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Absa to finance cyber academy to meet demand for skills

For Absa, the global shortfall in cybersecurity skills is an opportunity to attack youth unemployment.

Cyber attacks on financial services companies have rapidly increased in recent years, with credit bureau Experian being the latest victim. This particular attack exposed the personal information of many South Africans and as many as 800,000 businesses.

Speaking about the recent data breach at Experian, Absa's Chief Security Officer, Sandro Bucchianeri says despite the best systems and protections, the errors that lead to such breaches come from people, hence a focus on awareness is vital.

Absa Chief Security Officer, Sandro Bucchianeri. Phto Credit: BusinessDay

The public is also becoming more aware of risks when transacting online, as the decrease in global click-through rates from phishing attempts show.

Furthermore, quoting research from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)², Bucchianeri estimates there will be a shortfall of about 4-million qualified cybersecurity experts globally by the end of 2021, due to the shift to e-commerce and cloud-based information technology architecture, a trend accelerated by the realities of the pandemic.

Therefore, Absa is investing heavily to produce more graduates with the skills required to meet the 4-million job shortfall in cyber security via The Absa Cybersecurity academy, which was initially designed to help reskill Absa employees in Africa by delivering a tailor-made 15-16 weeks course.

Via this academy, Absa aims to plug gaps in the supply of vital cybersecurity skills required in the years ahead, while also reducing the appalling rate of youth unemployment. The academy now emphasizes empowering marginalised youths to becoming certified cybersecurity specialists via a three-year course.

The academy’s first 24 “external” cohorts completed their first year in 2019 and have progressed to the inaugural second year in 2020.

The academy targets graduating 300 individuals per year. I the meantime, it is in discussions with prospective partners to help it expand the programme.

South Africa In Focus

Population: $58.5 million (Compared to Nigeria's 200.9 million)

GDP: $351.4 billion (Compared to Nigeria's $448.12 billion)

GDP Per Capita: $6,040 billion (Compared to Nigeria's $2,030)