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UK Cyber Security Council First Initiatives to Tackle Skills Gap

With the UK’s cybersecurity hampered by a lack of skills, the Cyber Security Council has made tackling the gap a priority.

The UK’s Cyber Security Council has launched its first two initiatives to help develop the country’s cybersecurity industry.

Both programmes will see the creation of a new committee – a Professional Standards & Ethics Committee and a Qualifications & Careers Committee.

According to the council, raising professional standards for cybersecurity is its most important immediate priority. Doing so will help ensure a common set of professional standards are adopted through education and training interventions relating to cybersecurity.

The other council committee will work on an initial mapping of CyBOK’s Qualifications Framework onto a public-facing Career Pathways Framework.

The two committees will help tackle a major issue facing the UK’s cybersecurity defences – the skills gap. According to a 2021 government report, half of all private sector businesses identify a basic technical cyber security skills gap.

In addition, a third said they have a more advanced technical skills gap, in areas such as penetration testing, forensic analysis, security architecture or engineering, threat intelligence, interpreting malicious code and user monitoring.

And over 2020 and 2021, the cybersecurity landscape has begun to deteriorate. Research warned that 2020 saw a 485% increase in global ransomware attacks compared to 2019. Councils across the UK have reported numerous data breaches due to a lack of funding and security.

In the government report, it warned that among the 47% of cyber sector firms that have had any cyber security vacancies since the start of 2019, almost six in ten (57%) had at least one vacancy that they considered to be hard to fill.

As such, ensuring adequate training is essential to meeting the growing cybersecurity needs of UK organisations.

As part of the move, the council has invited the 16 members of the Cyber Security Alliance – the group of organisations commissioned by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to establish the council. The council began work on March 31st of this year.

Interim chief executive of the council Don MacIntyre said: “While the council is uniquely supported by the UK Government and has a Board of experienced industry professionals, it will be through its members that the UK Cyber Security Council will play a central role in driving the cyber security industry forwards.

“We don’t have the luxury of starting with something ‘easy’: professional standards and qualifications & careers are the two stand-out issues facing the profession, so we’re going to hit the ground running.

“There will never be a better opportunity for the profession to influence its own direction and development than joining the council and getting involved with these first two committees.”

Any organisation interested in promoting, supporting and developing the cyber security profession can apply for membership of the council, with an application process to commence shortly. The council will welcome its first members from September.

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