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Published on January 25th, 2023 📆 | 6500 Views ⚑

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The Necessity for Updated Cybersecurity education in a New Digital World


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Check Pointยฎ Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider specialised in cybersecurity worldwide, wants to make use of this International Education Day taking place on 24th January. This is an opportunity to re-emphasise the need to include cybersecurity among the subjects to be studied in schools and high schools, being nowadays a growing priority inside our increasingly digital society. In this field, the reality is that it is increasingly necessary to be vigilant, as cyber-attacks increased by 28% in Q3 2022 globally compared to 2021 across all industry sectors. I Africa, Check Point Research reported that Africa experienced the highest volume of attacks out of any geography with 1,875 weekly attacks per organisation

The increasing pace of digital transformation has led companies, as well as some public bodies such as those in healthcare or even education itself, to move their operations to the Internet and to adopt remote working to a greater extent. In fact, the cost of a cyberattack in the healthcare industry has increased by 42% in the last 24 months (Source: IBM and CPR). Hence, specialisation in cybersecurity has established itself as the area with the greatest job prospects within the digital branch. This topic itself has also sparked debates about what the jobs of the future will be like.

According to the report published by the World Economic Forum in 2020, 50% of all employees in all sectors will need to retrain by 2025, and 40% of current workers' core competencies are expected to change in the same period. In fact, by 2022, 40.1% of organisations acknowledged that they are recycling talent from other departments into cybersecurity. Yet only 2 out of 10 internal positions are trained or have the knowledge to perform the required functions.

The new generations still have time to be more updated with the technological advances and new concerns that we will face in the coming years and can prepare themselves better for their professional careers. It is advisable to start at an early age, at an entry level for primary school, and continue through the entire educational journey to university and beyond, as keeping up to date with cybersecurity can extend over a lifetime.

It doesn't matter if a future worker is seeking to enter this security sector or just preparing oneself for any other minimally digital job, but the old adage of "if you know about cybersecurity, you have a job for life" could be something to live by. This was a statement made by Robert Herjavec in an interview for Cybercrime Magazine in 2018, that becomes even more relevant for this 2023 when cybersecurity pervades almost every aspect of work and our digital lives.

In South Africa, the cybersecurity market is projected to grow at more than 11% annually through 2027. Given the high growth of cyberattacks not only in South Africa, but also the rest of the continent, then skilled professionals will be in great demand. Businesses across all industry sectors will look to strengthen their cybersecurity stance and will rely on qualified people to enable them to do so most effectively. Given the cybersecurity skills shortage in the country, those individuals looking to qualify in this area will find themselves in a strong position when it comes to job prospects and career opportunities.

Check Point SecureAcademy: teaching to learn

While the current offer of studies in Africa is growing , with a number of universities, Technikons, coding academies, and other institutions providing diploma, certification, and degree courses specialising in cybersecurity,ย  unfortunately there are still a large number of students who, due to the lack of general knowledge about cybersecurity, lack interest when it comes to training in cybersecurity.

Check Point Software currently has 144 partners worldwide in its MIND program for cybersecurity education, having achieved a 144% increase in the number of active institutions in the program, in turn impacting a 168% growth in student enrolment rate during 2022 over the previous year. Check Point Software Technologies partnering with the Pan African Information Communication Technology Association (PAICTA) is one example.

The collaboration enables PAICTA to distribute Check Point cybersecurity training material to tertiary institutions across Africa as both organisations work towards bridging the skills gap that exists for these professionals.

However, this training and recruitment need not be limited exclusively to younger employees. Some international companies have begun to implement initiatives for their employees, launching over the past year, incentive plans to encourage attention and detection of phishing attacks by adding them to their general bonus policies, or launching free training and certification programs in cybersecurity.

"Cybersecurity is, and will continue to be, one of the most critical and desired careers in the world. However, we must continue to encourage and help its expansion" Charnie-Lee Adams Kruger, SADC country manager at Check Point Software Technologies.. "That's why, with our SecureAcademy program, we seek to support students at institutes of higher education and non-profit organizations around the world by providing them with vital cybersecurity knowledge and learning resources. Such studies, certification and training will help nurture these young minds to be equipped with the skills for cybersecurity jobs of the future, enabling them a career in their life-long career".

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