Cybersecurity Skills Gap in India

The shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals is a global challenge, and India is no stranger to the situation.

An alarming 87 percent of respondents to ISACA’s “2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report-India Data” admitted India is facing a severe cybersecurity skills gap, whereas only 41 percent felt prepared to fend off sophisticated cyberattacks.

This is potentially a severe problem for all US, European and other corporates that have outsourced aspects of their systems and activities to India.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) estimated that India will need 1 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020 to meet the demands of its rapidly growing economy. Demand for security professionals will increase in all sectors due to the unprecedented rise in the number of cyberattacks. Despite having the largest information technology talent pool in the world, India is highly unlikely to produce an adequate number of professionals to close the cybersecurity skills gap.

Skills Shortage Exposes Indian Businesses

The cybersecurity skills gap is ever widening due to the fluid nature of threats, innovative new cybercrime techniques, a lack of formal training and, most importantly, a lack of awareness about careers in cybersecurity. This scarcity exposes Indian businesses to cyberattacks and reduces their ability to quickly respond to complex threats. In the long run, the skills gap may discourage Indian companies from implementing new technologies or making new investments.

The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is also pushing up the cost of hiring experienced cybersecurity staff and forcing Indian businesses to increase their cybersecurity budgets. The “Global State of Information Security Survey 2016” from PwC reported a 117 percent increase in cyberattacks in India and a 71 percent increase in budget.

High Stakes for India

Because several global IT corporations operate in India, the cybersecurity skills shortage gap also impacts the global economy at large. The IT sector is one of the major employment generators in India, employing over 2.5 million people. A major breach could significantly jeopardise future growth within this critical IT sector.

NASSCOM launched cybersecurity training initiatives in collaboration with key IT companies. Along with the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), it launched a new Cyber Security Task Force (CSTF) to improve the supply of trained cybersecurity professionals.

However, it will take some time before the CSTF starts making an impact on the ground. And it’s but a drop in the ocean given the escalating onslaught of cyberattacks that the Indian government and local businesses are facing.

While promoting cybersecurity education can help address the skills gap to some degree, it will not be enough to address rapidly multiplying cyber threats.

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