which is why well-trained professionals are necessary to help combat future threats,” the Fortinet HR director says.

It is for that reason, she says, that Fortinet - an American multinational corporation that develops and markets cybersecurity software, appliances and services - unveiled the Fortinet Network Security Academy three years ago. Designed to develop and train cybersecurity experts to help reduce the global skills shortage, the programme is free for universities and students and is available around the world, including in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

“Through these types of offerings, educational institutions can provide courses designed to optimise participants' skills and knowledge regarding different cybersecurity-related areas, including enterprise firewall management, the implementation and consolidation of advanced technological solutions and network security management, among others.

“In addition to these timely training [courses], college students can access international certification exams that will validate their network security skills and prepare them to successfully enter the job market,” says Ball.

The alternative, she adds, will only continue to put businesses and organisations at a disadvantage against “highly sophisticated and well-organised” cybercriminals.

Fortinet is the fourth-largest network security company by revenue.

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