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NZ facing security skills shortages


New Zealand is facing a security skills shortage, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Muller will be hosting a roundtable discussion on the hidden threat of the growing shortage of available people with cyber-security skills at the New Zealand security summit in Wellington tomorrow (October 17).

While most of the summit will focus on the latest tools and techniques for protecting an organisation from the rampant rise in cyber-security threats, the lack of cyber-security skills is a real issue, Muller says.
“A recent report from Cisco announced there was a global cyber security skills shortage of more than one million people, as governments and corporations struggle to keep up with the growth in cyber threats.

“Right now in the United States there are over 200,000 open cyber security jobs without candidates and cyber jobs have grown 74 percent in the last five years. Nearly 75 percent of US security professionals say they do not have enough staff to defend their organisations against current threats.”

“In New Zealand the government and the tech sector have recognised this growing global problem and have created a collaborative private-public sector taskforce to proactively initiate solutions within New Zealand such as the introduction of specialist tertiary degrees and the inclusion of cyber security in the new school curricula.

“Ironically this could present a wonderful opportunity for New Zealand. If we can maintain our international reputation as a safe and secure country and produce world class cyber professionals, security could become a significant export earner over the next decade.

“Skills shortages in any industry mean that salaries will always be high and cybersecurity is no exception. The demand for talent is so acute that US cities are offering huge salaries to attract the right people and skills.”

Among the speakers at tomorrow’s summit are KPMG cyber security senior manager Caroline Carver, Foodstuffs South Island chief information officer Phil Wright, Vodafone head of security Colin James, Ministry of Justice senior security specialist Lana Tosic, Air New Zealand chief information security officer Frederick Laury and Xero heading of security Paul MacPherson.

The effective and safe use of information technology has the potential to deliver incredible benefits to the New Zealand economy by enabling greater efficiency and productivity. The technology industry is fast becoming a significant source of export revenues for the country accounting for at least $6.3 billion in exports last year.

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