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Demand for this 6-figure job is set to go through the roof

Cybersecurity experts will be more in demand than ever. (Source: Getty)

Australia is already seeing a shortage in the cybersecurity industry – and this shortage will become worse with demand for this role predicted to rise.

That’s according to global IT company Unisys’ cyber security industry business developer Gergana Kiryakova.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Kiryakova said not enough people in small- and medium- sized businesses were taking responsibility for the role of cybersecurity officer.

“Usually what happens in those scenarios is they give the responsibility to someone who manages IT; infrastructure manager or IT manager is commonly known,” she said.

However, it is insufficient for the function of a cybersecurity officer to simply be absorbed into the role of the IT manager.

“That doesn't really help much, because the agenda of someone who's managing IT does not necessarily meet the agenda of someone who's trying to protect the IT systems and the business from risks.”

According to PayScale, the average salary for those with cybersecurity skills is $100,000.

Cyber security analysts are paid $78,00 on average, while security consultants are paid $90,000. An information security manager commands an average salary of $133,000.

Not just a tech issue

However, cybersecurity is a business issue that cannot be pigeon-holed to IT departments as it has risky implications for the business, Kiryakova suggested.

“Because there is that disconnect, whoever is managing IT and managing the IT finances does not necessary have an interest to invest those resources in cybersecurity. Obviously [IT professionals] have to deliver services, they have to be competitive,” she said.

The tech sector will need an additional 100,000 workers by 2024, according to a recent report by the Australian Computer Society.

The cybersecurity industry is aware of the shortage: the sector has been trying to ramp up skills and knowledge in this area in recent years.

“In the last three to four years we’ve seen more and more degrees in cybersecurity, more and more Masters coming out in different universities across Australia and the world,” said Kiryakova.

“This is the trend. We're looking forward to that. The question is: how fast can we do that? How fast can we build that capability? Because technology is not waiting for us to build that capability.”

Technology is constantly evolving and we are consuming more and more data every day and a collaborative effort between industry, government and everyone else in the ‘ecosystem’ was needed to meet this shortage.

Cybersecurity a matter of reputation

Customers of major banks and telcos are constantly being told to stay alert as scammers attempt to skim customers’ personal identity and financial information.

In August, CBA and Westpac confirmed that their customers were some among those affected by a data breach that exposed users’ PayID usernames, account numbers, mobile numbers, BSBs and account numbers.

In June, 100,000 Aussies’ private details were exposed after hackers attacked Westpac’s banking system.

Social media giants are also no stranger to security breaches: Facebook was left reeling for more than a year from the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018 that revealed millions of Facebook users’ personal data had been used for political advertising purposes without their consent.

Additionally, a recent security vulnerability in Instagram could have put users’ personal information at risk, although this flaw has since been patched.

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