NCC Group Manila to build local talent for cybersecurity

NCC Group Manila to build local talent for cybersecurity

By Miguel Hanz L. Antivola, Reporter

NCC Group, a global cybersecurity advisory company in the United Kingdom, has opened an office in the Philippines in a bid to develop local technology talent and enhance its global capacity for clients.

“Our role is to build the [cybersecurity] talent that is able to support the changing environment we’re all operating in,” Mike Maddison, NCC Group global chief executive officer, told reporters during its Manila office launch on Wednesday.

“It has grown as an attractive career path for people now, especially with the scale of the skills gap on a global basis in cybersecurity capability,” he noted.

“Being able to tap that in the Philippines is incredibly exciting,” he added on Manila being the company’s second office location in Southeast Asia after Singapore.

The cybersecurity workforce gap in the Asia Pacific region rose to about 2.7 million, up by 23.4% from 2022’s 2.2 million, according to a study by non-profit ISC2. Globally, the shortfall has risen to about 4 million, with a 12.6% year on year increase.

“Organizations may have a number of cybersecurity workers, but if those workers all lack certain critical skills, that surplus of headcount can be completely negated,” the study said.

It also noted the biggest skills gap in areas deemed important for mitigation, such as cloud security (35%), artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (32%), zero trust (29%), and penetration testing (27%).

The Fortinet 2023 global cybersecurity skills gap report showed 86% of IT and cybersecurity decision makers in the Philippines and Malaysia have agreed that the skills shortage creates more cyber risks for their organizations.

Over half have admitted struggling to recruit and retain qualified professionals for their security team, it added.

Additionally, a report by Palo Alto Networks said the Philippines has been hit the hardest by cyberattacks among its Southeast Asian peers this year.

NCC Group’s Mr. Maddison noted the public, intellectual property, and financial service sectors are those expected to see the most number of cybersecurity challenges.

“Those heavily regulated sectors with sensitive information,” he said.

Saira Acuna, Philippine country director at NCC Group said the Manila office has so far hired 60 talents, with an open goal of building a Filipino community of cyber leaders through its junior and comprehensive on-the-job training programs.

It has started forging partnerships with the public sector through the Justice department and the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines.

It is also eyeing engagements with educational institutions to help share curricula and sponsor programs for the creation of job-ready cybersecurity talent.

“I hope Filipinos will recognize this opportunity to be part of a burgeoning industry,” Ms. Acuna said on heeding the call for citizens to grow a career in cybersecurity.