Cyber Security Jobs Make up 14% of all New UK Based IT Roles
- Businesses on the hunt for cyber security experts to help protect against hackers
Cyber security jobs now make up 14% of all new UK based IT roles as businesses increasingly hunt for cyber security experts to help protect against hackers. Businesses are increasing their investment in cyber security after a series of recent high profile hacks exposed both the vulnerability of many businesses’ IT security systems and the extent of the potential threat. Our research found that of 10,210 IT roles in the UK, 1,420 are in cyber security, and the demand for cyber security experts has driven up pay, with 15% of cyber security professionals paid at least £100,000 per annum.
Recent research from the USA suggests that nearly half of US companies have increased their cyber security budgets in the past two years, while half say that they will spend more in the next two years.*
British universities have also responded to the increased demand for cyber security experts, with 42 universities offering specialist degrees related to cyber security at an undergraduate level, and more than 700 cyber security related degrees available at a postgraduate level.
Universities such as Oxford, Warwick, University College London, and Royal Holloway offer Master of Science degrees in areas such as ‘Cyber Security Management’, ‘Software and Systems Security’, and ‘Information Security’.
There is a global shortage of experienced and talented cyber-security experts, especially after a recent spate of high profile attacks that have demonstrated the need for businesses to improve their cyber defences.
As well as work that is going on in-house to strengthen firewalls, we are also seeing the growth of specialist cyber security companies that take a more proactive approach to defence, such as luring hackers into deliberate traps or attempting to trace the source of an attack.
Many of the businesses that have been hacked over the past few years have lost very sensitive information. Even if the information lost does not put them at personal risk of financial loss, customers lose faith in companies that are unable to keep information secure, so data losses can have a significant long-term impact on sales and revenue.
UK businesses are also concerned about potential fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as well as the tightening of the EU data protection regime.
Currently, the UK’s ICO can fine a business a maximum of £500,000 for any data breach.
The new European Data Protection Directive, due to be implemented by the end of this year, is set to turn data breaches into a far more serious financial and legal risk for businesses.
The new Directive will require mandatory notification of data breaches, which is not required under the current system. This not only creates bad publicity but also raises awareness amongst individuals who have had their data stolen via a business’s database.
The new directive could also result in far higher fines from the regulator. Fines of up to €100m or 5% of global revenue are being debated at the European Parliament.
With the new directive imminent, businesses need to be even more secure with the data they are storing. Cyber security experts are being drafted in to address any concerns that could see hackers access sensitive information, which may lead to a drop in revenue and a hefty fine. Not to mention the reputational damage.
Examples of high profile data breaches
Carphone Warehouse, the mobile phone retailer, was hacked in August 2015 with personal details of up to 2.4 million customers potentially accessed in the cyber attack
- Ashley Madison, a website designed to match individuals looking for an affair, was hacked in July 2015. The company could also face a class-action law suit in Canada for loss of data.
- In June 2015 Chinese hackers accessed the personnel records of around 4 million US government employees.
- In February 2015, Anthem, the second-largest health insurer in the US, revealed its customer database had been breached. As many as 80 million current and former customers were thought to be affected.
- Home Depot, the home improvement retailer, had customers’ credit card details stolen by hackers. Home Depot was left with 56 million credit and debit card numbers exposed and at least 44 law suits as a result of their data breach.
- Last year hackers broke into Sony’s network and exposed employment and salary records, documents and embarrassing private e-mails between Hollywood executives.
- Target, the American retailer, had 70 million customers’ personal information stolen, leading to the resignation of their CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, because the issue became so high profile.
- In 2014, JP Morgan, the biggest US bank, said a data breach affected 75 million households and 7 million small businesses.
- In 2014 hackers stole 145 million pieces of personal information from Ebay customers.
*Research by Ponemon Institute
Published 16 August 2014