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This is a four-part series of articles covering emerging trends in cyber security, the skills gap, and recent developments to address the growing cyber threat.

Part Three

The cyber security problem is twofold, increasingly sophisticated cyber threats and a growing skills gap to prevent these.

What work is being done to tackle the growing skills gap?
At the post-secondary level, many universities now offer cyber security degrees, and many have institutes working on cyber research as well as the education of organisations and students at all different levels. Many large commercial organisations have built cyber centre of expertise (COEs) to integrate and deploy leading edge cyber security solutions. Cyber security suppliers now abound offering a range of systems, software and training. Banks have been investing in cyber security for many years and now work more with other organisations and bodies to share and enhance security for their customers.
At the national level, many governments recognise the cyber threat to national security (such as the outcome of elections) and have made or are starting to make significant investments here. For example, UK government expanded its commitment in 2016 with the launch of a new five-year National Cyber Security Strategy underpinned by an £1.9 billion investment to support cyber initiatives in business, government and the military as well as fund its new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Ireland set up its own NCSC the year before which includes a Computer Security Incident Response Team.
What is being done to stop increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks?

Globally, many collaborative networks have sprung across government and education bodies to share information, set standards, evaluation risks, and pool resources. One headline from the recent World Economic Forum meeting was a plan for a Global Centre for Cybersecurity “to help build a safe and secure global cyberspace,” driven by its recognition that cyber security as one of the world’s most critical risks. The EU has focused heavily on cyber security since 2013, creating the NIS security directive and setting up the European Cybercrime Centre. Across the globe, many governments have been taking cybersecurity more seriously with new laws and bodies coming into place to combat attacks. Hackers will soon start see a more robust, co-ordinate defence.
Commercially, cyber security providers are continuing to build more sophisticated ways to protect IT systems; enhanced access management systems, behavioural/activity analytics, virtualised security systems, blockchain processes, automated (AI based) monitoring software, etc. Many IT departments are hard at work on deploying these new solutions.
This increased investment in cyber security over the past few years offers hope that our defences will soon be strengthened. However, the cyber-attack headlines of 2017 suggest there is still a long way to go with many large organisations (with significant cyber security resources) continuing to be successfully attacked. In the next article we will look at cyber security in Ireland.