The way we live and work has undergone a drastic change in modern times. The new normal has prompted us to be increasingly dependent on technology, and we are spending most of our time in cyberspace or the interconnected ecosystem. Anything that is related to the internet or the web of digital technology is known as Cyberspace.
However, high reliance on gadgets for remote working, virtual classes, and e-commerce also expose cyberspace to several malicious attacks that leak sensitive personal and business information. During the coronavirus-led lockdown, cyber-attacks on organizations and individuals increased substantially. According to the FBI in May 2020, there was an 800% in reported ransomware attacks and other cybercrimes.
Cyberthreats have evolved from just viruses and hacking in the early 2000s to a more advanced, targeted, and an organized form of attack.
One of our most significant responsibilities is to ensure the safety of the things critical to our existence. Cyberspace is also an integral part of our lives now, and its protection is crucial. So, how can we keep our internet and devices secure from malicious attacks? The answer lies in cybersecurity.
Shielding the internet from damage, data breaches, and economic espionage is known as cybersecurity. A secure data environment is a must to ensure the smooth functioning of an economy.
Data Security Council of India (DSCI) projects that the Indian cybersecurity services industry will expand from $4.3 billion in 2019-20 to $7.6 billion in 2022.
According to Niti Ayog, financial organizations, healthcare sector, public sector organizations, and retail & accommodation are affected by 24%, 15%, 12%, and 15% of the breaches, respectively. Experts also predict that cybercrime would cause damages worth $6 trillion annually by 2021. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to have many cybersecurity professionals in the country. Skilled resources are scarce in this rapidly emerging field.
A PwC study report revealed that a scarcity of Indian cybersecurity workforce is likely to be 9% more than the global average.
Cybersecurity professionals are vital in designing innovative ways to fight cyber threats, including information security threats, malware, viruses, spamming, phishing, etc.
From an employment perspective, cybersecurity is an excellent relief for job seekers in the IT industry. As most of the tasks are getting automated and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are taking over, cybersecurity poses a great opportunity. Even IT companies acknowledge that a security professional will be a highly prized asset for the organization. IBM says, “The amount of revenue a security professional can bring to us is far higher than the amount of revenue a non-security professional can.” With the rising awareness about cybersecurity, IT companies are also expected to ramp up cybersecurity spending in times to come.
Consequently, cybersecurity job postings have been on the rise over the past few years. According to a job portal, Indeed.com, there has been a 98% rise in cybersecurity jobs in the past three years. Another recruitment firm, Xpheno, indicated that threat management, network security, and cloud security are some of the other ancillary streams in high demand.
Let us look at some of the reasons why there is a high demand for experts in the security space:
- An exponential increase in the number of people using digital devices
From just a handful of people owning smartphones and tablets, the count has surpassed billions. Most of these devices have a lot of personal and confidential information stored on them. Due to the emergence of the Internet of Things, even the television, security cameras, and air conditioners are connected to the internet. As people keep the data enabled most of the time, it is easier for the attackers to access the data. They also get access to a larger number of users to execute their plans.
- A rising number of financial transactions online
The pandemic has spurred the number of real-time financial transactions worldwide. India, with 41 million transactions per day, is the global leader. Globally, the total number of financial transactions could be higher. According to RBI, Digital transactions could reach Rs 15 trillion a day by 2025. Thus, it is evident that cyberspace is quite exposed to malicious attacks with the rising number of financial transactions.
So much financial data on the system is becoming the new target of the offenders. It has become convenient to commit an economic crime through online transactions than committing credit card fraud and skimming. Hence, more qualified and skilled cybersecurity experts must tackle the quantum of financial scams or phishing attacks multiplying daily.
- Data protection is a part of government regulations
Most companies and industries are ramping up the security measures for their servers and technical assets due to a rise in the number of threats. There is already a certain degree of regulation in the corporate sector as a part of internal control. However, now even the government of various countries are progressing and creating a standardized framework for cybersecurity. Hence, many experienced professionals are required to understand things from a governance and compliance perspective and implement them.
- Cybersecurity is integral to national security
Nowadays, battles aren’t just fought on the battlefield. Countries are increasingly indulging in cyberwars, social engineering, and other advanced forms of threat. Much confidential information is stored digitally, and warring nations use that to attack each other. They know that damaging the data infrastructure and stealing critical information can cause more harm to a country than a war. Hence, governments worldwide are becoming increasingly cautious and on boarding more cybersecurity professionals in the defense department.
- Prevalence of outdated security measures
With many legacy software and older versions of security systems, hackers find it easy to find loopholes and invade the space. Such softwares are redundant and vulnerable. It is also challenging to upgrade many of these as they are more than 20 years old. As a result, there are many security flaws, and cyber attackers find it easy to steal and misuse critical data.
- Lot of inexperienced people using the cyberspace
Millennials and professionals have a lot of awareness about the safe usage of the internet. Many employers also impart formal training to the employees to safeguard the data and system from potential malicious attacks and hackers. However, billions of other users are adept at using the internet but do not know how to adhere to the safety norms.
A lot of senior citizens using cyberspace may not be updated about the latest ways to safeguard their systems. Similarly, a lot of kids might not possess the necessary understanding to adopt secure usage. These situations increase the chances and make it easier for the attackers to conduct their operations. With more cybersecurity workers, it will be easier to avert such attempts at the initial stages.
Cybersecurity experts are likely to see a surge in demand over the next few years. The above factors explain to us why our country desperately needs these professionals at this juncture. However, there is a lot of skill gap, and it is high time more institutions offer advanced courses in cybersecurity. Employers also need to join forces with quality curriculum providers and nurture highly specialized cybersecurity professionals in India.