Risks to PH’s cyber security are addressed by a USAID study’s recommendations.
In order to address the gaps in the nation’s current cybersecurity, particularly the lack of manpower in its cybersecurity ecosystem, research financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday put forth a number of options.
The “National Cybersecurity Talent Workforce Assessment of the Philippines” was released by USAID’s Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) Activity at a launch event held at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City. The report was commissioned by IBM Consulting Services and written by Caryn LeMur and Jeff Krinock.
According to BEACON Chief of Party John Garrity, the study revealed a shortage of qualified, experienced, and certified cybersecurity workers nationwide, notably among women working in the public sector and those holding entry- to mid-level roles in the commercial sector.
The lack of cybersecurity professionals is a problem for businesses, the government, and even for individuals, especially young people who can learn about the chance to work in this field where there is a surplus of qualified workers, according to Garrity.
The study offered a number of remedies that are split into two tracks to deal with these problems.
He stated that the initial group of suggestions are small-scale fixes that are “They are considered to be “low risk” natural evolutions of current cybersecurity measures.
“They are intended to advance the nation’s cybersecurity in the Philippines gradually, he continued.
In order to strengthen the nation’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, these measures include promoting cyber awareness at all levels, including in schools, workplaces, and households, as well as ensuring that the government is staffed by qualified cybersecurity people.
He also advocated for the official adoption of a “common consistent language” for cyberspace, such as the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity from the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).
The report also suggested that Filipinos have the right to freeze their credit in order to enable common Filipinos to defend themselves against cyberattacks.
He described the second track of recommendations as “jumpstart” or adaptive solutions designed to “leap” the nation’s cybersecurity posture.
The recommendations from the jumpstart and adaptive tracks are intended to “prime the pump” for a stronger cybersecurity environment in the Philippines, he said.
One of the ideas is establishing a cybersecurity executive agency that would evaluate and resize current cyber laws, use tax incentives to establish cyber apprenticeship programs, and provide grants to establish cybersecurity centers of excellence.
The cost of training may also be regulated by such an executive agency, which may also offer vouchers for certification exams and “after-the-fact” 50% scholarships to computer engineering graduates who pass particular cyber- or privacy examinations.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Agency (TESDA), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Philippine Congress, and the business sector, among others, are just a few of the government organizations that would need to work together with this agency, he stressed.
Implementing a cybersecurity curriculum that reflects regional and worldwide market demand is the second “jumpstart” suggestion.
The research also recommended making the government’s pay scale for cybersecurity professionals “competitive” in order to guarantee that the federal government has its own skilled cybersecurity workforce.
He claimed that many nations find it challenging to fill positions in the internet sector and recommended that the best way for a country to protect itself is to keep its “best personnel.”
The research additionally suggested upgrading and adopting cybersecurity legal training for judges to ensure legal repercussions for cybercriminals.
In conjunction with the executive agency for cybersecurity, he said, “The Philippine Supreme Court should move to facilitate cybersecurity legal training for justices selected to hear cybersecurity issues.”
The final recommendation made in the report was to support a national cyber consortium in the Philippines.
To ensure that the cybersecurity ecosystem is evolving and responding to the shifting local and global market, he suggested that the executive agency for cybersecurity establish and chair a national cyber consortium.
He suggested that the consortium meet every three months or every quarter in order to “adapt these measures” and provide a report to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
The Office of the President (OP), DICT, cyber organizations in the military and intelligence, cyber law enforcement agencies, CHED, TESDA, Department of Education (DepEd), Supreme Court, academic and private sectors, as well as other relevant stakeholders, he said, should be represented by representatives of the consortium.
The Philippines will not be able to expand the size of its cyber workforce, will continue to have “great difficulty” attracting and retaining cyber talent (especially in the public sector), and will not be able to capitalize on the rising global demand for cyber expertise through the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, according to him, if the country fails to adopt or address these recommendations.
On the other hand, there is a 75% chance that the USD23 billion BPO sector in the nation may be “jeopardized” if the country is only able to adopt steps in the first track or incremental recommendations.
“There is a substantial commercial risk to the Philippine economy without a jumpstart for the Philippines cyber ecosystem,” he warned.
He added that the effects of cyberattacks will be another risk brought on by the ongoing shortage of cyber workers, stressing that it is not a matter of “if,” but rather “when,” such attacks will occur.
The cybersecurity ecosystem will be created if both tracks of suggestions are implemented, enabling stakeholders to “ask questions that address issues and concerns above-and-beyond mere compliance,” as stated in the report.
Additionally, the nation’s cyber ecology would enable the employment of “many positive levers” to influence its surroundings.
Several government representatives, including Senators Grace Poe and Sherwin Gatchalian, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy, IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager Aileen Jiao, Executive Director of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines Frankie Antolin, and other high-ranking officials from both the public and private sectors, joined Garrity at the event. (
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