Updated: Feb 26, 2019
On 20 Feb 2019, in a news carried by Bernama, it quoted the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) Veteran Affairs Department director-general Dzulkarnain Ahmad as saying the private sector to be more proactive in helping the government implement programmes to ensure the well-being of military retirees and veterans especially in the job placement and industrial training programmes for military personnel after going into retirement.
Cybersecurity is now a major issue for every country in the world as each is moving rapidly into enabling their economy to be digitally driven in order not to be left out of the globalisation that is sweeping the world.
In doing so, it has created and spawn a different and dangerous threats to everyone who is connected to the internet - individually or as an organisation - opportunists pouncing on the inherent weakness of cyberspace, who can threaten and destroy someone’s life and business, while remaining totally invisible and identity-less.
In every negative there is always a positive and vice versa. To mitigate and monitor against threats posed by these opportunists, it created a need for someone to be on the other side - security analysts to monitor the potential threats posed by these opportunists.
In the current environment, these opportunists have the upper hand as you only need a few and they can wreck havoc on thousands if not millions of lives and organisations across the world without limitations. Whereas across the divide, every organisation and individuals need to be attentive and have their own resources to defend themselves against these faceless opportunists which could possibly just number no more than 10 individuals!
For every opportunists out there who are faceless and are waiting for an opportunity, an organisation would need to invest hundreds of thousands if not millions of RM and have a team of no less than 5 analysts to help monitor and defend their organisation.
The issue herein, happening not only in Malaysia but worldwide, are these analysts. There is a huge shortage everywhere. In Malaysia alone, it was estimated that we need at least 15,000 such professionals to fill the needs of at least the major organisations in the country.
Is the country addressing this perceived shortage? Various programs were launched to provide training and certification to soon to be graduates at institute of higher learning for the past few years. But the question is - are we producing the calibre and giving them these opportunities?
No one actually checked whether these graduates wishes to pursue a career in this field. Everyone just assumed that they are interested due to the fact that there is a shortage and the salaries offered are way above what a graduate with an IT degree will get.
Besides putting them through an academic qualification to qualify as a cybersecurity professional, one’s aptitude in doing the analytical work is also important. Adhering to a strict regimental work discipline is also another critical and crucial must in the person’s character in analysing threat patterns.
Thus would an army veteran makes a good security analyst?
Yes, we think and believe so.
And we are of the view that our government should consider funding courses to educate and train our army veterans in pursuing a career in being a cybersecurity analysts outside their service tenure.
In the country’s pursuit to venture into IR 4.0, organisations would be more exposed to threats from cyberspace as more and more data would be conducted and stored online. With the increase in attack surface, the shortage in the availability of security analysts would be more acute. If this shortage in supply is not addressed on the same urgency as the shift to IR4.0, the migration will come to nought.
Retraining the army veterans is a natural response to address this shortage and helping them to stay competitive and concurrently utilising their skill sets as a soldier before. In essence, because of their training and discipline before, army veterans can and would make good security analysts in the field of cybersecurity.
Malaysia should move and plan our cybersecurity needs by tapping into our army veterans.
Singapore is already doing it albeit differently. In this heading below which is self explanatory and carried by the Singapore Straits Times on 21 February 2019, their government recognise the urgent need and placed top priority in building a cyber resilience city state.