BT has today struck a deal with (ISC)² to offer those in the BT Security Academy the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) certifications.
The move comes after an announcement in April that BT Security has plans to hire 900 security personnel. In a statement, BT said this is, “part of a major drive to protect consumers, businesses and governments from the growing threat of cyber-crime.”
The agreement gives BT's security employees, new recruits and key suppliers the opportunity to pursue (ISC)2's professional certifications.
(ISC)2 will support the development of Official (ISC)2 Instructors within BT Security Academy, the delivery of training programmes and the certification examinations to suit demand. Commitments are in place to support an initial cohort of 80 candidates.
According to the (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study, 44 percent of hiring managers struggle to meet current hiring needs and 62 percent acknowledge that their organisations have too few information security professionals; with nearly a third of those respondents indicating that they would like to see a 15 percent or greater increase in the security workforce at their organisation. The study forecasts a global shortage of 1.5 million qualified information security professionals by 2020.
“As a major employer and service provider, we have a significant role to play in protecting the economy from growing cyber-threats. (ISC)2 certifications are well recognised and communicate reassurance that the people who hold them have core knowledge and experience in the field. We are pleased to be offering this opportunity as part of our ambitious goal to help meet the need for more skilled cyber-security professionals,” says Rob Partridge, head of BT Security Academy. “We are seeing desire from the companies and consumers we serve for reassurance and leadership in cyber-security which will be delivered through the talent we develop.”
SCMagazineUK.com spoke with Dr Robert Nowill, director of the Cyber-Security Challenge and asked whether deals of this magnitude will affect the ability of SMEs in the cyber-security industry to recruit staff. Nowill explained:
“We all know there is a serious skills shortage and people-gap in cyber-security at all levels – indeed we need a lot more cyber-aware people in the population at large, not just the professionals. However you count it, the shortage is large.
“This impacts the large corporates and the SMEs alike in the UK. Whereas the corporates do have cyber-related vacancies to fill measured in the hundreds that is not limited to telcos such as BT; many companies in other CNI sectors and defence are in the same boat (BAE Systems, Qinetiq for example but also energy companies, utilities, railways/transport etc). BT teaming up with (ISC)² and others to help the training and education of new and existing recruits will be mirrored by others no doubt, as all are fishing in the same small pond for talent.
“The SMEs may find competing on salary even more difficult other than for a few key positions, as mid-career recruitment of cyber-professionals is very competitive. A grow-your-own philosophy is increasingly the norm, and effective, for SMEs too. Although it may take some time to acquire and mature the skills needed, taking on apprentices, school leavers, interns, new graduates etc is very productive. Yes there is a risk of having good people poached in due course, but as long as the pipeline is sustained and not just a one-off then the overall cadre will increase across the UK.
“Organisations such as The Cyber Security Challenge, a not-for-profit funded by The UK National Cyber Security Programme as well as Sponsorship is encouraging people to enter cyber-security as a career and profession who might otherwise not have considered it, and is formative in the feeder stages of the above approach. SMEs who are sponsors are able to see and attract potential candidates for recruitment at all levels via Cyber Security Challenge events and activities, many of whom may be more comfortable starting out in a smaller organisation rather than a large public or private sector body.”