Government launches cyber security workforce survey

Ministers have launched their second survey of charities, business and public sector organisations about the cyber security labour market.

Joe Lepper | 7th Aug 19
charity cyber attack

Charities are to be surveyed to help the government better understand the cyber security labour market.

The research is being used to see how organisations are employing and training professionals with expertise in cyber security and better understand the issues they are facing.

This is the second survey of its kind by ministers as they look to develop policy on cyber security. Also taking part are businesses and public sector organistions.

The research is being carried out by phone by Ipsos MORI from August to October 2019.

Charities taking part have been selected from the charity regulators of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The previous cyber security survey by the government took place last year. This found that the average charity and business has around two people working in cyber security roles, while the figure increases to five on average across public sector organisations.

The research states: “As might be expected, this reflects organisation size, with larger organisations tending to employ more people in cyber security roles.”

Lack of expertise

Last year’s research also found that charities are outsourcing cyber security roles due to wanting access to greater expertise and because their internal staff do not have the necessary skills or knowledge.

The 2018 survey also found that “for example, one high-income housing and mental health charity migrated their data to a cloud service and then decided to let the cloud service provider manage their cyber security”.

In addition, it states: “Another high-income youth charity had an information audit, which ended up recommending that they hire an IT provider.”

Among charities to be affected recently by a data breach is Mermaids. In June the transgender support charity said it had taken action to remedy a breach where parts of its email database were available on the internet.

In February it emerged that fraudsters had used bogus telephone numbers to take money from callers to the Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline.