We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
RSS FeedPeople Management

UK cyber-security skills gap may last 20 years


The country is not training enough cyber-spooks, says NAO

Article comments

The UK government’s ambitious attempt to upgrade the country's cyber-security capabilities will struggle as long as there is a failure to turn out enough graduates with the right skills, a National Audit Office (NAO) report has hinted.

True to its title, the NAO’s UK cyber security review: Landscape review is more of a summary of recent history around government and cyber-security initiatives than an acid critique, but the pointers buried within its pages are still hard to miss.

Despite government efforts to rectify the skills gap since 2010, experts interviewed by the NAO lined up to tell it that science and technology subjects remained relatively unpopular at school level which resulted in a weak take-up in universities.

Those graduates who did exist would often end up in the private sector thanks to better career prospects and pay, the NAO found, leaving what experts believed will be a 20 year slog to make up the skills gap at all levels of education.

In short, the Internet economy and the threats posed to it were growing faster than the pool of skills needed to impose management and security on it.

During 2012, GCHQ started a modest fight back by funding grants to eight universities to establish Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.

At the same time, the UK spy hub also sank £3.8 million into setting up the first academic programme devoted to cybersecurity research.

The report steered away from assessing the impact of the Government’s headline additional £650 million investment in cyber-security between 2011 and 2015 – it was too early to judge results – but the authors said that this might prove hard to do when the desired outcome was simply that nothing happened.

Fifty-nine percent of the available increase was being consumed by security and intelligence departments, 14 percent by the Ministry of Defence.

The Report doesn’t stress it, but this leaves relatively small sums to dole out to departments such as the Home Office, responsible for policing.

Figures within the report show that enforcing laws and combatting cybercrime will consume a modest £28 million under the National Cyber Security Programme in the two years to 2013.

“This report stresses that government must work hand-in-glove with people and businesses in order to build awareness, knowledge and skills,” said committee chair, Margaret Hodge MP.

“With this government committing £650 million additional funding to cyber security, my committee will want to ask how the action of the fifteen government organisations involved in delivering the strategy is being properly coordinated and what progress has been made,” she warned.

Experts also warned the NAO that government had focused its cyber-security activities on larger organisations at the expense of SMEs, which remained far less aware of its advice.

There was a need for a clear set of standards handed down from government on what constituted robust security, especially in the myriad companies in often complex supply chains.

Interviewees felt that it was up to larger organisations to pass down their expectations and guidance to the smaller companies they worked with.

Share:

Recommended Articles

Comments

UK cyber-security skills gap may last 20 years
People Management

Is the CFO still the sole sacrificial lamb when a company struggles?

Is the CFO still the sole sacrificial lamb when a company struggles?

Tesco's announcement today that boss Philip Clarke is to leave proves that's no longer the casemore ..


Diageo brings Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn on board

Mendelsohn is an expert in digital marketingmore ..

Engineer Babcock International promotes group FD

Its financial controller of 12 years will step up to be the new group FD as Bill Tame becomes CEO of the international divisionmore ..

Tesco ex-FD appointed Morrison’s next chairman

Andrew Higginson served as finance director at Tesco for 15 yearsmore ..

Ten tactics to unleash the potential of Generation Y in finance

Most CFOs are Baby Boomers or Generation X-ers – the difference in mindset is hugemore ..

What's the role of the finance chief in a takeover bid?

With Pfizer's possible takeover of Astrazeneca in the spotlight we take a look at how pivotal the CFO is in such a dealmore ..

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:


PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.



In Depth
Can finance rise to the challenge of major transformation?

Can finance rise to the challenge of major transformation?

Outdated finance processes, systems and competencies leave too many questions unanswered more ..

In Depth
Interim CFO or consultant? The pros and cons

Interim CFO or consultant? The pros and cons

Ed Harding offers an insight into the life of an interim CFO and the advantages in driving transformation more ..

Advertisement

* *