Telecommunications company Singtel has set its sights on a goal: To train 130 fresh graduates and mid-career information technology professionals in cyber security by next year.
Upon graduation from the Cyber Security Associates and Technologists (CSAT) programme, the bulk of the trainees will be absorbed into Singtel, while the remaining one-fifth will be “released” into the market with new-found skills in cyber analytics and cyber forensics, to name a few.
Globally, there is an estimated shortfall of one million cyber security professionals, and this could grow to six million by 2020.
Citing these figures, Mr Bill Chang, Singtel’s chief executive of group enterprise, said, “The demand outstrips supply. While Singtel can hire and acquire talent in the industry, that cannot meet our needs alone.”
Due to the market shortage, Singtel makes it a point to train professionals for the industry as well.
“By doing that, we can help to enlarge the entire market opportunity for us, and through this … we want to demonstrate our thought leadership,” Mr Chang said.
The CSAT programme, which was launched last April, now has an intake of 54 trainees, including an undisclosed number of Singtel employees undergoing an internal conversion programme. The training period lasts from six months to a year, and covers topics such as hacking and threat analysis. Trainees also tag along with their mentors on site visits to customers’ offices.
The programme is supported by the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore. Yesterday, Finance Minister Heng Sweet Keat spoke of how the Government could work with businesses to help them tap opportunities and grow, in his Budget statement.
Mr Chang stressed that in the field of cyber security, change is a constant.
“This field is consistently being defined by cyber attackers with changing tactics and tools. Therefore, defenders have to constantly (sharpen their skills and) learn about new capabilities that are available globally,” he said.
This is where Singtel’s Cyber Security Institute, launched together with the CSAT programme last year, comes into the picture.
The 10,000sqf facility in Tampines houses the latest cyber security technologies in the market, and even has a depository of malware from around the world.
Since last April, it has trained more than 300 individuals, ranging from bank employees here to government officials in the region. It caters to companies — from their management to cyber security teams — and prepares them for cyber security threats. Be they mock war games or drills, the companies are put through the paces with customised scenarios.
Mr Chang said: “Cyber security is not a technology issue alone. It is a business issue. The CEO and executive staff members have to be really well-versed in this and have to be prepared. It is not ‘if’ a cyber attack happens, it’s ‘when’ it will happen.”