• Cyber security is a priority sector for Australian government and industry investment
  • The industry needs 11,000 extra cyber security workers this decade
  • Australian cyber security training companies are seeing more demand for their services

Australia’s chronic cyber security skills gap is being addressed by the Australian Defence Force and industry partners with specialist training while the government has pledged to spend $1.35bn on the sector over 10 years.

Around 500 cyber security jobs are being created by the spending program as part of the government’s Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) plan.

The jobs are being created within the Australian Signals Directorate.

Australian businesses are facing a rising tide of cybersecurity threats and despite $6bn of forecast spending on the sector this year it remains a huge headache for companies.

Another government initiative unveiled this week, the ADF Cyber Gap program will offer financial support, mentoring and Defence work experience opportunities for cyber security students in Australia.

The initial intake for the program is around 50 students, rising to 250 students next year, and is run in partnership with the Digital Transformation Agency.

“In a digital world, where connectivity extends to the battlefield, we want the best and brightest cyber operators defending our defence networks and mission systems,” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said.

The government is investing $41m over the next four years to support 800 students through the gap year program, which includes participation in a cyber skills challenge.

Chronic cyber security skills gap in Australia

Research undertaken for the Australian Computer Society by Deloitte Access Economics revealed that Australia has a chronic skills shortage in cyber security, with 11,000 extra cyber security workers required in the 2020s.

Cyber security skills company FifthDomain is working with the ADF to train its personnel and is set to host another of its online training exercises in October.

“As project lead, FifthDomain is working closely with Defence to formulate a plan, in conjunction with its delivery partners, to roll this training out more broadly across the Defence organisation,” said company founder and CEO, Matt Wilcox.

Its first online cyber security training exercise was held at its Canberra headquarters over three weeks in August and had participation from 50 Australian army, navy and air force personnel.

The ADF’s head of information warfare, Major General Marcus Thompson, attended the event. His division is responsible for overcoming threats to Australian national interests and training defence personnel in cyber security techniques.

FifthDomain and industry partners secure training for Defence

The aim of the training is to rapidly accelerate the development of cyber security sills across the ADF, and more broadly to tackle the significant cyber security skills gap in Australia.

Other Australian cyber security skills providers are involved in the training for ADF personnel, including Cydarm, Elttam, Penten and Retrospect Labs.

“With a track record of supporting global [companies], Australia’s cyber companies have demonstrated their ability to match global needs with highly technical solutions,” said Wilcox.

FifthDomain is a private company and said it is not intending to list on the ASX at this time.