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NCC Group H1 update shares skills issues

The cyber security specialist has shared an interim first half update that exposes its issues with resources

The issue of cyber security skills is a well known problem and the assumption is the channel can take advantage of the gap and help customers.

But the same problems that are making it hard for customers to find skilled staff - lack of qualified candidates, competition over wages and retention - are also there for the channel.

An insight into what that can mean for those supplying cyber security services can be found in the details accompanying NCC Group's interim results for the six months to 30 November.

The firm didn't fare too badly with revenues up by 8% and operating profit improved from £13.8m to £14.8m but there were signs that more skilled staff would have helped it perform better.

Performance here was "held back" by softer demand in the risk management and governance business plus "resource shortages in our Technical Security Consulting business and planned reduction of third party reselling sales".

Adam Palser, CEO of NCC Group, was aware of the problem and in his comments to investors he signaled that the firm would do more to attract and keep skilled staff.

"We have assembled an excellent management team and are now installing the systems and processes that will enable us to operate as a unified global business, helping us to win more major contracts and focus on recurring, higher margin work," he added "The new team is now focused on accessing the resources to enable the group to fully capitalise on its growth potential, with retention and recruitment a key priority."

Palser added that the firm continued to roll out its Securing Growth Together strategy, which would put the business into a leading position as a security and risk migration specialist.

Security vendors are also reacting to the skills issue by increasing the training and support for partners. Earlier this week Kaspersky Lab refreshed its partner programme with a number of certifitcations in different skills.

“The channel is being transformed to meet customers’ expectations, with new service offerings and business models emerging,” said Ivan Bulaev, head of global corporate channel at Kaspersky Lab.

“For example, system integrators have established security operation centers in their data centers, and offer them as a service. We are also seeing companies specialise in niche areas, delivering very specific expertise in SaaS form, such as threat intelligence platforms," he added.

"We also see more and more small and medium customers moving to an IT outsourcing model and MSP business growth following this pattern. To help the channel work effectively, as a vendor, we need to take these trends into account and create conditions in which each of our partners will find opportunities to develop and provide customers with the best solutions and services," he concluded.

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