International Education Day: Need for Modernizing Cybersecurity Education for a New Digital World

Sundar Balasubramanian

New Delhi, January 2023 – Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider specialized in cybersecurity worldwide, wants to make use of this International Education Day taking place on 24th January, to re-emphasize the need to include cybersecurity among the subjects to be studied in schools and high schools, being nowadays a growing priority inside our increasingly digital society. In this field, the reality is that it is increasingly necessary to be vigilant, as cyber-attacks increased by 28% in Q3 2022 globally compared to 2021 across all industry sectors. Here in India, Check Point Research reported 3817 average weekly attacks in the education sector in 2022.

According to the EALDE (School of Administration, Leadership, Management and Entrepreneurship) business school, a leading business school in Spain, it is estimated that more than 1.5 million users worldwide are victims of cybercrime every day. The increasing pace of digital transformation has led companies, as well as some public bodies such as those in healthcare or even education itself, to move their operations to the Internet and to adopt remote working to a greater extent. In fact, the cost of a cyberattack in the healthcare industry has increased by 42% in the last 24 months (Source: IBM and CPR). Hence, specialization in cybersecurity has established itself as the area with the greatest job prospects within the digital branch. This topic itself has also sparked debates about what the jobs of the future will be like.

According to the report published by the World Economic Forum in 2020, 50% of all employees in all sectors will need to retrain by 2025, and 40% of current workers’ core competencies are expected to change in the same period. In fact, by 2022, 40.1% of organizations acknowledged that they are recycling talent from other departments into cybersecurity. Yet only 2 out of 10 internal positions are trained or have the knowledge to perform the required functions.

The new generations still have time to be more updated with the technological advances and new concerns that we will face in the coming years and can prepare themselves better for their professional careers. It is advisable to start at an early age, at an entry level for primary school, and continue through the entire educational journey to university and beyond, as keeping up to date with cybersecurity can extend over a lifetime.

It doesn’t matter if a future worker is seeking to enter this security sector or just preparing oneself for any other minimally digital job, but the old adage of “if you know about cybersecurity, you have a job for life”could be something to live by. This was a statement made by Robert Herjavec in an interview for Cybercrime Magazine in 2018, that becomes even more relevant for this 2023 when cybersecurity pervades almost every aspect of work and our digital lives.

This outlook data revalidated when we look in detail at Spain, with the estimated figures shared by the study of the National Security Institute (INCIBE) and National Technology and Society Observatory (ONTSI) published last March: these studies shows that the national cybersecurity workforce had reached almost 150,000 workers, with an estimated missing talent gap of 24,000 jobs. A gap that, by 2024, is estimated to reach more than 83,000 professionals in need, with demand for cybersecurity talent expected to increase by as much as 300% over the next 3 years.

With an unemployment rate of 0%, Cybersecurity ranks as one of the safest sectors for professionals, ensuring ample prosperity for the near and not-so-near future.

Check Point SecureAcademy: teaching to learn

Although the current offer of studies in Spain is quite wide, with a total of 84 Master’s degree programs, 3 university specializations, 4 Bachelor’s degrees and 30 professional training specializations in cybersecurity, unfortunately there are still a large number of students who, due to the lack of general knowledge about cybersecurity, lack interest when it comes to training in cybersecurity.

Check Point Software currently has 144 partners worldwide in its MIND program for cybersecurity education, having achieved a 144% increase in the number of active institutions in the program, in turn impacting a 168% growth in student enrollment rate during 2022 over the previous year. Last year, Check Point MIND announced a new partnership with training vendor Monnappa K.A, providing customer and partners the ability to advance their skills in cyber defense with two new training courses. Hacking Point training programs are expanding with the addition of two new training programs by Monnappa K.A.

However, this training and recruitment need not be limited exclusively to younger employees. Some international companies have begun to implement initiatives for their employees, launching over the past year, incentive plans to encourage attention and detection of phishing attacks by adding them to their general bonus policies, or launching free training and certification programs in cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity is, and will continue to be, one of the most critical and desired careers in the world. However, we must continue to encourage and help its expansion” said Sundar Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Check Point Software Technologies India & SAARC. “That’s why, with our SecureAcademy program, we seek to support students at institutes of higher education and non-profit organizations around the world by providing them with vital cybersecurity knowledge and learning resources. Such studies, certification and training will help nurture these young minds to be equipped with the skills for cybersecurity jobs of the future, enabling them a career in their life-long career”.

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