Training and Awareness for the Next Generation IT- and Cybersecurity Knowledge

All companies are currently facing an eyebrow-raising talent shortage of skilled IT- and cybersecurity staff at all corporate levels. All surveys and inquiry findings stress that the current pool of Data, IT and cybersecuritygraduates and practitioners fall short of demand. Despite the current shortage, The Board of Directors and Management must realise that it could take up to a couple of decades to address the skills gap and make provisions to resolve the issue.

All companies are in dire need of Data, IT and cybersecurity training and education that include establishing sound policies, procedures, monitor the processes, test the technical controls, as essential components of adequate security, educating employees in IT and cybersecurity. This is the best investments a company can make as it is a rational recognition that management will take to create a more secure future for the company’s assets and address the rapid and continuous evolution of IT and cyber threats.

Capacity to fight the current wave of cyber attacks
This is a challenge most Data and IT management teams are addressing. Connecting with the growing academic programs on IT and Cybersecurity encourages higher levels of collaboration among the educational institutes, industry, and government. The primary concern is the continued massive demand from employers for people capable of fighting off the current wave of cyber attacks.

The next issue is that by pulling the skilled talent out of the ranks of professionals, creates yet another shortage of trained teachers and professors who would otherwise be educating the next generation, conducting the critical research to address the cyber criminals and advance the state of the art solutions. Given the rapid and continuous evolution of IT and cyber threats, massive best practices and curriculum updates are issues that go undelivered.

Design IT and Cybersecurity training from the beginning
All stakeholders have the necessary means as well as the critical need to enhance the employees’ cybersecurity knowledge.The shortage of skilled staff is just as massive for large enterprises as for start-up businesses to medium-sized corporations, and from small non-profits to oversight and government agencies — to do their part.

There is however another structural issue with the education. To start with many IT professionals were never trained or educated in the IT security aspects of the current applications and systems. The services offered by training and development private institutes often focus on this GAP and address inpractical terms the new training and awareness requirements in Compliance programs.

Another important way to achieve enhanced IT security is to design IT and Cybersecurity from the start:

  • in new application development
  • in how data is managed, and
  • in the creation and development of IT infrastructure.

Companies and employers should increase the budgets and invest more in training for IT employees’ by encouraging and supporting the pursuit of related certificates from private training programs. The financial investment for such seminars and conferences isnot significant compared to the updates, knowledge sharing and information they receive.

The dynamic field of cybersecurity complexities is expanding
Then there are multiple free, online resources that offer IT security-related courses, and numerous online webinars and YouTube videos that attract the attention of many employees on an individual basis. However, this is not the structured approach that will solve the skilled staff shortage crisis in the organisation.

Employees who have a couple or a decade old academic or practical IT and cybersecurity knowledge have more to learn. The dynamic field of cybersecurity is expanding, the complexities increasing,and there are many more domains to secure and more innovative ways to attack them.

Real-time security data analysis for cyber-physical attacks to protect of heterogeneous systems
Due to the lack of skills, cyber penetration and intrusions are hard to detect; attackers are stealthier and more evasive, and the academic programs that did emphasise encryption, cryptography and countering sniffing or denial-of-service attacks, that now cover areas like cyber-physical attacks, the protection of heterogeneous systems, and real-time security data analysis.

The Board and management must develop an education, training and awareness strategy that covers all elements and components on protecting themselves and the company assets. In a recent survey from our training seminars showed the following;

  • Close to 80% of the participants informed that an employee’s security misstep was the reason for a systems breakdown, had caused monetary loss and reputation and brand damage to their organisation.

The alarming reality is that many employees lacked simple disciplinary guidance and training to avoid participation or engaging in risky behaviour that caused a significant security breach. The lack of corporate policies and rules are often a general reason for taking a heavy toll on an avoidable breach. Areas such as  Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), limitations in the network and applications or surfing on social media are a few f the 20+ areas that must be addressed in the IT data Security Policies as a mistake can happen to anyone, regardless of their position in the organisation.

Collective digital training on secure handling of client data to social media sites
The best defense is to provide continued and comprehensive training and awareness education programs for all employees. Such training is not going to make every employee into a cybersecurity expert however the regular collective digital practice which covers matters from secure handling of client data to appropriate sharing on social media sites will provide the right guidance so that employees can quickly learn how to spot and avoid the most frequent types of IT and cyber threats, such as phishing attacks in emails.

Cybersecurity is a holistic problem and needs a holistic and comprehensive solution with interdisciplinary approach that include show organisations can ensure that their approach to security reaches all employees that are responsible for infrastructure, human resources, data, applications, ethics assurance, management policy, and legal compliance.

Send us an email to address the above issues with a strategy and a short- and long-term plan to address the above issues before it is too late.

The sophisticated technological advancements will continue to be more multifaceted therefore the Board and management must secure corporate networks against unintentional, or intentional, risky behaviour by any employee.