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