Technology > Security

Cisco's Australian arm is investing in cyber-focused courses to promote user awareness in the fight against cyber attacks.

Speaking with ZDNet, Anthony Stitt, GM of Security for Cisco in Australia and New Zealand, explained that Cisco's Introduction to Cybersecurity course focuses on how to protect personal data and privacy online and in social media, and explores why more jobs are requiring cybersecurity awareness and understanding.

The training, Stitt says, is Cisco's way of "giving back" to the Australian market for its vigorous support, as well as an investment by the company to help manage not only cybersecurity, but IT in general.

He said the Australian economy would benefit from equipping its people with the right level of skills for companies to continue investing in the country.  Edith Cowan University in Western Australia has seen over 1,000 graduates leave the university with a degree relating to cybersecurity since 2011.  

He sees that Australians should be fully equipped with the right amount of skills for foreign companies to look toward the country for investmenets. This is in the light of a shortfall of an estimated 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals globally by 2020.  In fact, almost 20 percent of cyber positions in Australia go unfilled due to a lack of trained professionals.

Stitt said Cisco is looking toward having cyber-related training extend past tertiary education and show those in unrelated careers that they too can pick up useful skills.

The 70-hour coursework also explores incidents such as malware and ransomware, which Stitt flagged as being the most prevalent attack vector in Australia.

Organizations should be aware of the role people play in the malware problem, Stitt said. "Often it's at least a two-stage attack; normally you'd need for the technology to fail as well as a human to fail for an attack to be successful, in general terms, but usually it's a combination of those two things.”

The cyber-focused training is offered by the Cisco Networking Academy, which the organization has been running since 1997. In addition to the cyber classes, Cisco also launched Internet of Things, NDG Linux, and entrepreneurship-focused training courses.

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