Investing in cyber for business

by Mark Rowe

Educating for careers in cybersecurity can benefit your business, writes Melanie Jones, pictured, Business Development Director – Cybersecurity at the IT training company Global Knowledge.

Malware attacks are one of the biggest threats facing global businesses, costing companies, on average, $2.4 million. Organisations hit by online attacks could pay thousands in ransom fees and in replacing damaged equipment, which could result in weeks of lost productivity. As these threats rise, so does the need for trained cybersecurity specialists to keep businesses protected in a turbulent online future.

Online attacks are on the rise, with the number of reported cyber incidents doubling in 2017. It’s an unavoidable threat for all businesses, especially as we move towards a modern workforce with more connected devices and a common BYOD culture. With all the speed and convenience benefits of working from more connected devices, it opens more entry points for attackers and makes it more difficult for businesses to keep property protected.

Businesses looking to take a proactive approach to securing their devices and online property should consider hiring a dedicated cybersecurity specialist to focus on the role full-time. However, there’s a global skills shortage facing the market, with an estimated 3.5 million cybersecurity roles to be left unfilled by 2021. This means those with the desired skills are in high demand and able to command bigger salaries and take their pick from a wealth of opportunities. This is where investing in training an IT security specialist could put businesses ahead of their competition.

Cybercrime costs UK businesses an estimated £21 billion per year – mainly from intellectual property theft – with this number only set to rise as the number of cyber-attacks and their complexity increases. It’s clear to see why so many businesses are putting off investing in cybersecurity, not wanting to pay for something for which they’ll see no immediate physical return. However, taking a proactive approach to online security, rather than reacting once an incident has occurred, is a wise investment.

Investing in cybersecurity education for staff is a relatively inexpensive outgoing, compared with the bill you could b face if you need to hire a specialist to recover from an attack. There are plenty of options available to businesses looking to invest in cybersecurity training. Depending on the size of your businesses, it may be worth onboarding and training a full-time cybersecurity specialist or funding training for existing IT staff.

Cybersecurity training courses start at foundation level – teaching students the basics – and move through specialist and practitioner courses to expert-level certifications. This means, whether you’re looking to train a dedicated specialist to a high level or add specific knowledge to an employee’s skillset, there’s a course to suit everyone. Funding training isn’t just an investment for the future though, and for those looking for a tangible return, it’s been shown those who’ve completed cybersecurity courses go on to practically apply their knowledge at work within four weeks.

With cybersecurity specialists in high demand, demonstrating you value the personal growth of your employees by funding and supporting training could make you an attractive potential employer. It’s an opportunity to build a mutual relationship, with the trainee benefiting from funded training and the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real business.

The competitive market for the brightest cybersecurity talent has seen the value of training certifications soar. In fact, a recent study found six of the twenty highest-paying IT certifications were in security, including the top certification, CISSP. However, as cyber threats are constantly changing and growing more complex, there’s no one certification that covers all aspects of cybersecurity. The cyber landscape is continually changing, so there is always something new to learn. Existing courses are frequently updated and new courses are frequently being bought to market.

This is part of what makes cybersecurity specialists such a sought after talent, as they must have such a versatile skillset and adapt to a growing number of new threats. Organisations willing to fund the constant development of cybersecurity specialists place themselves in a solid position to both attract and retain the best talent.

The positive impact of securing your business’ online property expands beyond the direct economic benefit, too. With a dedicated specialist working to make business processes safer, it gives the wider team the peace of mind, as they have an expert on hand to own the responsibility of any cybersecurity issues.

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