Google has announced that it is launching new Cybersecurity training to equip people with the skills needed to kickstart a career in the sector and to help businesses mitigate cybersecurity risks.
Google’s new Cybersecurity Career Certificate addresses the UK’s growing cybersecurity skills gap by providing a low-cost and accessible way for people to gain the entry-level skills required to help fill critical cybersecurity roles. The courses can be completed online in under six months of part-time study — with no prior experience required. The course teaches people to identify common cyber risks, threats and vulnerabilities, and the techniques to mitigate them.
Both the lack of digital skills and cybersecurity concerns are listed among the top digitalisation barriers for SMEs. Research from Kantar shows that 43% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed have been unable to hire cybersecurity support due to the shortage of specialists or the difficulty attracting, retaining or contracting cybersecurity experts. An analysis of job posts in Britain between January 2022 to January 2023 shows a 59% increase in the number of advertised cybersecurity related roles, with almost 70,000 unique job postings advertised during that time.
Training and upskilling is key to mitigating the risk of a cybersecurity attack. Modelling from Public First shows that the UK could mitigate £3 billion worth of cybersecurity risks by deploying AI and upskilling people and businesses. DSIT’S Cyber Security Breaches Survey found that almost a third (32%) of UK businesses reported a cyber attack in 2022.
Course completers will get hands-on experience using Python, Linux, and an array of security programmes including Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools and will gain the qualifications needed to begin a career in cybersecurity.
Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, is also launching a Cybersecurity Fund to help build a diverse talent pipeline for the cybersecurity sector in Europe and the UK. Google.org is giving $1 million worth of funding to INCO and Women For Cyber to provide scholarships to women in the UK and Europe from lower socio-economic backgrounds to access the Cybersecurity Career Certificate and tailored wraparound support including mentorship, peer-to-peer groups and job interview preparation.
VP & Managing Director for Google UK and Ireland, Debbie Weinstein, said: “The UK’s digital skills gap, and the lack of cybersecurity experts specifically, threatens to hinder future progress. Both the lack of digital skills and cybersecurity concerns are listed as SME’s top digitalisation barriers. This is why we’re launching our new Google Cybersecurity Career Certificate to provide Brits with the job-ready skills needed to fill the roles in this high-growth sector, and to provide more businesses with the expertise needed to safeguard future economic growth.”
Minister for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Viscount Camrose, said:
“Staying on the cutting-edge of cyber security is critical to unleashing the benefits technology has to offer. The UK has already demonstrated leadership by implementing our world-first Product Security Regime, and to match this ambition it is vital that British businesses have access to the talent they need to keep their systems safe.
“It’s a huge vote of confidence to see global technology companies like Google continue their commitment to the UK, particularly as we work together to build cyber security skills. Opening new career opportunities for British workers is an important step in building a highly-skilled, diverse workforce to safeguard our economy”.
Specifically for small organisations, Google is also partnering with the NCSC to offer SMEs free online business security training to introduce small business owners to the basics of cybersecurity. The new training programme – “Improve your online business security”– takes one hour to complete and is available either online or in-person at Google’s nationwide Digital Garage events.
Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society, said: “Cyber criminals represent a challenge for all organisations, but we know that they are increasingly viewing small businesses as attractive targets.Successful attacks can be devastating for a business, causing huge levels of disruption to operations and in the worst case scenarios shutting them down completely.
“I strongly encourage small business owners to explore this new training programme – and the NCSC’s other resources – to boost their defences and keep cyber criminals locked out of their business.”
Both the Cybersecurity Career Certificate and the SME cybersecurity training programme have been created in partnership with Google’s own in-house ‘white hat’ hackers featured in the cybersecurity series, Hacking Google. The series discusses the skills the team uses to protect the technology company from cyber attacks.