Education, closing the tech skills gap

Published: 02 / 03 / 20

Education is incredibly important to us at Southern Solutions, be that educating in house, in local schools or with our clients. It is crucial when it comes to helping organisations to protect themselves against cyber threats, as @Forbes discussed in an article last year, training teaches your employees to act as a human firewall. As they mention, awareness and incorporating best practice into every corner of the organisation is key. Our Technical Director, Dave, keeps abreast of the very latest technological developments and cybersecurity news. He can then cascade relevant updates throughout our team, ensuring that we not only stay safe as an organisation, but so do our clients.

We also believe in getting the younger generation interested in IT and technology in general and have enjoyed working with local schools. Our Relationship Director, Chrissy, has been meeting with groups of children through a project run by EBP South called ‘Guess my Job’.  Once the children guessed what job Chrissy actually did they discussed exciting topics such as coding and how this can lead to careers within game development or national security.

Chrissy states ‘We need to spark the next generation’s interest in careers around technology and help them to see technology as a fun and approachable topic whether you’re a boy or a girl’.

Closing the technology skills gap is certainly becoming more of a priority, indicated by results of a survey by CWJobs involving approx. 500 top IT executives. The results report that 80% surveyed believed that a tech specialism was an important factor when choosing candidates for a job vacancy, and two-thirds said that teaching technology in schools was even more important than maths and the sciences. We bet that had we asked this question ten years ago, these figures would have been vastly different.

A big focus for us is cybersecurity education, both for our regular clients and in ad hoc education sessions. Let’s just remind ourselves of the severity of the threat for organisations;

  • Nearly half of all UK businesses reported cyber-attacks or breaches in the last 12 months
  • Cybercrime is costing UK businesses an estimated £21 billion per year

The increased use of mobile devices and the internet of things make it more difficult for organisations to secure their network perimeter. We believe in educating at all levels in an organisation, after all the majority of cyber breaches occur due to human error. Our cybersecurity training is comprehensive, jargon-free and delivered in a friendly fashion, we receive consistently excellent feedback from clients after our hour-long sessions.

Whilst we’re on the topic of cybersecurity, Dave has the following simple tips that we can all implement;

  • Passwords are like toothbrushes – Pick a good one, don’t share it and change it regularly!
  • Use a VPN connection to keep your browsing private when using public networks. This encrypts and hides your browsing from anybody snooping on your connection, including your internet provider!
  • Keep your devices and applications up to date, this includes phones and tablets. This protects systems from vulnerability exploits which are incredibly common and allows people to access certain functions of your devices over the internet, for example, the camera on your mobile.

If this has made you stop and think “our organisation is really lacking cybersecurity awareness”, then speak to us about what you can do to improve the situation. We love talking all things IT support, you’ll always get someone knowledgeable and friendly at the end of the phone.

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