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Shortage in cyber security professionals highest ever – jumping by nearly 25% this year

Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash
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Cybersecurity contractors are in high demand, but companies can’t fill vacancies quick enough, The Freelance Informer reports.

When it comes to malware, ransomware is one of the fastest-growing threats in recent history, with experts estimating that one attack will take place every 11 seconds in 2021, Statista has reported. According to antivirus software provider Emsisoft, the liberal estimate for costs connected to ransomware hacks stood at $7.5 billion for 2019 alone.

Data from security firm Blackfog shows that from January to November of this year, 244 ransomware hacks were publicised, an increase of 25% compared to the same period in 2020.

“While this number may seem low at first glance, Blackfog’s data is focused on initial targets made public by hacking groups and the victims coming forward themselves. The number of systems affected in what were mostly so-called supply chain attacks are not listed in the site’s reporting,” according to Statista’s Florian Zandt.

It would seem that those kinds of breaches have become the norm and can affect thousands of businesses via one access point, as was the case with the Kaseya hack.

The attack against the US tech company was allegedly orchestrated by Yaroslav Vasinskyi, a member of now-defunct hacker group REvil. Vasinskyi has been charged by the Department of Justice after his arrest in Poland last month. The hack, which targeted approximately 1,500 businesses and resulted in ransom demands totalling $70 million according to TechCrunch, is only one of several hundred publicized ransomware attacks in 2021 as our chart indicates.

Even though the breach at the tech company was one of the more higher-profile cases, the majority of the publicised cyber-attacks with ransom demands hit different sectors like healthcare, education or services, according to Statista. Most of those hacks occurred in the government sector with 47 publicly addressed instances. Among the victims were the cities of Angers in France, Liege in Belgium and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as government bodies in the UK, Germany, Italy and India.

Talent shortage crisis

This growing threat is also faced with another obstacle: a shortage in cyber security professionals highest ever – jumping by nearly a quarter this year. This is according to a report by tech recruitment firm Harvey Nash, CIONET and Massachusetts Institute of Technology CISR.

The seemingly unending growth in the global tech sector is under threat as massive skills shortages reach an all-time high just as companies across the world signal their intentions to increase technology investment (60% intend to) and headcount (61%) to record levels.

Cyber security is the most sought after tech skill, said the report, with 43% indicating a shortage, up by almost a quarter in the last 12 months, followed by big data/analysts (40%), and technical architects (34%).

Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group said:

“With businesses planning record levels of digital investment, we could be standing on the verge of a ‘second renaissance’ for technology. Organisations are looking to push their digital transformations further and faster than ever before, putting technology at the very heart of how they operate. This will take them beyond being merely ‘tech-centric’: technology will literally be dispersed throughout the business, everywhere.

“But these ambitions are coming under threat from the acute skills shortages that are now worse than ever before. In fact, businesses face a triple whammy. They lack the supply of skilled resource they need; they have not yet evolved a new and effective employee proposition for the hybrid working world, and the skills they need are themselves changing as technology develops at pace. Digital leaders need to rapidly assess their needs and find solutions if their plans are not to be derailed by this potent cocktail of challenges.”

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