2019 has been another unprecedented year for cyber threats, with some of the world’s biggest technology companies, banks, political parties and even nation-states all coming under attack. It would seem that no one is safe. Our trust in the digital world and in the companies that have responsibility over, and access to, our data is quickly eroding. As a result, earlier this year, The Human Rights Committee began its inquiry into the ‘right to privacy and the digital revolution’ following reports that UK citizens do not understand what happens to their data.
New risks such as deepfakes are presenting an increasing threat and traditional attack methods like ransomware and distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), continue to take hold of even some of the most secure organisations and infrastructures.
Recent research revealed that the cost of cybercrime in 2018 alone equated to £1.2 trillion. That is £2.3 million per minute. The 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, which is published by Cybersecurity Ventures, predicts, globally, businesses will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds. Furthermore, a report by NETScout revealed the ease at which IoT hacks can be carried out – it can take just five minutes to access an IoT device.
These are shocking statistics that will only get worse in the years to come as technology becomes even more integrated into our daily lives. To combat these threats, governments and businesses around the world will need to invest in hiring and training highly skilled workers to stay one-step ahead. We will see new roles within security departments emerge, requiring different capabilities to the jobs that we see on offer today.
Gazing into the future security department
In a recent report “21 More Jobs of the Future”, we outlined some of the new cybersecurity roles that will be critical over the coming years to help combat the growing cyber threat as the realms of the cyber and physical worlds continue to blur. They represent just some of the jobs that will emerge as a part of the changing employment landscape, combining human strengths, such as imagination and ingenuity, with new technologies such as AI and robotics. These new professions may include:
Cyber City Analysts, responsible for ensuring the functionality and security of the digital systems and processes that make modern cities work. They will also be the critical frontline, ensuring interoperable data flow keeps cities safe, secure and operational. Their role will be vital as IoT takes an increasingly prominent role in the modern world.
Cyber Attack Agents will be the new addition to the Special Operations division within the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and other global national security organisations, tasked with developing, undertaking and leading their nation’s cyber deterrent programme.
Juvenile Cybercrime Rehabilitation Counsellors will be vital in rehabilitating young cyber offenders and introducing them to ethical cyber use. Faced with temptations for not only physical crime, but now cyber-crime, this role will be critical in deterring future cyber-attacks and directing cyber criminals’ talents toward business roles that will make the most of their talent.
The information technology (IT) industry is one of the most affected by labour shortages. With an IET report recently revealing that over half of UK engineering and technology companies believe that a shortage of engineers is posing a threat to their business. Companies therefore need to create their own future and harness the skills of their employees, before somebody else does. Establishing training and education programmes and owning the upskilling of staff will be vital, not just for cyber-security, but for the technology industry as a whole.
Nurturing the right skills for a secure future
As technology evolves, the expectations of those people working with it are higher than ever and will only continue to increase. Not only will employees need a background in computerised prediction models, multitasking and cross-functional collaboration, but they will also require an in-depth knowledge of the highly technical workings of IP-networking and edge computing. In addition, an understanding of the standard practices, methods and techniques required to perform observations, forecasts and analysis will be necessary. Those with first-hand experience of working with machine-learning technology will be highly sought after.
Digital transformation is key for businesses in any industry in order to meet customer expectations and stay ahead of competitors. Cyber-security needs to be a part of that journey. As the cyber landscape continues to grow with the development of new technological innovations like AI and the expansion of networks due to an exponentially increasing number of IoT devices, cyber security simply cannot be put on the back burner. And neither can the roles and employee skills that will be vital in ensuring the success of an organisation’s digital transformation journey.