In the digital world, information is measured in bits. Bit is the binary unit of information at the core of digital information transmission, which is based on the binary system envisioned more than three centuries ago by Gottfried W. von Leibniz. It is the YES or No answer to a question, or the maybe more fundamental to electronic computers, the question of whether electricity passes through a circuit or not. From this fundamental unit we derive the byte, which are the 8 bits of information considered traditionally necessary to encode a character of text, such as alphabet letters or integer numbers. There is hardly any organisation that does not utilise some sort of digital service, and everyone needs to share their digital information with others in order to digitally communicate with them.
“I will show that it is possible to use in its [decimal system] place a binary system, so that as soon as we have reached two we start again from unity”
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
Digital information is stored and transmitted in bytes or larger units comprised of bits or bytes, such as the ’Nimble’ and the ‘Crumb’, or the ‘Terabyte’ and the ‘Exabyte’. Some of these units of information are better known to the public than other units, such as the terabyte or the gigabyte which are commonly used to measure the size of typical hard drives and USB memory drives. What is important is the size of digitalised information that is stored and transmitted is continuously increasing at an ever-growing pace.
With the development of software and the digitalisation of information, and to some point of human everyday life, the demand for cybersecurity is also increasing. With a continuously growing number of users storing their information online on the ‘Cloud’, the cybersecurity skills need to evolve to accommodate a great number of users who are unfamiliar with the risks. As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, companies must increasingly rely on cybersecurity experts to protect their online networks from cyber-attacks. However, even while there is an increased demand for cybersecurity skills in the market, there is a large deficit of cybersecurity professionals.
“Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 667,600 new jobs.”
US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The demand for computer scientists (including cybersecurity professionals) is evident in the growth projections of both the demand and salaries of computer scientists (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm). The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage for computer and information technology professionals was $97,430 in May 2021, which was more than twice the overall median for all occupations. What is more, the projected media pay for cybersecurity professionals (e.g., information security analysts) is projected at $102,600 which ranks among the highest compensations for professionals in the industry.
One of the fastest growing markets is cloud services. The recent covid-19 pandemic lockdown forced companies to heavily rely on teleworking, which increased massively the demand for teleworking services and technologies. However, with an ever-growing amount of data being stored and shared through cloud services, the cybersecurity needs for cloud security services and professionals have also increased. With the automation of processes, new machine learning methods, and advancements in artificial technology, cybersecurity has become a major concern for service providers. Cybersecurity services, including software development, hardware support, operations, and consulting, along with other such services, are registering record demand growth. The demand is fast growing for occupations such as cybersecurity managers, analysts and consultants, penetration & vulnerability testers, network and systems engineers and administrator.
“Cybersecurity was the top priority for new spending, with 61% of the more than 2,000 CIOs surveyed increasing investment in cyber/information security this year.”
Gartner Inc, 2021.
The advent of Web 2.0 and the ongoing work towards Web 3.0 the proliferation of interactive websites and user-friendly online platforms, saw the number of users of online services multiply exponentially. However, in contrast to pre-Web-2.0 users who had to have a solid knowledge of internet technologies to operate their systems, today’s users are often unaware of how exactly these services operate, and thus unaware of the cybersecurity risks and how to protect themselves or their systems from malicious software and cyber-attacks (e.g., phishing, denial-of-service DDoS, traffic interception, or social engineering). Consumption of online content, often generated by the users themselves, collaborations across borders and institutions, the increased participatory culture and interoperability of electronic device and systems, have increased the needs for cybersecurity more than ever. Consumer data breaches, supply chain attacks (e.g., ransomware attacks), have come to be at the core of organisational management concerns. Along with the risks, comes the need for more professionals with solid understanding of cybersecurity risks and ways to protect systems and system users. The continuous training of the general public and members of stuff will also become very important to manage cyberattack risks.
“Areas of significant risk driving near-term demand include the advent of new digital products and services and the related health and safety uses, as well as third-party risks such as customer data breaches or supply chain attacks.”
John A. Wheeler (Gartner Inc)
BLS, (2020). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), April 18, 2022.
Cyberseek (2022). To help close the cybersecurity skills gap, CyberSeek provides detailed, actionable data about supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market. Cyberseek.org
Gartner, (2021). Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Security and Risk Management Spending to Exceed $150 Billion in 2021, Gartner Inc. Press release, May 17, 2021.
Leibniz, G. W., (1973). Philosophical Writings, On An Instrument Or Great Art Of Thinking, (Everyman’s university library), Dent & Sons, London.
Litsardopoulos, N., (2022). Innovation, productivity, and wages, Plan B Institute, Article, April 25, 2022.
Panetta, K., (2021). How to Respond to a Supply Chain Attack. Gartner Inc. Article, January 11, 2021.