Wales could be the solution to the UK’s IT security skills shortage

Wales is best placed to address the IT security skills shortage in the UK according to the MD of a Swansea-based IT firm.

There is a concern in the UK, and indeed in many nations across the globe, that there is a shortage of skilled IT security professionals in the sector.

With the significant rise in cybercrime of late, which is only set to continue, an IT expert from Swansea claims that Wales is best placed to fix this skills gap, which could propel the country to the forefront of the IT security industry.

Last year, The University of South Wales and Welsh Government joined forces to launch the National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA).

Based at the university's Newport campus, the organisation aims to establish the next generation of cyber security professionals.

The need for such talent is clear. The ISACA's state of cyber security 2017 report shows resources and available skills are not keeping up with the rising amount and complexity of security threats.

Over half of enterprises reported experiencing more attacks this year compared to last, yet less than half are confident in their team's ability to deal with anything beyond simply cyber incidents.

The biggest skills gap identified by the report in today's security professionals was the ability to understand business, followed by technical skills and communication skills.

Simon Ahearne, managing director of SA1 Solutions, an IT and communication firm based in Swansea, suggests that this lack of confidence in IT security professionals' ability to manage more complex cyber threats is of major concern.

He claims that while the educational infrastructure for cyber security in Wales is gaining momentum, hands-on experience working in the IT security sector is paramount if the sector is to be carried forward successfully with skilled workers.

Simon said: "Although this isn't only a concern for the UK, the country's reputation of being a digital economy is in jeopardy due to this skills shortage.

"However seeing the establishment of the NCSA is very promising and a great initiative to position Wales as addressing the lack of available talent in IT security.

“But IT companies should also be putting it on themselves to ensure adequate training is provided to those starting out in their careers.

“They need to experience the pressure and urgency of dealing with a cyberattack in a real life scenario.

"It's no secret that cyberattacks are getting more and more complex. Training to keep IT professionals up-to-date with the latest threats and how to deal with them is therefore also very important."

SA1 Solutions specialises in assisting businesses' manage their data and networks from security threats, and provides an efficient disaster recovery service to respond promptly to security breaches. The company is a leading managed service provider based in South Wales, offering services to over 200 customers across the UK.

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