An investigation by Future Intelligence has revealed an urgent need for more investment into cyber skills if the UK is to avert a cyber security meltdown.
The Fi investigation, carried out over the last two months on behalf of its sister organisation the Cyber Security Research Institute, has identified several crucial areas that need to be addressed to prevent the further haemorrhage of ideas and funds to Russia and China.
According to experts across the cyber security sector interviewed by FI, the UK needs as a priority to train in excess of 4000 new cyber security specialists and demand that all UK businesses recruit cyber security staff to prevent an annual loss to the UK economy estimated at between £18 and £27bn, 1 and 2% of UK GDP.
“The Government has to start considering the fact that every single UK business has to have dedicated staff in their organisation that are able to deal with the cyber security threat,” said Mark Raeburn, CEO of Context IS , one of only four companies recommended by the Government listening organisation GCHQ to deal with cyber threats.
Staff that do not currently exist in the UK market, according to Lucas Tang of Claremont Consulting, a recruitment company specialising in cyber security experts: “there is a genuine shortage of individuals with the relevant skills sets. There are just not enough people out there.”
A statement that received heavyweight backing four weeks ago from the National Audit Office which identified the cyber skill shortage as one of the crucial areas facing the UK in its report ‘The UK cyber security strategy: Landscape review’.
“The number of ICT and cyber security professionals in the UK has not increased in line with the growth of the internet. This shortage of ICT skills hampers the UK’s ability to protect itself in cyberspace and promote the use of the internet both now and in the future,” stated the NAO report.
A vulnerability that does not just affect the UK’s £121bn internet economy, one of the world’s largest but could also affect the UK’s economy as a whole, as a cyber attack could hit the nation’s critical national infrastructure.
This infrastructure includes the networks, computer systems and electronic data that underpin government, emergency services, communications, utilities, financial services, food, health, and transportation, services essential to daily life but owned mostly by the private sector.