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Imagining Best Practice 13 December Dec 2017 1100 13 December 2017

Cyber security professionals wanted

Investments in this sector will reach $120bn in the coming years. From 2018, the new European regulations will introduce the figure of Data Protection Officer, thus opening up a whole new labour market just waiting to be explored.

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A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2% over five years, and a boom in investments, especially in the field of finance and in Public Administration: this, according to the Worldwide Semiannual Security Spending Guide, is the current scenario in cyber security investments, which are expected to reach $120bn in 2021 (compared to $83.5bn at the end of 2017).

This growth rate was made possible by the emergence of new cyber security companies as a result of as many as 47% of SMES suffering at least one cyber-attack in 2016 (source: Banca d’Italia). Not to mention utility companies, large manufacturers, banks and PA authorities, which suffer thousands of cyber-attacks every day.

Giorgio Mosca

This situation leads us to think that, perhaps, digital innovation will not hit the labour market so badly after all, despite the common fear that many professions are on their way out, soon to be replaced by software and artificial intelligence.

This fear is not shared by Giorgio Mosca, President of the Cyber Security Steering Committee of Confindustria Digitale and Head of Strategies and Technologies at the Security & Information Systems Division of Leonardo Finmeccanica. “Digital transformation will certainly bring with it significant changes in the way work is organised. A new approach to work will be required, namely the ability to operate in broader areas and to liaise with an increasing number of stakeholders. However, such radical changes are not new to the history of the labour market.”

Every social and technology transformation revolutionises the job market. We will witness the emergence of new professions and work figures.

According to Mosca, “every social and technology transformation revolutionises the job market. It happened in previous industrial revolutions. If we draw on those experiences, we will notice that they created more job than they destroyed”. Hence, “we will witness the emergence of new professions and work figures”.

One of these new work figures, for example, is the cyber security expert.

«The Cyber Security Challenge reflects this rise in job opportunities to perfection,” says Roberto Baldoni, Director of the Research Centre of Cyber Intelligence and Information Security (CIS) of La Sapienza University in Rome and Director of Italy’s National Cyber Security Lab (CINI). “This training programme is open to a limited number of talents, aged between 16 to 21, with strong computing skills. The students are trained on highly technological system protection methods and, after the course, they engage in a team-based challenge, a sort of role-playing game that sees them making attacks and defending a system so as to keep it secure».

With the Cyber Security Challenge and the introduction of the figure of Data Protection Officer, we are witnessing the birth of a new job market just waiting to be explored.

Roberto Baldoni, Direttore CIS e CINI

Last year, the first, pilot Cyber Security Challenge was conducted exclusively at La Sapienza University and was therefore limited to the city of Rome. “We received 800 applications, and had to close the selection process after just one month. We then selected 20 finalists, 8 of whom were chosen to represent Italy at the Malta games of Enisa (the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security)”, explains Mr Baldoni. This year, the selection process includes the whole of Italy, and involves 20 universities. “In this way, we are producing talent and creating a new professional figure,” reiterates Mr Baldoni, “one that is also provided for and introduced by the new European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which will come into force on 25 May 2018: namely, the Data Protection Officer”. But this evolution is still in the making: “At present, there are still no official cyber security qualifications, but these are likely to arise quickly over the next few years. Companies cannot afford not to take a stance on an issue that is fast becoming crucial to their competitiveness: that of preserving their online security,” says Mr Baldoni.

This is why, according to the director of CIS and CINI, we should not be daunted by or distrustful of digital innovation: “Jobs won't disappear, they will simply be redefined. This means that they will gain a highly technological and cultural dimension. Even agriculture will become technological. Work in the fields won’t diminish, it will simply be performed by drones, sensors and dedicated software.”

In short, in 10 years’ time we will see “many new jobs, and traditional jobs will become more technological. Overall, there will be more work, not less,” concludes Mr Baldoni.

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