India has witnessed a rise in the number of cyberattacks in recent years. 2020, in particular, saw the highest numbers thus far, with over 1.16 Million cases reported, according to government reports. To put this in perspective, a recent report by IBM states that India was the second-most cyber-attacked country in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan.
As more companies and people in India get connected to the internet, cybersecurity becomes a severe concern. The COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced a new way of working – the entirely remote or hybrid work model. These new formats require companies to digitize operations and move to cloud-based servers, increasing the risk of breaches.
The remote work model also raised new concerns about data security. For instance, work-from-home put the onus of IT security on the employees and replaced physical security with ‘virtual’ fences. Employees had to be trained on newer protocols on system safety, information security, and navigating the world through VPN.
Some of these trends are here to stay. COVID-19 forced people to adapt and has highlighted the benefits of the newer work model. Going ahead, more companies will migrate permanently to cloud-based servers. More manufacturing plants will adopt Industry 4.0 practices, connecting their machines to the internet. Home devices will be operated via the Internet of Things (IoT). All of these will need a secure, reliable gateway that can withstand attacks.
The Cost of Cyber Attacks
Many companies are in the preliminary stages of digitalization and this requires retraining and upskilling of employees to navigate the new ‘virtual’ boundaries. It also requires educating the workforce about what cybersecurity entails and the loss a company undertakes due to a data breach.
A report by Accenture states that most companies spend around 10% of their IT budgets on cybersecurity. However, IT infrastructure in many small businesses is yet to develop fully; therefore, their spending are minimal.
Ultimately, cybersecurity is about being amply prepared and this can be accomplished by providing a company with the necessary resources to improve its defenses. As a part of this endeavor, companies must assess their security plans and ensure that they are up-to-date and ready for the truly-digital business world.
Demand for Cybersecurity Skills
COVID-19 presents an opportunity for everyone to gear up for the future by developing the required infrastructure the right way. Companies are required to assess their IT infrastructure and create a roadmap accordingly, which might require a certain amount of re-engineering of processes to minimize vulnerabilities.
This requirement has led to the increased demand for cybersecurity skills across industries to make the adoption of hybrid work models much safer and more straightforward.
In-demand skills in cybersecurity
- Application development security: The fastest-growing cybersecurity expertise is Application development security, which is expected to see a high per cent rise in job openings over the next couple of years.
- Cloud Security: Organisations need cloud-savvy security experts as they transition to cloud solutions. As a result, cloud security talents will help lay down the foundation for securing data in the cloud.
- Risk management: Understanding the threat is the most effective way to manage it; due to this, risk management is one of the highest desired skills.
- Threat intelligence: Cyber threat intelligence is crucial information that enables security teams to detect and avoid cyberattacks or threats. Additionally, threat hunting is a relatively new security technique that is rapidly gaining popularity.
- Incident response: Incident response, also known as IT incident, or security incident, is a structured approach to dealing with and handling the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack. The aim is to manage the situation so that the impact is limited and recovery time and costs are minimized. Professionals skilled in this area are seeing a good demand across sectors.
- Data privacy and security: During an investigation of a security breach, digital forensic specialists collect and review possible evidence, such as removed/deleted data, encrypted, or affected data. This talent pool should be well-versed in the forensic techniques used to detect anomalies and data corruption. Demand for this group of professionals is on a rise.
- Mobile Device Management: A cybersecurity expert with mobile device management skills should collaborate with IT to incorporate cybersecurity into mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. He or she must also have a thorough understanding of data loss management techniques.
Organizations should be diligent in updating their data protection, and general security practices, as remote working for some employees and hybrid working for others is set to become a permanent reality. The cybersecurity industry has much growth potential and offers many job opportunities. And, since it lacks the essential cybersecurity experts, now is the best time to learn them and be prepared for the future.
( The author Anurag Gupta is CEO – IT Staffing at FirstMeridian Business Services and the views expressed in this article are his own)