UK organisations must do more to develop cyber security skills or leave themselves exposed to hackers, urges Rackspace

  • Just one in four (26%) IT professionals feel they are adequately experienced in cloud security
  • UK organisations lag behind global counterparts when it comes to spend on new hire training, such as on cloud security
  • Skill gap widens with job vacancies increases in areas like data security and cloud security

London – March 28, 2018 –  UK IT leaders are concerned they do not have adequate levels of expertise in cloud-based security and data protection, with further analysis of Rackspace’s ‘The Cost of Cloud Expertise’ report revealing that half (51%) believe they will need to grow these skills over the next five years.

According to the report, the UK is now further behind than other western nations when it comes to upskilling
IT professionals in skills such as security. British IT leaders say they will ringfence just 10%, on average, of their annual budget for training new hires, less than their counterparts in Benelux (15%), Germany (14%) and the US (14%).

The concerns from these senior decision makers are reflected by only a quarter (26%) of IT professionals in the UK saying thay are adequately experienced in cloud security. The findings raise concerns that the country could be heading towards a skills shortage, leaving it exposed to attacks by cyber-criminals and subsequently facing large fines under GDPR.

The shortage of adequately trained cyber-security professionals is worrying given UK companies are more reliant on the cloud than ever before. It is estimated that 88% of businesses now use the cloud in some form. Despite this, Rackspace’s research suggests that only a third (32%) of British IT professionals want or expect to be supported with training to upskill their cloud security knowledge.

What’s more, the absence of equal levels of investment in training new hires, on skills such as cyber security, compared to other nation states is expected to contribute to a shortage of professionals to meet demand in the next five years. In fact, the Centre for Cyber Safety and Education (ISC) predicts there will be 1.8 million unfulfilled jobs globally by 2022. This comes as new analysis of the IT job market revealed the number of vacancies citing Cyber Security  (24%) and Data Security (47%) have all risen in the last year, highlighting that organisations are reacting to increasing regulations and threats.

This lack of skills has had a positive impact on the salaries of those who do possess the expertise. Rackspace’s research found that over a third (35%) of UK IT leaders believe professionals with cloud security skills are the individuals that their organisation is willing/currently pays the most for, leading to the emergence of an employee, rather than an employer market.

Commenting on the findings, Lee James, EMEA CTO at Rackspace said: “Cyber-attacks or data breaches have become everyday news in the UK and businesses are under pressure to improve their own defences and build stronger security teams as a result. Yet, the reality is that years of neglect in recruiting cyber security professionals and developing their skills has created a hole for organisations to fill. These statistics show that companies are likely to face consequences from both cyber gangs and regulators, who will punish those not taking the right steps.”

With attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated, and regulations raising the stakes when it comes to consequences of data breaches, businesses cannot afford to be complacent about gaps in their security expertise. We now live in an age where cyber-attacks are an inevitability, rather than a risk, and organisations need to both upskill their workforce and work with trusted partners with the right security knowhow – or risk financial and reputational damage once GDPR comes into effect.”

About Rackspace

Rackspace, the #1 managed cloud company, helps businesses tap the power of cloud computing without the complexity and cost of managing it on their own. Rackspace engineers deliver specialized expertise, easy-to-use tools, and Fanatical Support® for leading technologies developed by AWS, Google, Microsoft, OpenStack, VMware and others. The company serves customers in 150 countries, including more than half of the FORTUNE 100. Rackspace was named a leader in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, and has been honoured within the top 100 Great Places to Work for the past 12 years. Learn more at www.rackspace.co.uk

About the research

This research report was conducted by Rackspace in collaboration with LSE academics and sponsorship from Intel.

With the support of the independent research house Vanson Bourne, we conducted 1,900 interviews with respondents from the UK, US, Germany, Benelux, Switzerland, Mexico, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong between the months April-May 2017. The respondent pool comprised of 950 IT decision makers and 950 IT pros from organizations that used the cloud. All respondent organizations had more than 1,000 employees from both the public and private sectors.

A breakdown of the exact demographics is below:

  • US = 300 IT decision makers and 300 IT pros
  • UK = 250 IT decision makers and 250 IT pros
  • Germany = 100 IT decision makers and 100 IT pros
  • Benelux = 50 IT decision makers and 50 IT pros
  • Switzerland = 50 IT decision makers and 50 IT pros
  • Mexico = 50 IT decision makers and 50 IT pros
  • Singapore = 50 IT decision makers and 50 IT pros
  • Australia = 50 IT decision makers and 50 IT pros
  • Hong Kong = 50 IT decision makers and 50 IT pros

In addition to the survey, a team of LSE academics conducted extensive research into the current debate within academia, and the trade press, on cloud computing, process automation, and digital skills. They also, during June-July 2017, conducted a series of interviews with eight global enterprises within the target demographic for the project. A further 10 interviews were conducted by a consulting company. Enterprises were given the option of anonymity to allow more candid responses.

Media Contact:
Michael House
Michael.House@rackspace.co.uk

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