Adrian Adair, operations director, Morson International
Adrian Adair, operations director, Morson International

As we embrace digital transformation and live in a world that's becoming increasingly connected, we're enjoying a level of freedom that couldn't have been foreseen. Over the past 10 years, the digital landscape has evolved from fax machines to Artificial Intelligence (AI) – and worryingly, as a world we're still catching up. The astonishing speed at which technological concepts have been designed, manufactured and then purchased has had its effect on the IT outlook, and left us irrefutably vulnerable.

The 2013 Yahoo security breach –  labelled the world's worst attack on consumer data - highlighted just how exposed we are to the hacker. A record one billion accounts had been compromised, while the attack caused shocking repercussions on Yahoo's sale price. It's evident that stopping cyber-crime is vital for our own protection, but we're trying to tackle the issue without appropriate armour. We're losing the war against cyber-crime.

82% of employers report a shortage of cyber-security professionals

As the digital landscape advances, forecasting for the growing need of cyber-security personnel has been inadequate. Consequently, we don't have enough trained and experienced professionals to protect our assets. According to a recent McAfee global study, a staggering 82 percent of employers have reported a shortage of vital cyber-security skills, and 71 percent say this shortage does direct and measurable damage. While the industry has evolved, we've been left with a gaping hole in our defences that has worrying consequences for all organisations. But what can be done?

Inspiring a new generation is vital to stop the hacker

To stop cyber-crime, we need to galvanise a new generation of cyber-security professionals. While the current cyber-security workforce is aging, the skills shortage is only expected to worsen if it isn't made a priority.

We've recently been investigating how to encourage more young adults to enter the sector, and have concluded that the answer lies in highlighting the opportunities available to them. As a multi-faceted specialism, a career in cyber-security can take workers anywhere, together with a selection of benefits and generous wages. With the advancement of technology, cyber-security will offer continuous learning in an exciting, fast-paced industry; one that allows personnel to build on their skills, use their initiative and provide much-needed protection. There's a prosperous, thrilling outlook for those interested in entering cyber-security, and it's about time we broadcast it.

However, alongside showcasing the prospects in cyber-security, encouragement also lies in simply creating more opportunities. Finally, governments are taking action; rolling out comprehensive cyber-security strategies that include learning, investment and apprenticeships. Recently, the UK government introduced the Cyber-Security Technologist standard, which has paved the way in offering apprenticeships funded by the National Cyber-Security Programme.

An approach adopted around the world, apprenticeships mean we can build our defences now, with on-the-job learning. The skills we so desperately need can be filled, we just need to make it a priority. By galvanising a new wave of cyber-security professionals, we can utilise the knowledge of a generation that has grown up with technology, and finally start tackling the problem of cyber-crime. With more cyber-security recruits, we can finally win the war.

Contributed by Adrian Adair, operations director, Morson International

*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media or Haymarket Media.