NAO warns of cyber security skills shortage – systems management teams can plug the gap, says 1E

Britain’s IT skills shortage is leaving the country dangerously exposed to the threat of cyber attack warned the National Audit Office.  Blaming a lack of properly trained practitioners and graduates, as well as a low uptake of technology subjects in school, the NAO estimates it will take at least 20 years to develop the expertise needed to mitigate against the growing number of sophisticated attacks.

Geoff Collins, vice president of product management at UK IT firm 1E has made the following comments:

“The National Audit Office paints a bleak picture about the UK’s readiness to fight cyber attacks, and it’s true that hackers have had the upper hand over recent years.  Indeed, the report states that there were a staggering 44 million cyber attacks in 2011 alone, costing the country more than £27bn.

“While it’s important to have specifically trained staff to counter the growing hacking threat, the UK certainly can’t wait 20 years for the next generation of cyber-security experts to be inspired, educated and trained.  Instead UK organisations need to think of immediate ways they can bolster their defences – and this isn’t just about deploying more firewalls and anti-virus software.

“All too often businesses think they can reduce their exposure to threats by adding more and more IT security solutions; in reality these disparate deployments leave gaping holes in the network, which hackers know all too well how to exploit.  A complementary, yet often overlooked approach, is to ensure computer systems are tightly managed and properly updated, with regular OS patching, application whitelisting, upgrading of legacy (potentially highly vulnerable) applications as well as the monitoring use of admin privileges. These four systems management activities are proven to mitigate 85 percent of all cyber-attacks.  By getting their systems in order, and harnessing the existing skills and toolsets of their systems management teams, businesses can beef up their security overnight. Strong systems management is strong security.”


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