Will blockchain solve the cyber security skills crisis?

Despite the security industry being a fast-growing market, with the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicting that worldwide revenues for security-related hardware, software and services will grow from $73.7 billion in 2016 to $101.6 billion in 2020, there appears to a very serious cyber security skills crisis.

A report from Frost & Sullivan and (ISC)2 found that the global cyber security workforce will have more than 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020. This number is compounded by 45% of hiring managers reporting that they are struggling to support additional hiring needs and 62% of respondents reporting that their organisations have too few information security professionals.

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At the same time, cyber risks are changing every day, becoming more and more complex. As some look to restructure their organisations, develop new workforce strategies, and offer education for employees about new risks, day after day, the demand for cyber security professionals and solutions is getting more insatiable.

How can blockchain close the skills gap?

Speaking to Information Age, CEO of PolySwarm, Steve Bassi said: “Cyber security has such a depth to it, which requires a complex understanding about things like software and hardware, in order to really get a full idea of the various vulnerabilities out there, as well as accurately understanding how hackers think.

“Realistically for the skills shortage in cyber security, it is not something that will be fixed by a three or four-year university program.”

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Instead, Bassi and his team think organisations need to change the entire ecosystem in which solutions are produced. They believe blockchain enables this much-needed shift.

“We are not one of those blockchain based companies that are going to come to you and say we’ve got a solution for world hunger. But we think we can improve on the old system, where organisations typically paid a cyber security vendor a yearly subscription fee, for the vendor to then take a percentage of that dollar and use it for R&D to evolve their product and solutions.”

PolySwarm believes that this system is not agile enough, and thought if they fix the economics behind cyber security, innovation would be much more prevalent and easy to adopt. This is why they creating a decentralised marketplace where hackers can build anti-malware engines that compete to protect organisations.

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Bassi explained: “The idea is a free market one, where you are protected as a consumer because the network economically rewards people that may have been cyber attackers or malware writers to play defence instead.”

PolySwarm’s platform could also help security experts to get connected with large firms who are in need of their expertise, Bassi added: “The beauty of this is that we are open to the entire world, smart contracts aren’t written in English, French or whatever, they are written in computer code, so two people may not speak the same language, but they can communicate in regards to cybersecurity.”

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future