NewsOctober 1, 2017 @ 4:00 AM

IBM Helps Keep the Doors Locked to Cybercrime During European Cyber Security Month

Would you ever leave the front door of your house unlocked when you go on holiday? The obvious answer is no, so why do we often leave our doors open to cybercrime?

This is why raising awareness about cybersecurity is so important. Having passwords set to “1234,” using public Wi-Fi networks to check your bank statements, sharing your travel plans on social media, providing personal information to strangers or unsolicited callers — all of these situations represent examples of doors left open to cybercrime.

In 2011, the global cost of cybercrime became greater than the combined effect of worldwide marijuana, heroin and cocaine trafficking, according to The Register. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

How do we address this monumental challenge affecting large corporations, small and medium enterprises, governments and citizens? The answer: increased worldwide cybersecurity awareness. Security is a shared responsibility, and we all have our part to play.

Addressing Challenges During European Cyber Security Month

October is European Cyber Security Month (ECSM), a campaign designed to raise cybersecurity awareness and encourage users to improve their online hygiene. The initiative is driven by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), and top cybersecurity organizations such as IBM, which is supporting the campaign by offering practical tips via social media.

While ECSM aims to promote the notion that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, organizations across all verticals struggle to protect their data due to a worldwide skills gap. In fact, demand for skilled security professionals is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today. Experts predict a shortage of 1.8 million open and unfilled security positions by 2022, according to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan. In the face of increasing threats, this is a shortage the industry can’t afford.

This skills gap is not only a shortage of people, but also of the right skills needed to meet the modern security landscape. As security evolved into a core issue for business and society, it’s not just computer scientists and researchers that are in demand. The next-generation security workforce will require a broad set of skills to fill roles ranging from product designers to risk consultants and policymakers.

The security industry needs people of all backgrounds — people with creative problem-solving skills who can drive collaboration and challenge traditional mindsets. Security leaders need to take an active role in closing the skills gap by driving awareness, attracting new talent and partnering with educators to provide next-generation training tools.

IBM Plays Its Part to Raise Cybersecurity Awareness and Close the Skills Gap

In addition to helping drive awareness for ECSM, IBM is playing its part to reduce the skills shortage by tapping new pools of potential recruits. A few weeks ago, IBM, in partnership with Corsham Institute and SaluteMyJob, delivered a training course in QRadar for military veterans in the U.K. This free certification in IBM security and analytics solutions teaches software skills to former and transitioning military personnel. Now in its third year, 100 veterans have completed courses through the program, which is organized and resourced by the U.K. Corporate Citizenship team.

Designed to facilitate employment into cybersecurity roles, this initiative is part of a wider Veterans Employment Accelerator grant program, which also runs in the U.S. and Canada. The initiative addresses two issues: The challenges faced by skilled armed-forces veterans transitioning back into civilian life and the growing cybersecurity skills gap.

Finally, IBM’s Corporate Citizenship team is promoting cybersecurity awareness initiatives by developing a series of activity kits for IBM volunteers to take to schools, charities and local communities. This effort will help raise awareness and understanding and provide practical advice on a range of topics such online hygiene for children, cyberbullying and internet safety coaching tips for educators.

Each day over the month of October, we’ll be sharing tips, best practices and advice to help you and your organization become more prepared for risks and challenges. Join the conversation with #CyberSecMonth and be sure to follow IBM U.K. for the latest security tips and more.

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Mari Carmen Ribes Espinosa

Security Business Marketing Leader, UK and Ireland

MariCarmen is responsible for the Marketing strategy and delivery of IBM’s Security business in UK and Ireland, including brand, reputation and sales pipeline development; leading an international team with expertise across all aspects of go-to-market strategy and execution, including portfolio marketing, campaign management, digital & events, social, marketing communications and external relations. Her key achievement is having driven IBM Security to a leadership position in terms of awareness and business results, with a team who runs in Agile methodology. With a legal background, MariCarmen joined IBM in 2000 working in Government Programs IBM Spain & Portugal; developed a multi-disciplinar career including Sales, Channel and 14 years of Marketing experience.