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14 per cent of new IT roles in UK are for cyber security

Data breaches push businesses to hire more cyber security experts

A padlock against a golden background to represent cyber security

Cyber security jobs make up 14 per cent of new IT vacancies in the UK, suggests new research, as businesses turn to threat experts to avert data breaches.

Specifically, the threats of reputational damage and financial risk as a result of data breaches are driving demand for cyber security professionals, foundinternational professional services consultancy Procorre, after analysing 10,210 IT vacancies in the UK, noting 1,420 are in the security space.

This demand means that employers are willing to splash the cash for expertise, with 15 per cent of cyber security roles now paying over 100,000 per annum, the research - conducted on Procorre's behalf by the Ponemon Institute - showed.

"There is a global shortage of experienced and talented cyber security experts," said Wiktor Podgorski, contracts & HR manager at Procorre. "Especially after a recent spate of high profile attacks that have demonstrated the need for businesses to improve their cyber defences."

With 42 universities offering specialised degrees and over 700 cyber security-related degrees available at a postgraduate level, British universities have likewise responded to the demand for security experts.

Master of Science degrees in areas such as 'Cyber Security Management', 'Software and Systems Security', and 'Information Security' are offered at universities such as Oxford, Warwick, University College London, and Royal Holloway.

The loss of sensitive information in the past few years has put many businesses at a risk by testing customers' faith that their information is secure. Risking client trust leads to long-term repercussions for businesses not just through sales and revenue, but also through reputational damage.

Recent hacks have targeted Carphone Warehouse, Ashley Madison, Anthem, and Home Depot, and have raised many questions about such organisations' abilities to protect against potential breaches in the future.

There is also the risk of fines from the UK data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), in the event of any data breach, with the body able to fine victims up to 500,000 - a sum that could rise dramatically when the EU introduces the more stringent General Data Protection Regulation.

The new directive will require firms to notify authorities of any data breaches shortly after they happen, potentially placing businesses at a much more serious financial and legal risk.

The directive could also result in fines of up to 100 million, or two per cent of global revenue, with these measures currently being debated at the European Parliament.Almost half of US companies have expanded their cyber security budgets in the past two years, while half intend to spend more in the next two years.

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