The economy is in crisis. The latest unemployment statistics have rung alarm bells, and a possible downgrade by Moody’s looms. Government and business are both recommitting to creating jobs to kick-start growth.

However, a lack of critical skills needed for a high-growth economy in today’s digital world threatens South Africa’s economic revitalisation. A recent critical skills survey by Xpatweb shows that the IT, engineering, finance and health sectors suffer from a shortage of skills.

“IT specialists and engineers are at the top of the list of critically short skills, confirming our long-held belief that investing in training is an investment in your company’s future competitiveness,” says Tebogo Makagatho, CEO of Netcampus. “Our growing curriculum of courses reflects our vision of providing both business and government with a flexible way to upskill their IT staff, particularly in the vital area of cyber security.”

Denial of service, malware, data breaches and now ransomware are just some of the common security challenges facing organisations.

As business and government move increasingly online, criminals are following them. Cisco estimates that 31% of organisations have experienced cyber attacks on operational technology infrastructure, Symantec estimates that some 24 000 malicious mobile apps are blocked daily, and the average number of breached records by country was 24 089. Website attacks increased by 59% in 2018.

Getting to grips with cyber security

“The statistics are frightening, and small businesses are as vulnerable as corporates. The ability to protect, detect and respond to cyber threats is now a critical success factor – organisations that lack this capability will not be sustainable,” says Westley van Straten, technology lead and senior trainer at Netcampus. “Ensuring your employees – end-users in addition to technical staff – have the necessary cyber security skills is the only way to counter this challenge.”

Netcampus was recently named an Accredited Training Centre for ECCouncil, a globally leading cyber security credentialing body. EC-Council is the owner and developer of the Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH). Its certification programmes are recognised globally by, the United States Federal Government (via the Montgomery GI Bill), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS).

Van Straten says that the C|EH certification is one of the most high-rated information security training programmes because of the insight it provides into the advanced hacking tools and techniques used by cyber criminals.Most importantly, the C|EH training program provides excellent lab access for students to gain vital practical skills in how to protect against, and detect, cyber criminals.

“EC-Council training bouquet also includes the Certified Network Defender for network administrators and Certified Secure Computer User for end-users, among many others,” he says. “As an Accredited Training Centre, we offer all these programmes, as well as the C|EH (Practical) course, which is the next step from the C|EH certification. To be effective, individuals need to understand the attack and the tool being used, and then implement a mitigation initiative.

“There’s no such thing as foolproof security, so one needs an integrated approach across the whole security lifecycle.”

When it comes to mitigating an attack, he stresses that partnering with a reputable vendor is the obvious choice for most organisations as open source options require a high degree of technical knowledge.

“To prove that you are proficient in Ethical Hacking, C|EH (Practical) doesn’t give you simulations. Many other certification providers talk about performance-based assessments, but the reality is they do not test your skills in a real-life environment. Most of these ‘performance-based tests’ are limited to simulations that are limited to testing knowledge instead of skills.” said Jay Bavisi, President of EC-Council Group.

Bringing Cyber Security Mastery to You

Netcampus, being the strategic partner for the region is partnering with EC-Council to bring high quality, affordable, hands-on cyber security training in a comfortable and traditional classroom environment through EC-Council Masterclass training in Pretoria, South Africa, on November 25-28, 2019.

The training is delivered by EC-Council’s Master Trainers who are industry experts with years of experience in handling the most complex threats. The courseware is structured according to industry standards and is available online with round-the-clock access for quick learning. The Masterclass series provides an opportunity to network with peers to discover the best practices and trends in the industry.

Prepping for 4IR

If cyber security is mandatory in today’s digital world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that skills related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) are growing in importance, says Otsile Mabyane, programme manager: strategic projects at Netcampus.

“Government, from the President down, is talking a lot about 4IR and the opportunities it offers – and the skills we need to acquire in order to ride that particular wave,” he says. “While 4IR is in its infancy, we do definitely need to begin to acquire high-level skills like data science and artificial intelligence. But we need to begin somewhere, and I would argue that government itself has a golden opportunity to drive a shift towards a digital economy by changing the way it does things. By speeding up the move to e-government, the state will lead the charge in upskilling our population, and realising the huge wealth of human capital that exists in this country.”

In this regard, Mabyane says that Netcampus has developed the capability to help organisations in both the public and private sectors contribute to the goal of upskilling the country while also driving technology adoption within their organisation. Netcampus has already collaborated with clients to train interns in specific software skills and then deploy them within the client organisation as `agents of adoption’ or champions, helping permanent staff to accustom themselves to using new technology to do their work.

“In this way, we are helping clients to ensure that important technologies, like Azure, for example, are properly adopted within their organisations – but we’re also deepening the pool of young people with valuable IT skills,” he says. “That’s building the country from the bottom up.”

Source: Brainstorm Magazine