Cybersecurity needs new skills. When high-profile attacks dominate the headlines and networks are the domain of nation-state attacks, pressure is on governments to empower a security-savvy workforce to step up to increasingly sophisticated threats.

Criminals are embracing the dark side of digitalisation. As AI and innovation evolve, hackers are turning these new technologies against their targets. On this new digital battlefield, machine can help man get a clear picture of their digital terrain and predict and prioritise what’s under threat.
In Malaysia, as ecommerce and FinTech flourish, and attack surfaces spread, cybersecurity is in demand, but many workers are still playing catch-up in acquiring new skills. Innovation could be the way to strengthen the cyber-workforce.

Where are all the cybersecurity experts?

A breach could mean the end of your business, a damaged reputation, or in the case of a smart city, a shutdown of your critical infrastructure and essential services. And with around 4 million unfilled positions worldwide, skills are in short supply.

APAC has the largest regional shortage globally, with 2.6 million fewer workers than required. Malaysia’s public sector leaders have recognised that hyperconnectivity could widen the gap further. Dr. Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab, CEO of Cybersecurity Malaysia, sees the rapid rush towards IoT as a challenge that requires multiple “specialist skills… but no-one can be an expert in everything”, he told GovInsider.

His agency has collaborated with various national universities to foster a pipeline of talent, but education will only partly plug the shortfall. If not addressed, the digital skills shortage could impede digital progress. As many as three in five businesses in the APAC region have put off digitalisation plans out of fear of a breach. AI can be a “force multiplier” for Malaysia’s public sector, taking workload off analysts “to identify, thwart and counter a far greater number of attacks”.

Don’t blind test your network

When considering the challenges of a cybersecurity professional, Gigamon Chief Marketing Officer, Karl Van den Bergh has an analogy: “even a master sommelier can miss the mark”. For him, network analysis is like a blind tasting of wine, the security practitioner relying only on their instincts and their previous experience – or bias – to understand what lies in front of them.

Gaining clear network visibility with the help of the right solutions partner is like whipping off the blindfolds. No more second guessing: it presents a holistic picture to allow professionals to assess, analyse, and make the best possible choice.

For many security teams stretched on time and resources, too much data can be information overload. Intelligent applications are able to comb through the swathes of data to identify bottlenecks, blind spots and potential risk areas and threats.“CIOs and CISOs can optimize their enterprise’s performance, combat potential issues … and, in many ways, do more with less”, Paul Hopper, our CEO explains.

This goes for governments too. With the launch of the Malaysia Smart City Framework last year, national networks will become increasingly connected, and complex. The rise of e-commerce and FinTech are transforming financial services, and opening new opportunities for fraud. And the current pandemic has brought new unprecedented change.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz recently stressed that “the government is fully aware of the need to be agile and to respond swiftly to the Covid-19 threat in the country”. Through their focus on resilience through times of transition, Gigamon works with rapidly-changing infrastructures like Malaysia’s to provide security to governments, business leaders, and cyber-professionals during these uncertain times.

Better bots, better skills

Technology is a resource, not a replacement. Automating the threat intelligence process means AI can work alongside, as opposed to replacing, human resources.

“With the emergence of AI, the basic decision-making can be offloaded to software,” says Jason Rebholz, senior director of strategic partnerships at Gigamon. “While this isn’t a replacement for the analyst, it provides more time for them to perform more advanced decision-making and analysis”.

New technologies can provide employees with the chance to learn new skills and work with new solutions. To make sure that cybersecurity workforce and tools work seamlessly as a team, Gigamon’s bootcamp and training solutions make sure that cybersecurity professionals are well-versed in both the threat vectors they face, and how to use Gigamon products.

With critical digital services increasingly central to governments, and breaches costing organisations up to US$30 million, this pressure is only set to increase. A clear sight of your network and intelligent threat response could be an overworked cybersecurity professional’s perfect partner.

Valerie Witono is Regional Sales Director, Malaysia at Gigamon