Government's vision to address cybersecurity skills shortage

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana says government has a long-term vision to partly address the cybersecurity skills shortage in the country.

Addressing the CEO Forum for Cybersecurity in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Kekana said that in the not too distant future, South Africa will have formal education qualifications ranging from diplomas for school leavers at NQF 5 to graduate and post-graduate degrees.

“The intention is to work closely with the SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) and in particular the Reserve Bank, the MICT (Media, Information and Communication Technologies) and SASSETA (Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority).

“The initiative entails the development of roles and responsibilities for the cybersecurity sector through the identification of Organisational Framework for Occupations (OFO) Codes. This OFO will set the base for linking various occupations to specific skills and will assist in identifying further training needs. The next step would be to then engage private service providers to develop cybersecurity training programs,” Kekana explained.

To professionalise this industry, Kekana said that a framework has been developed consisting of various job descriptions that will provide a spectrum of careers necessary to build a credible industry.

“These job descriptions will be accompanied by educational requirements that will ensure the candidate has the level of expertise necessary to fulfil the responsibilities assigned to the job.”

Kekana warned that it would be impossible to implement Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill without a fully capable cyber force. The Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will bring South Africa in line with international laws dealing with cybercrime.

Kekana also stressed a need for a concerted and coordinated approach between the private sector, government and academia to close the cybersecurity skills gap.

“Cybersecurity skills are not in abundance across the world, let alone in South Africa,” the Deputy Minister said.

Cybersecurity awareness

Giving an update on the approach to cybersecurity awareness, Kekana said that through its Cybersecurity Hub, government has developed and implemented a national Cybersecurity Awareness Portal in the last quarter of 2017.

“The Awareness Portal will serve as a repository for all awareness material, and it is the main conduit for the dissemination of Cybersecurity Awareness programs and information,” Kekana said.

Cyber Security Awareness Month

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister announced that, as part of its international alignment, South Africa has adopted October as National and International Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Since 2003, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has been observed in most parts of the world.

She urged the CEOs to provide ways in which government and industry can collaborate to make South Africans more aware about the dangers of cyberspace, and how to protect themselves. –