Talent shortage could ‘limit’ Europe’s efforts – EURACTIV.com

Experts are calling for making the shortage of technical talent, particularly in cybersecurity, a priority because the threats facing companies are at an all-time high and the EU is trying to prepare for them.

The threat of a technical skills shortage is being felt in the European Union. In France alone, more than 15,000 cybersecurity expert positions are open, but they have not been filled, according to a recent study by consultancy Wavestone.

this is “Human Resources” he is What will define us in the coming years?Guillaume Poupard, Director of France’s Cyber ​​Security Agency (ANSSI), said at the International Forum on Cyber ​​Security (FIC) this week in Lille.

Many cybersecurity experts share this concern.

“It was as if there were fires, but there were no more firefighters.”Michel van den Berghe, President of the Cyber ​​Campus in Paris, told EURACTIV, as he contemplates “Very worried” Depending on the situation.

Cyber ​​Campus opened its doors in February, as part of France’s national strategy to accelerate the industry. It aims to become an innovation hotspot to improve the country’s resilience and establish a link between management, private companies and schools.

In order to remedy this shortfall, the European Executive proposed a plan in September 2021: “The way forward for the digital decade”. This initiative aims, among other numerical goals, to ensure that the 27 member states of the European Union can rely on 20 million ICT workers by 2030. The Main Committee of Parliament adopted its position on the strategy on 17 May.

“We can expand the single digital market to enable companies to enter the market. But if we don’t have the right people, none of this will happen.”European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager told EURACTIV during her visit to Lille.

” everything changed “

“Until recently, everyone thought cyber attacks were dangerous, but they didn’t care”Head of the Cyber ​​Campus, adding that“In the beginning, the internet was just about spying and information gathering, but with ransomware, everything changed.”.

Indeed, if the accelerating digitization of our societies in the era of Covid-19 leads to an increase in cyberattacks, it is above all ransomware who benefited from it. a ransomware It is a type of malware designed to block access to a system until a sum of money is paid, a ransom.

In 2021, the National Commission on Computing and Liberties (CNIL) received 5,037 personal data breach notifications, roughly 14 notifications per day, which is a 79% increase compared to 2020. The 58% d between them resulted from an attack by ransomwarewhich saw a 128% increase over the previous year.

And no one is safe. Attacks were concentrated on small and medium businesses (43%) and very small businesses (26%), as it is “Less armed than the big corporations in the face of this threat”explains CNIL.

It is not surprising that companies in the energy sector have become a prime target for hackers, although they are especially vulnerable due to the geopolitical situation.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been an increase in the number of victims of attacks before ransomware Among them, 138% compared to the whole of 2021, according to a study by French startup ANOZR WAY, which specializes in data analytics against cyber risks.

The startup also estimates that the cumulative loss of revenue for French companies between January and April alone is €660 million.

“This is a number that sends shivers down my spine: two-thirds of businesses and SMEs that have been attacked have not paid the ransom for bankruptcy.”Van der Burghe, who called for increased awareness among private sector actors to be trained on good digital hygiene and the treatments available to them in case of a threat, emphasized Mr.

Challenges to overcome

According to experts, the priority, in order to catch up and anticipate the threats that are likely to multiply in the future, is to get rid of the cybersecurity professions to make them more attractive.

“I think it’s really important to convey that digital skills are so much more than the kind of old perception of a man in a black shirt in a basement with a lot of Coca-Cola.”Mrs. Vestager said.

“It’s a job that makes sense, and it pays well, but guys still think of pimples guys with hoods on their heads.”Mr. Van den Berghe, who welcomed the partnership established by Cyber ​​Campus with the French Ministry of Education to boost the sector as soon as possible, added.

It is also a matter of promoting the greater diversity of professions.

Ms. Vestager added: “We need a lot of talent other than knowing how to code. They need salespeople, marketing people, people working to change that organizational culture, and sometimes their business models as well”.

Finally, as cybersecurity is constantly evolving, ongoing training is of particular importance.

Also, private companies deal with this issue. Last week, Microsoft announced the launch of a “cybersecurity skills plan” to deal with the shortage of professionals in France.

The company has created an educational toolkit aimed at raising awareness among high school students, has built additional partnerships with engineering colleges, developed training courses for people who are already active, and plans to open a school to train job seekers.

“Through this national training plan, we aspire to train 10,000 new cybersecurity professionals by 2025.”Said the president of Microsoft France, Corinne de Bilbao.

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