The cyber threat is increasing – at the same time, skills shortages are acute
This article was first published in Dagens Industri
The cyber threat to the Swedish business community is increasing. At the same time, the shortage of IT security experts is considered greater than ever.
Sweden is ranked as the EU's third most digitized country after Denmark and Finland. When it comes to cybersecurity, on the other hand, we have slipped down to fourteenth place, according to the Global Cybersecurity Index.
The growing gap between digitalization and security is considered to have made Sweden more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
“There's a big gap between the security industry and the threat we're seeing. Sweden must increase its resilience”, stated Charlotte von Essen, head of the Swedish Security Police, recently at a cybersecurity seminar at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.
The only question is who will do the work.There are thousands of IT engineers with cybersecurity skills missing.
“This issue is really important. You need to do much more when it comes to the supply of skills”, Charlotte von Essen told Di.
Her own government agency and other government activities rely heavily on the traditional education system. For example, the Swedish Defence Forces have initiated collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm to secure the need for so-called cyber soldiers, which Di was able to tell us this spring.
But despite the fact that there are advanced computer engineering educations also in Borås, Gothenburg, Linköping and Luleå, among others, the training places are not enough by a long shot. Those are the sources Di talked to.
“We need to accelerate the supply of skills and think in new ways. Instead of waiting for the next batch of computer engineers, it will become increasingly important to find people with the right attitude and aptitude, then you have to train them to meet the needs”, says Anders Herrström, IT security consultant at PA Consulting with a background in, among others, the Swedish Armed Forces Radio Institute, FRA.
“For example, one of our clients recruited a nurse who had been working with computers for a long time in her spare time”, he continues.
One company that has worked in this way for a long time is the IT consultant Omegapoint with 600 employees all over the country. Johan Malmliden, CEO and founder, realized already ten years ago that he and his colleagues themselves must take responsibility for the staff's competence. As a veteran of the industry, he is concerned that Sweden has fallen behind more and more countries.
“It is a societal problem that we have too few experienced experts in relation to the threat, a threat that will only continue to increase. Our call to the market is therefore that more companies, and preferably also public organizations, must start internal training”, says Johan Malmliden.