What is Cyber Security?

By Steven Galvin - Last update


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It’s become a common word but have you ever asked yourself ‘What is Cyber Security?’ Maybe you have an interest in it and have been thinking about finding out more or maybe pursuing it as a study option. Well, read on…

Cyber security is concerned with protecting the likes of computers, servers, networks, programs, mobile devices, electronic systems and data from unauthorized access or attack. All of these contain sensitive information, whether that be intellectual property, financial data, personal information, or other types of data which needs to be protected from unauthorized access or fall into the wrong hands. Such information can range from information relating to national security, through health, to financial records. Cyber security is about protecting this information stored on devices and online. 

The ever-expanding digital world we live in means more and more opportunities for hackers and cyber terrorists to breach the security of  individuals, large companies and government institutions often to disastrous consequences.

As a result, the area of cyber security is growing in order to counteract and stay ahead of this threat and ensure that  sensitive information remains protected, safe and secure. 

To defend against cyber attacks and security breaches, governments,  organisations and companies are willing to pay a lot for the security from cyber threats in order to protect their data and guarantee its safety.

However, it seems that we are somewhat behind in providing the necessary skills required to keep up with the growth in the industry. There are reports of a severe shortage of Cyber Security professionals with estimates of a global shortfall between 1.8 and 3.5 million security professionals within five years[1]. And yet The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects 36.5 percent employment growth for information and cyber security experts and analysts by 2022 [2]. This field has the fastest growth rate when compared with the rest of the technology jobs.

So the problem here is obvious.

Presently, in Ireland as around the globe,  there is a lack of skills data specific to cyber security in Ireland. A recent Cyber Ireland Skills Report identified these security skills gaps and skills shortages and remarked how they are impacting organisations of all sizes, across a range of sectors, including indigenous and foreign owned companies.

It goes without saying that something needs to be done if we are to address the skills shortages and put in place sufficient learning platforms and initiatives to encourage and assist more skilled workers into the cyber security sector. 

The Cyber Ireland Skills Report recommends a three-prong approach :

  1. a) Short Term: Organisations to adopt Remote Working practicesfor staff retention and remote teams.
  1. b) Medium Term: Facilitate Industry Upskilling through new short term courses leveraging Micro-Credentials and Online Learning.
  2. c) Long-Term: Initiatives to attract Children, Students and Adults into cyber security careers.

Alongside this, the report recommends a number of further measures to address the shortage of cyber security professionals and a clear skills shortage in the Irish labour market,  including

  • Cyber Skills Gaps Analysis to identify current and future needs of industry.
  • Cyber Security Career Framework for Europe to standardize roles, competencies and skills.
  • Evaluation of Organisations’ Internal Training Plans for cyber security skills.
  • Expansion of the Cyber Security Apprenticeship Programme
  • Ensure Graduates Skills meet industry needs and availability of Entry-Level Roles
  • Support the Attraction, Retention and Advancement of Women in cyber security

 

[1] www.cyberireland.ie

[2] www.ncirl.ie

 


Interested in Cyber Security? Take a look at courses available around Ireland.

 


Steven Galvin

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