Ireland has hosted its first ever national week-long cybersecurity event with collaboration from South Korean cybersecurity talent, as a dearth of global cybersecurity talent continues.

The event, named Locked Shields, was led by Ireland’s National Cybersecurity Centre alongside Ireland’s Defence Forces to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity infrastructure. 

GlobalData’s 2024 thematic intelligence report into cybersecurity, found that the demand for cybersecurity skills continues to outpace eligible employees. 

Source: GlobalData

GlobalData’s job analytics data base signalled that around 40,000 cybersecurity job vacancies went unfilled monthly worldwide in 2020. By 2021 to 2023, the number of job vacancies continually exceeded 100,000. 

In 2023, cybersecurity hiring saw a slight improvement, with the global workforce totalling over five million people, an 8% increase on 2022. 

Despite this, increasing adoption of AI and digitisation means that demand for cybersecurity will continue to grow. 

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Cybersecurity non-profit ISC2 predicts that over four million people will be needed in cybersecurity by 2025 to safeguard the private and public sector. 

Ireland’s Defence Forces praised Locked Shields for creating an opportunity to consolidate the country’s cybersecurity skilled workforce. 

“The Defence Forces participation in Exercise Locked Shields 2024 – a virtualised environment simulating real-world challenges, represents an excellent opportunity to develop the skills of our Cyber Defence personnel in collaboration with the NCSC and our national and international colleagues,” said Director of Defence Forces’ communication and information services, Colonel Mark Staunton. 

A team of around 200 Irish and South Korean cybersecurity personnel tested their skills as a simulated national cyber defence body handling a country-wide attack. 

The group was required to report and respond to simulated attacks on legal, media and information attacks.  

While testing the team’s technical response skills, the challenge also placed the team’s strategic communication skills between the public and private sector on trial.