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How the Cyber Security Industry will Transform Post-Pandemic
2020 has seen the field of cybersecurity grow in relevance, with cybersecurity professionals being highly sought-after to manage business continuity plans and set up safe remote working arrangements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed organisational cyber risks like never before, prompting businesses to strengthen their cybersecurity strategy (or even implement one for the first time).
Cybersecurity professionals are now an indispensable talent, well-positioned to make their mark on a post-pandemic world.
Cyber threats and security gaps exposed by the pandemic
COVID-19 has brought light to countless cybersecurity challenges, which organisations of all sizes and descriptions are now grappling with. Some of these challenges have arisen as businesses try to manage new work-from-home protocols, while others are COVID-specific cyber attacks.
The shift to working from home
With many businesses having to set up an entirely remote workforce, the following challenges have cropped up:
- Ensuring data security when giving remote employees access to sensitive information through the use of virtual private networks (VPNs)
- Safeguarding cloud services from potential breaches or attacks
- Preventing unauthorised parties from entering video conferencing meetings
COVID-specific cyber attacks
Criminals have also taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by launching COVID-specific attacks. Some worrying trends that have been observed include:
- An increase in COVID-related phishing in ransomware attacks, with criminals impersonating authority figures and institutions to prompt users to download an infection map, radar or other informational apps
- False charity campaigns, soliciting donations to fight the spread of the virus
We are likely to continue seeing increasingly sophisticated cyber-threats that use COVID-19 as bait. This is expected to extend beyond the pandemic, as we settle into a ‘new normal’ where the popularity of remote work and virtual communication platforms have prompted a ‘flexible workforce revolution’. This requires a highly skilled and responsive workforce, capable of predicting and responding to threats as they evolve.
The role of cybersecurity professionals during and beyond the pandemic
Unfortunately, many organisations lacked cybersecurity teams before the onset of the pandemic, leaving them scrambling to address cyberattacks and threats. Prior to the pandemic, there was a demand for 17,000 more cybersecurity specialists in Australia by 2026, with LinkedIn deeming cybersecurity specialists to be the second most in-demand emerging job of 2020.
These numbers have only increased since the pandemic, with Seek reporting an “increased demand for cybersecurity specialists” in April, as businesses sought to better manage their remote working practices.
At the same time, the Australian workforce is not currently meeting new cybersecurity demands. In fact, cybersecurity jobs take 20% longer to fill than typical IT roles, indicating a lack of appropriately skilled talent.
So what does all this mean for aspiring cybersecurity professionals?
Cybersecurity holds the key to job security
The above figures indicate that there is a fantastic opportunity for budding cybersecurity professionals in terms of career pathways and job security. According to Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future, cybersecurity is a wonderfully future-proof career path as “the growth is steep, the need will be sustained” and that this demand currently comes up against a major talent shortage.
The Australian government is also backing the profession, announcing that it will invest $1.35 billion into cybersecurity over the next ten years as part of the Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package. It is expected that the package will generate 500 new jobs.
There remains an anticipated talent shortage to actually meet this demand, resulting in cybersecurity salaries being higher than similar roles in IT.
According to Glassdoor, cybersecurity professionals make an average of $105,101, while the average salary in information technology roles is $85,262. This means that a career in cybersecurity will not only offer job security, but also an incredibly rewarding salary.
The cybersecurity talent that businesses need
Cybersecurity is no longer just a tech role, with cybercrime affecting banking and finance, healthcare, law, retail and more. Organisations are in need of professionals who can guide them through their digital transformation, set up reliable and safe remote access for employees, protect them from ransomware and malware, and otherwise help them adapt to the new normal of a post-COVID world.
To meet demand, some companies are finding themselves recruiting from within, offering upskilling and learning-on-the-job opportunities to talent already within the company. This is a cost-effective way to train talent into the roles they need fulfilled, with the added benefit of these employees already being familiar with business protocol and organisational culture.
The current state of affairs offers a fantastic opportunity for cybersecurity professionals to elevate their careers. 59% of cybersecurity positions require at least one certification, which means entry-level professionals would do well to consider building skills and earning credentials.
The University of Adelaide’s online Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security equips you to address real-world security concerns, becoming workforce ready in just eight months. Whether you’re looking to validate your existing cybersecurity skills or transition into this highly sought-after role, this graduate certificate will help you clearly illustrate your capabilities to employers.
Cybersecurity has grown enormously in importance due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. As organisations review their security operations and protocol post-pandemic, cybersecurity professionals who continue to upskill and build relevant experience are set to succeed.
The University of Adelaide is a Group of Eight (Go8) university that offers unique 100 per cent online programs in the areas of cyber security, data science, psychology, and business. Taught by forward-thinkers who are leaders in their field, our online programs offer flexibility for those looking to gain a globally recognised qualification while managing existing commitments. Visit the website to find out more.
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