Global Cyber Security Threat Combined with a Severe Talent Shortage Presents Enormous Opportunity


According to a CNBC article on cyber security trends, a 2019 CEO Imperative Study conducted by management consultancy EY reports that CEOs see cyber security as the number one threat to the global economy over the next five to ten years. The firm collected responses from 200 CEOs from a pool of the Forbes Global 2000 and Forbes Largest Private Companies.

Researchers for the study interviewed an additional 100 senior investors from firms managing at least $100 billion in assets. In order to ensure a more global viewpoint, EY included CEOs from companies in various region.

Countries Taking Action

Cyber security threats are of growing concern worldwide. A Pew Research Center study released in early 2019 shows that people in the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, and South Africa rank cyberattacks as the world’s greatest threat to security.

To address concerns, the European Council plans to better respond to cyber threats. In May 2019, the Council implemented a framework for targeted sanctions. This framework allows the EU to both deter and respond to external cyberattacks against the European Union and its member states.

A press release on behalf of the council states that while the EU recognizes the significant opportunities offered by technology, it’s concerned about “the rise of malicious behavior in cyberspace that aims at undermining the EU’s integrity, security, and economic competitiveness, with the eventual risk of conflict.”

In order to curb this malicious behavior, the newly established framework would allow the EU to impose sanctions on the people or entities responsible for cyber attacks or attempted cyber attacks. The EU would also be able to impose sanctions on associates who provide financial, technical, or material support.

Cyber attacks that qualify under the new sanctions include those with significant impact that fall under one or more of the following:

  • originate or are carried out from outside the EU
  • use infrastructure outside the EU
  • carried out by persons or entities established or operating outside the EU
  • carried out with the support of persons or entities operating outside the EU

Restrictive measures include banning perpetrators from travelling to the EU and freezing the assets of the accused people or entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to the offenders.

The Council believes this measure is necessary because of the increasing threat of cyberattacks. Governments are not the only entities at risk. The increasing threat level also affects citizens, businesses, and critical infrastructure. The hope is that the sanctions will deter potential aggressors as well as reinforce the security of the Union and its member states.

Job Opportunities

Cyber security jobs forecasts have been unable to keep pace with this dramatic rise in cyber crime. The global shortage of cyber security professionals has reduced society’s capability to successfully combat the severe cyber crime epidemic. Up from $3 trillion in 2015, Cybersecurity Ventures, a leading researcher in the industry, predicted the epidemic will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021.  In 2017, the organization predicted that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security positions by 2021—which means it’s a great time to get into this field.

As estimated by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), India will need a million cyber security professionals by 2020 as necessitated by the country’s rapidly growing economy and increasing number of cyber attacks. Other countries, including Australia, Israel, and the U.S., also face similar shortages.

Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at Herjavec Group, a Managed Security Services Provider with offices and Security Operations Centers globally, strongly recommends pursuing an education in information technology or computer science. He says, “There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cyber security and the opportunities in this field are endless. Gone are the days of siloed IT and security teams. All IT professionals need to know security–full stop.”

Prepare Your Team

With the severe lack of cyber security talent combined with the increase in cyber crime, every IT worker essentially serves a cyber security worker as well.

Get your team of technical professionals up-to-speed on how to protect enterprise networks from potential threats with the Cyber Security Tools for Today’s Environment program from IEEE.  This program is designed to help businesses improve security techniques with 11 self-paced, online courses.

Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist to learn more.


Morgan, Steve. (31 May 2017). Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021. Cybersecurity Ventures.

Radu, Sintia. (20 May 2019). The EU Agrees on Rules to Punish Cyberattackers. U.S. News & World Report.

Taylor, Chloe. (9 Jul 2019). Cybersecurity is the biggest threat to the world economy over the next decade, CEOs say. CNBC.

Kumar, Amit. (27 Sept 2016). Is Cognitive Security the Answer to the Massive Cybersecurity Skills Gap in India? SecurityIntelligence.

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