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Skill gap threatens to derail India’s booming cybersecurity market

A talent deficit threatens India’s response to mounting cyberthreats across healthcare, government, retail, and financial services sectors, a study says

Skill gap threatens to derail India’s booming cybersecurity market
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

As cyber threats intensify, India’s cybersecurity market is booming, but a significant skill gap is threatening to stifle its growth, a study shows. 

Till May, the Indian cybersecurity sector had approximately 40,000 open opportunities, with the demand-supply gap standing at 30%, the study by tech staffing company Teamlease said.

“As India advances digitally, cybersecurity is crucial. With 40,000 job openings, there is an urgent requirement for upskilling and hiring qualified professionals,” Sunil Chemmankotil, CEO of Teamlease Digital, said in the survey. 

The study, “Cybersecurity: Securing India’s Digital Frontier,” projected that the Indian cybersecurity market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.05% to $3.5 billion by 2027, while cautioning that cyberattacks surged by 18% in the first quarter of 2023, with healthcare being the prime target.

Chemmankotil said dealing with malware, social engineering, and AI-based attacks requires vigilance and resilience, and added that specializations in data privacy, cloud security, AI security, and network security, along with soft skills, are becoming essential.

Krishna Vij, business head – IT staffing at Teamlease Digital, said, “Addressing the 30% skill gap in cybersecurity is imperative. Through targeted training, we can empower professionals, bridging the talent gap and strengthening cybersecurity defenses.”

The study identified high-demand job roles in cybersecurity and their salary ranges, and sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, government, financial services, and retail as the most affected by cyberattacks.

Cyberattack victims

In the healthcare sector, for instance, India ranks 11th in the world in vulnerability to cyberattacks. With 1.9 million cyber-attacks recorded in 2022, and an average data breach cost of ₹176 million ($2.15 million), the sector’s reliance on digital technology for patient data makes it a prime target.

Another sector facing a high number of cyberattacks is manufacturing. Ransomware attacks accounted for 23% of the cyber-attacks on manufacturing companies. This kind of attack can be particularly devastating for manufacturing operations, as it can halt production lines and lead to significant financial losses.

Government agencies have also seen a significant increase in cyberattacks. In 2022, India’s share in total cyberattacks on government agencies was 13.7%, which is a sharp increase from 6.3% in 2021. The sensitive nature of data held by government agencies makes them a high-profile target for cybercriminals.

The financial services sector has not been spared either. Banks reported 248 successful data breaches in 2022. Of these, 41 involved public sector banks, 205 were private sector banks, and two involved overseas banks. These breaches have a direct impact on the economy and can undermine confidence in India’s banking system.

The retail sector, which has increasingly been moving towards online platforms, especially in the wake of the pandemic, is another area that has been hard hit. In 2021, 77% of retail organizations were hit by ransomware, up from 44% in 2020. This is significantly higher than the global average of 37%. The ransomware recovery cost in the retail sector is $1.97 million, which is above the global average of $1.85 million.

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