Australia needs around 18,000 more cyber security professionals by 2026 if the sector is to be globally competitive, a new report has found.
The report from AustCyber, a 2018 update to its Sector Competitiveness Plan, added that beyond the major skills shortage, Australia also faces a challenge in the lack of alignment in research and commercialisation.
The benefits of growing Australia’s cyber security sector are significant: US$131 billion was spent on cyber security in 2017, and an increase of 88 percent to US$250 billion is expected by 2026.
In turn, AustCyber believes that Australia’s revenue from cyber security could triple from $2 billion to $6 billion over the next decade if the key challenges are addressed.
Michelle Price, CEO of AustCyber, wrote in the foreword that while a “thriving and dynamic” cyber security sector in Australia will create new jobs and revenue, it is equally important to enable the local and international success of other Australian industries.
“Supporting cyber resiliency across the Australian economy improves our nation’s overall security. A globally competitive Australian cyber security sector will ultimately underpin the future success of every industry in the national economy, by promoting greater trust in Australia as a safe and desirable place for businesses to pursue digitally driven growth,” she wrote.
While there has been progress over the last year, Price stated that the next 12 months are critical.
“More needs to be done to ramp up the momentum – including targeted government and industry investment in skills and workforce development, backing for focused research and commercialisation that plays to Australia’s strengths, and support to remove market barriers to allow local companies to innovate, grow and export their solutions the world.”
The report outlines three key goals to help build a globally competitive sector: growing a local cyber security ecosystem, exporting Australian cyber security to the world, and making Australia the leading centre for cyber security education.
Among the strategies AustCyber has proposed in order to achieve these goals are the simplification of government and private industry procurement processes, helping cyber security startups find their first customers, making access to seed and early-stage funding easier, improving research focus and collaboration to assist commercialisation, and creating industry-led development pathways to encourage more people into the sector.
The release of the report follows the opening of the government’s latest Joint Cyber Security Centre in Adelaide last week.
Part of the Joint Cyber Security Program and Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy, Joint Cyber Security Centres are open in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth. They look to bring together researchers, industry, and government to collaborate on cyber security initiatives.
Image: Michelle Price.