With great digitalization come great cyber threats, so APAC need sot plug skills gaps and boost cross-border cyber collaborations.

At a recent regional-policy forum conducted online and graced by Interpol’s Cybercrime Director Craig Jones, gaps in law-enforcement cyber capabilities and capacity were key challenges observed nationally, regionally and globally.

Jones asserted that, to overcome this challenge, law enforcement agencies must be trusted partners beyond national borders and sectors. Being collaborative, inclusive and open will help reduce the gaps, bridging the divides in capabilities and capacity, he said.

In the Asia Pacific region, which continues to harness the power of Industry 4.0, cyber capacity building should, according panelist Professor Li Yuxiao (SecGen of the China’s Cyber Security Association), should  “focus on network infrastructure, be alert to the challenges of cybersecurity, and strengthen the development of personnel training systems.”

At the forum, the speakers shed light on the APAC cybersecurity gaps to be addressed urgently to build a safer cyberspace. Limitations in the quality of cross-border and public-to-private collaborations can impact each nation’s cyber resilience.

In that vein, another panelist, Chris Connell (Kaspersky’s Managing Director for Asia Pacific) had noted: “As we experience accelerated digital transformation, we’re facing security challenges that put a strain on cybersecurity resources. Investing in cyber talent and promoting security awareness and digital education for users are the keys to success in building cyber-resilient digital societies and economies.”

The APAC cyber skills gap

It was revealed that multiple studies in the past few years had noted the global cybersecurity skills gap, particularly in APAC, primarily driven by the region’s accelerated digitalization efforts, which have attracted cybersecurity threats—a point highlighted by Jones. 

As APAC is set to be the center and biggest market for Industry 4.0 in the next five years, driven by the low production costs, extensive industrial base, and greater support from local governments, Professor Seungjoo Kim, a member of South Korea’s Presidential Committee on the 4th Industrial Revolution, noted: “In the European Union, the regulations on automotive cybersecurity will be mandatory for all new vehicles produced from July 2024. As the importance of cybersecurity spreads across all areas, security experts are forced to have more in-depth domain knowledge than ever before. Now, it’s time for us to think about a more effective workforce development program to train security experts specialized in each industrial sector.”

Mindful of the talent gap in the region, Connell announced how Kaspersky has expanded its popular SafeBoard internships program in APAC this year. Through this program, candidates are able to choose from a variety of technical and non-technical positions and to be exposed in the growing cybersecurity industry.