Global Shortage Of Cybersecurity Talent

Cybersecurity in Malaysia

Cybersecurity in Malaysia

The World and Malaysia is Facing a Shortage and Needs a Large Number of Qualified and Experienced Cyber Security Professionals

  • 20,000 cyber security knowledge workers are needed by 2025 to support the cybersecurity workforce demand from the industry

Against a backdrop of escalating cyber threats and mass digitalisation, the global cybersecurity job market is growing exponentially with a surge in demand for cybersecurity professionals. As companies of all sizes across the globe migrate to digital platforms spurred more recently by the pandemic, they require cybersecurity experts to design, engineer, and maintain cybersecurity systems and infrastructure

When it comes to potential in the cyber-security industry, Malaysia is one of the best ranking countries in the ASEAN region that are expected to contribute 75% of cyber-security services market share by 2025.Here are the details:​

  • TOP 10% of job opportunities in Malaysia is related to cyber-security
  • 21% of women are Malaysian cyber-security workforce
  • USD 632.6M estimated value of Malaysia’s overall security services market in 2021

According to independent market research firm Providence Strategic Partners, the total cybersecurity industry in Malaysia is forecasted to grow by 18.7% CAGR from an estimated RM3.9 billion in 2021 to RM5.5 billion in 2023. Despite the rapid industry growth, Malaysia still lags behind in cyber security talent pool development. Malaysia recorded a shortage of almost 8,000 cyber security professionals in 2020.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Digital Economic Blueprint (MyDigital) has set a goal for the nation to produce 20,000 cyber security experts by 2025. With the escalating threat of cyber-attacks, cyber security spend has also increased dramatically. Based on a report by GlobalData Market Opportunities Forecasts, IT expenditure
in Malaysia will reach RM103.75 billion by 2023. As such, there will be a surge in demand for cyber security experts from security analysts and security architects, cyber threat intelligence analysts, consultants and cyber incident analysts.

To protect an organisation against cyber threats, there are three important elements: people, process and technology. In Malaysia, companies tend to focus on purchasing hardware and technology, but still lack in people element.

To protect our data, privacy and keep digital society safe from new threats, we count on cyber experts or cybersecurity specialists – unsung heroes who are our digital frontliners.

Within Malaysia, there is a high number of cybersecurity intrusions and fraud reported to the police which has resulted in losses amounting to millions.

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Global demand for cybersecurity talent

State-of-the-art infrastructure at Asia Pacific University (APU)’s CyberSecurity Talent Zone allows students to have real-life exposure within the university’s environment.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report 2021, there is a global gap of over three million cyber security workforce, with two million in the APAC region alone.

Cisco, Symantec, Cybersecurity Ventures, ISACA and Intel have all expressed concerns on global talent shortage, as highlighted in the Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021 by Cybersecurity Ventures.

Together with its industry partners especially MDEC, the Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) aims to respond to the local and global talent demand.

“Cybersecurity is one of the central pillars of the digital economy, recording more than twice the overall ICT spending growth in the country over the next five years, according to an IDC report. With the recently-launched Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy (MCSS) and MyDIGITAL, 20,000 cyber security knowledge workers are needed by 2025 to support the cybersecurity workforce demand from the industry,” said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Chief Executive Officer Surina Shukri.

“MDEC have various initiatives to ensure that the pipeline creating these talents goes unhindered and we strongly encourage youths to take up cybersecurity as a viable and lucrative career option. Together, we can build and enhance our ecosystem and digital economy, championing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.”

Every second of our ‘digital life’ we actually count on the cyber expert or cybersecurity specialists to protect our data, privacy, and keep digital society safe from new threats – though this work is not often visible to most of us, it is still important to every individual or company and in fact, they are our front liners, unsung heroes.

Eventually, all devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). From laptops and mobile devices to interactive touch screens, even virtual reality (VR); these platforms have become a target for an army of unethical hackers (human & bots) looking for a victim and resulting in a huge price to pay in the form of data breaches.

Typically, hackers use phishing scams, spam emails, instant messages and bogus websites to deliver dangerous malware. They infiltrate and gain direct access to any personal information or monitor your conversations. Using the same back-end, they can lure you into revealing sensitive personal and financial information, or much worse.

Cybersecurity Ventures is the world’s leading researcher and publisher covering the global cyber economy found that cybersecurity jobs are expected to reach 1.8 million by 2022.

Global data analyzed by CyberSecurity Ventures₁, predict that the cost and financial damage to consumers, businesses and government agencies is approximately $6 trillion per year and is expected to grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years.

Within Malaysia, there is a high number of cybersecurity intrusions and fraud that are reported to the Royal Malaysian Police. These fraud incidents have also resulted in losses amounting to millions of ringgits. From January until May 2021, a total of 4,615 cybersecurity incidents were reported to the Cyber999 Help Centre, managed by CyberSecurity Malaysia₂. The three highest incidents reported during the period were fraud (3,299 cases), intrusion (765) and malicious code (256).

“Cybersecurity is one of the central pillars of the digital economy, recording more than twice the overall ICT spending growth in the country over the next five years, according to an IDC report. With the recently-launched Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy (MCSS) and MyDIGITAL, 20,000 cyber security knowledge workers are needed by 2025 to support the cybersecurity workforce demand from the industry,” said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Chief Executive Officer Surina Shukri.

“MDEC have various initiatives to ensure that the pipeline creating these talents goes unhindered and we strongly encourage youths to take up cybersecurity as a viable and lucrative career option. Together, we can build and enhance our ecosystem and digital economy, championing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.”

The cybersecurity issues elements featured in those report has been raised since 1997 as one of the main concerns for overs the years. However, Malaysia has established and taken various initiatives to strengthen cybersecurity in the country. As a result, Malaysia is now among the top 10 countries with the highest commitment to cybersecurity starting with the establishment of MyCERT – one of the departments under CyberSecurity Malaysia.

Based on the latest Global Cybersecurity Index released by the International Telecoms Union, a United Nations agency, Malaysia came in eighth (equal with Russia and the United Arab Emirates) out of 194 countries with 98.06 out of 100 points, and always been in the top 10 since the first report was released in 2014₃.

Malaysia ranked eighth (equal with Russia and the United Arab Emirates) out of 194 countries with 98.06 out of 100 points, and always been in the top 10 since the first report was released in 2014.
Global Demand for Cybersecurity Talent

Experts in the field of cybersecurity estimate at least top 10 percent of job opportunities in Malaysia will be related to cybersecurity in the near future. Not only cybersecurity professionals but also ethical hackers, digital forensics, cyber threat intelligence, network defence analyst and cloud solution developers will continue to be in demand.

Source: World Economic Forum (WEF) Report 2021.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report 2021, there is a global gap of over 3 million cyber security workforce with 2 million in APAC region alone. Cisco, Symantec, Cybersecurity Ventures, ISACA and Intel have all expressed concerns on global talent shortage respectively, as highlighted in the Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021 by Cybersecurity Ventures.

Together with our industry partners, especially Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) aims to respond to the local and global talent demand.

Specialised programmes in digital and cybersecurity

Malaysia’s Asia Pacific University (APU) digital security students have been winning in local and international cyber security competitions.

As Malaysia’s premier digital tech university, in addition to receiving the Best CyberSecurity Education Excellence Award, APU delivers high quality industry-relevant programmes in the areas of cybersecurity and digital forensic, such as:

These programmes adhere to international curriculum standards and industry requirements, and impart real-world cybersecurity practices, producing a successful track record of employable graduates.

Its industry advisory panel consists of experts from the cybersecurity field.

Cybersecurity Talent Zone (CSTZ) fortifies cybersecurity skills

The nation’s first state-of-the-art infrastructure and sophisticated learning space – CyberSecurity Talent Zone (CSTZ) – incorporates military-grade real-time cybersecurity monitoring systems, research centres and simulation infrastructure.

The full-fledged Cyber Threats Simulation and Response Centre (or Cyber Range) and Security Operations Centre (SOC) stream live monitoring data extracted from a database of cyber-attacks worldwide, providing a platform for hands-on practice on ethical hacking and incident response to nurture security professionals.

Upon completion of 50 hours manning the SOC and successfully completing all activities in an assessment, students get a certificate of completion from APU’s industry partner TecForte.

Making history with Asia Pacific University (APU)

The amalgamation of qualified academic professionals, industry-relevant curriculum and world-class facilities have produced digital security unsung heroes from APU, who constantly outperform their peers at national and international level competitions.

Some notable achievements include the Best Cybersecurity Education Provider in Asia (2021, 2020 and 2019), Top University Award in KPMG Cyber Challenge 2018, Champion of the F-Secure Intervarsity Cybersecurity Challenge (2020, 2018, 2017, 2016), Global Champion Ernst & Young Cyber Security Hackathon in 2018 in Hong Kong, Global Cyber Heroes Challenge (2019) and many more.

Graduates of APU’s digital security programmes have become part of the global digital security workforce.

According to the latest Annual Graduate Tracer Study by the Higher Education Ministry, 100% of its graduates have been employed upon graduation.

APU graduates are equipped with abilities to develop related skills and background such as evaluating design paradigms, languages, algorithms and demonstrating techniques to develop complex software systems and exploiting new technologies and applications.

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