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Critical security skills gap threatens UK infrastructure

The information security industry has a critical shortage of employees, which could threaten the UK's infrastructure, an industry expert has warned.

Kevin Streater, executive director of IT and telecoms at the Open University (OU) believes there are a large number of high-paid security vacancies in the IT jobs market but no suitable candidates to fill them.

Kevin Streater, who is also chair of the Cyber Security Challenge Talent Management committee, said: "The importance of IT to the UK's infrastructure has been underestimated."

"We need security professionals to protect the UK's global internet connection. For example, if a UK bank's infrastructure goes down, there will be huge damage to the UK economy," he said.

"Only a small number of people are addressing the skills needed," he added, saying the IT industry needs to work out how to develop graduates' skills to address the security skills gap.

A recent report by the OU shows that, despite increased demand for IT staff in the past year, IT graduate candidates with technical know-how lack the necessary business skills.

Streater believes businesses must engage with higher education institutions to address the skills gap.

According to a study by analyst Frost & Sullivan, there is a gap in security skills needed to protect organisations. The 2011 (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) showed the profession as a whole appears to be resistant to adapting to new trends in technology, such as social media and cloud computing.


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