With cyber threats still growing, and the cost of cybercrime is increasing as it is projected to hit an annual $10.5-trillion globally by 2025, the Philippines needs more cybersecurity professionals to safeguard infrastructure and combat cyber risks.
“You do not need one cybersecurity professional in your organization. You need a team that looks after your infrastructure, looks after your ecosystem from the applications that you run, solutions that you develop in-house or co-develop with a third party, and of course, your front-end,” said Sam Jacoba, founding president of the National Association of Data Protection Officers of the Philippines (NADPOP).
The Philippines needs around 180,000 cybersecurity professionals which represents 10% of companies that belong to financial institutions, healthcare, or utilities like water, electricity, and Internet. Globally, there is an estimated headcount of 3.5-million to 5-million cybersecurity professionals that are needed.
To address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals and fight against cybercrime, the Philippines responded positively to the Japan-ASEAN Cybersecurity Community initiative to create an Asia-wide Cybersecurity Community of Practice and Cooperation.
“It is about time that a multi-country approach spearheaded by Communities of Practice will join hands to fight against cybercriminals. Along with similar initiatives from government institutions and other private sector organizations, our Communities of Practice will work proactively to train current and future InfoSec and Cybersecurity professionals to enable them to go head-to-head against online threats,” said Jacoba.
Apart from this, Jacoba also said they will partner with some universities, one in Baguio and the other in Central Luzon and hopefully, in Mindanao. They are also planning to train media people on data privacy and cybersecurity.
Meanwhile, Lito Averia, president at Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team or PH-CERT, shared some challenges that cybersecurity practitioners are facing today.
Capacity development is one challenge where there’s one or two schools that had started offering IT courses with cybersecurity in just a small portion. Averia said they are trying to push the academe to develop courses in cybersecurity.
Getting certified is another challenge as it is too expensive. “What we did is we collaborated with the Philippine Computer Society. Early this year, we came up with Information Security Information Program that would help those interested to get certified,” noted Averia. Other challenges include there’s no document in the government that says everybody must comply with cybersecurity, different directives, and no clear mandate as to who will address or at least a central body that will address cybersecurity.