Cybersecurity: Will This Be 2018’s Biggest Job Opportunity?

Hacker at computer

Did you know that a worrying 50% of UK companies believe that they do not employ anyone with the technical skills required to deal with a cyber attack? Is your organisation one of them? Or are you one of the 51% of IT personnel who thinks you have not had sufficient training in the area of cybersecurity? The statistics are pretty scary – especially when you consider the frequency and scale of hacks, attacks and data theft.

In order to help combat this very real and dangerous threat a new standard for compliance will come into effect on May 25th of this year. The GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – is aimed at any organisation that processes the personal data belonging to anyone within the EU. And with less than a year to ensure that businesses are compliant with the GDPR, having staff with the technical know-how in this field is going to be critical.

But as the percentages above show, there appears to be a definite skills gap when it comes to cybersecurity – meaning that companies are struggling to find the right IT professionals to ensure their, and their data’s, security. While that’s not good news for businesses, it is potentially great news for anyone in the IT sector who either possesses the relevant skills, or who is willing to work to acquire them.

What can organisations do to prepare for the GDPR?

If you’re a large organisation you may need to hire, or appoint, a DPO (Digital Protection Officer) but at the very least, all companies that process or control data will need to review their existing practices to ensure that they are handling and protecting personal data in a manner that is compliant with the GDPR. Processes for reporting a breach of data will also need to be re-examined as HR departments, or those otherwise responsible for processing an organisation’s data, will soon be required to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office in the event of a personal data breach. And unless the data is encrypted or doesn’t identify an individual, this must be done within 72 hours.

How can individuals add cybersecurity to their skill set?

While the government is addressing the issue by planning to increase the number of computer science teachers in schools, obviously this is not going to help anyone currently in the job market. What may be of more interest are their plans to open a national centre for computing and provide remote learning courses. However if you’re an IT worker and want to take advantage of the skills gap and get up to speed with what is potentially 2018’s biggest employment opportunity right  away, why not do some research, find some existing training and ask your organisation to book you on a course? After all, it’s in their interests as much as yours for you to become a qualified cybersecurity expert!