Cisco boost for cyber security skills shortage in SA

Cisco South Africa says it aims to plug a shortage of cyber security engineers in South Africa thanks to a partnership with learning services provider, NIL.

The IT and networking company on Tuesday unveiled its Cyber security Experience Centre and Academy at its Johannesburg office, to educate and fast track the skills needed to deal with the growing global challenge of cyber security.

Globally, there were more than a million job openings in cyber security in 2016 and the demand for cyber security experts has grown three times faster than any other IT role, Cisco said.

It said that the shortage of cyber security professionals threatens both the private and public sectors.

The new facility will enable both public and private sector stakeholders to be exposed to some of the most up to date trends in cyber threats from around the world, and be provided with the necessary skills, knowledge and insights into some of the technology and expertise required to deal with cyber crime.

“Cyber crime is now the fourth most reported economic crime in South Africa, with our economy reportedly losing R1 billion each year due to online criminal activities. Being breached is the new normal,” said Cathy Smith, MD of Cisco Southern Africa.

“In this hyper-connected world, security attacks like WannaCry and Nyetya are a fact of life. It’s no longer a matter of if these attacks will happen, but when. We hope with the launch of the Cyber security Experience Centre and Academy, Cisco can assist businesses to overcome some of the security challenges they face, especially in the skills space,” Smith said.

The new entry also incorporates an academy which will offer a MICT-SETA funded certified Cyber security training programme, of which Cisco will provide the content and facility, and NIL – an authorised Cisco Learning Specialised Partner – will facilitate the training.

The first intake will be for 36 unemployed early career learners with a matric certificate with Maths and an IT subject. Unemployed candidates of the same early career status who have attended a college and completed a Comptia or similar entry level IT short course will also be considered, Cisco said.

The programme will include both classroom and workplace experiential learning to understand the South African ICT security environment in the context of Global network security and upon passing the exam, they will receive an internationally recognised certificate “Cisco Certified CCNA Cyber Ops certification” which will be valid for three years.

It is estimated that the course is worth between R60,000-R70,000 per learner.

“South African organisations are looking to improve security engineering capabilities to prevent increasing attacks on their networks. This educational program will help to address the security ICT skills shortage in the country,” said Karen Sharpe who is the head of learning at NIL.

Read: Cisco and IBM team up to tackle cyber crime

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Cisco boost for cyber security skills shortage in SA