The technology sector has long been battling the skills gap, both in South Africa and abroad. Skills are rare, in high demand, and difficult to retain. According to a report by ESG entitled ‘The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals 2020 around 70% of respondents said that their organisations were negatively impacted by the global cybersecurity skills shortage; and the (ISC)2 cybersecurity workforce study found that 64% of security professionals were struggling with finding skills for their own organisations. In short, there’s a skills gap and everybody knows about it. So, the real question is – what is the industry going to do?
What the industry should be doing is focusing on skilling or upskilling people from multiple disciplines and walks of life, providing them with the opportunities they need to become valued cybersecurity professionals in an industry hungry for their passion and expertise.
Overcoming cyber security skills shortages
Nclose has been paying close attention to the cyber security skills shortages and, as a result, has developed several initiatives that are designed to address these shortages and bridge the gaps. The first is collaboration with the community, bringing in young and unskilled individuals who are not trained in security but are interested in the subject and in potentially building a career in this space. These trainees are provided with a variety of different skills development opportunities that help them to expand their knowledge as security professionals, as well as giving them essential skills to thrive in the workplace.
Trainees are provided with skills in cybersecurity, workplace behaviour and ethics, how to engage with customers, and interpersonal engagements. They learn how to work with customers in complex situations, and how to improve their understanding of the technology and how to help customers get even more value from their investments.
This skills development programme offers a holistic platform for interns and learners to really expand their understanding of the industry and build solid foundations for long-term, successful careers.
Collaborating to overcome cyber security skills shortages
In addition to an internship programme, Nclose has been working with the public sector and other relevant organisations to uplift skills development in the country as a whole. The organisation has become involved with the GovX Innovation Challenge – an event that’s focused on innovation and security across Africa through collaboration and engagement and by providing people with opportunities to become involved. The entire initiative is designed to transform Africa’s stance on cybersecurity while breaking barriers and building bridges over skills gap chasms.
Nclose is playing a pivotal role in supporting the GovX Innovation Challenge and in finding new and inventive ways of encouraging people to become involved in the profession. The company has also invested into a learnership programme that runs for six months and offers applicants a paid opportunity to learn and engage with technology. After the six months are complete, Nclose then offers those with a clear passion for the role a more formal position. This can then translate into ongoing skills development support and opportunity for those that remain with the organisation. Ultimately, Nclose believes that the only way the industry can close the gap and build out an agile and responsive cybersecurity workforce is through investment, focus and collaboration.