by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa must look no further than its growing number of unemployed youths to tackle the dearth of necessary cyber security skills.
This is the advice of an industry executive as the continent’s most advanced economy is not spared the rising threat of cyber crime.
The shortage of skilled cyber security professionals numbers in the millions globally – affecting up to 82 percent of organisations – and possibly tens of thousands in South Africa.
The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2021 report from the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and the industry analyst Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) shows that the cyber security skills shortage has not improved.
The ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2021 reports that 55 percent of survey respondents have unfilled cyber security positions.
“At the same time, cyber attacks are soaring,” said Doros Hadjizenonos, regional Sales Manager at Fortinet.
FortiGuard Lab’s mid-year Global Threat Landscape Report reveals that ransomware alone has grown over tenfold over the past 12 months.
“Cybercrime has grown so huge and lucrative that without enough good guys to keep them safe, businesses and individuals alike are in jeopardy,” Hadjizenonos said.
Amid a growing cyber crime onslaught, industry leaders, governments and civil society are questioning where the necessary cyber security skills would emerge.
“In South Africa, we believe the answer to the skills shortage lies within our ranks of smart, but unemployed youth,” Hadjizenonos added.
He believes with up to 44 percent of the local labour force without work and as many as 59,5 percent of unemployed people under the age of 35, South Africa has a vast army of potentially tech-savvy people capable of being trained into cyber security positions.
In addition, the graduate unemployment rate is 40,3 percent for those aged 15–24 and 15,5 percent among those aged 25–34.
“With the right training and experience, these young people have the potential to bolster a new cyber defence force to support the country’s 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) development,” Hadjizenonos said.
Fortinet is providing training, certifications and resources through its Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) initiatives and Network Security Expert Training Institute programmes.
The self-paced NSE online courses are free.
More than 30 courses have been made available for free worldwide, with more than 1 million registrations.
Areas covered include Security Operations, Security-Driven Networking, Adaptive Cloud Security and Zero Trust Access.
There are now 420 authorised Security Academies in 85 countries and territories around the world, including five in South Africa.
Fortinet has pledged to train 1 million people globally across the next 5 years through its various training programmes and Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.
– CAJ News