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IT security skills shortage demands training, hiring rethink: Earthwave

David Braue | April 17, 2013
Skilled IT security staff are in such short supply in Australia that government agencies will suffer as restrictions on access to sensitive systems leave them unable to source enough domestic and foreign workers to deal with escalating cyber threats, a security service provider has warned.

Although foreign workers offer a short-term solution for some local security services providers, Minassian warns that without a rethink of our hiring practices, Australia is going to find itself outpaced by ever more-innovative and opportunistic cyber-criminals that will see our government and business interests as soft targets.

"The IP that these defence contractors, vendors and service providers have is something that governments cannot replicate overnight," he explains. "We're just not mature enough in our thinking. The education process in terms of finding and educating the right courses to get students and university graduates interested in this industry, is not in place right now."

Instead, many of the best candidates are those who don't fit into conventional educational models, he says; many are teenagers and high-school dropouts, and many have come from overseas: Argentina and Brazil are "untapped", Minassian says, as are countries like Russia, Belarus, China, and India.

"That kind of recruitment simply doesn't exist in the Australian government today," he says. "You can't just give these people a normal job and expect them to work 9 to 5, and to behave like your other professional employees. But they need to be given an opportunity to get into the professional world, and to get commercialised. A lot of them are out there, but they just aren't being given the opportunities."


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