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February 12, 2024 - 4 min

Germany's Cybersecurity Evolution: Why 2024 is the Perfect Moment to Career Change

Luana Ungaro - Ironhack Berlin

Ranked fourth in the EU on the innovation index, Germany is leading innovation in tech, having focused deeply on driving innovation and growth through technology across numerous industries. From e-commerce platforms like Otto to financial services such as Trade Republic and N26, the quick embrace of technology from both the German people and businesses has been a driver of progress. 

However, advancements in technology also bring with them an escalating cybersecurity threat that is affecting businesses large and small. A recent study by Bitkom reveals that 75% of companies experienced cyber attacks in the past 12 months, with over half acknowledging these incidents as existential threats. 

The growing number of cyber attacks highlights the need for a strengthened and structured cybersecurity framework that not only protects businesses, but also keeps Germany's digital economy resilient. And that's exactly what we are starting to see emerge. 

The Current Cybersecurity Landscape in Germany

The cybersecurity landscape in Germany, much like the rest of the world, is in a state of high alert. The recent findings from Bitkom have highlighted the gravity of the challenge facing German companies. So just how bad is the problem, and what can be done about it? Let’s discuss:

  • How frequent are cyberattacks?: a shocking 75% of the 1,000 companies surveyed by Bitkom reported experiencing cyber attacks within the past 12 months. This number shows that there is a widespread vulnerability in Germany's digital world that is seen across industries and businesses of all sizes.

  • What problems are these attacks causing?: the gravity of the situation grows when you consider the threat these cyber attacks pose. Over half of the surveyed companies (52%) believe that their very existence is jeopardized by these cyber attacks. 

This is a big rise in perceived threat levels from the same report in 2021 when that number was at 43%. Such a sharp increase of almost 10% is a clear indicator that cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, more frequent, and, consequently, more damaging.

Why are these cyber attacks happening? 

Investment in IT security, or rather the lack thereof, has played a major role in creating the landscape in which German businesses find themselves. The Bitkom study shows that cyber attacks are not a major corporate priority, with only 14% of a company's IT budget, on average, allocated to IT security measures. 

This is over a quarter less than the 20% or more investment recommended by Bitkom and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). This gap in security investment not only indicates a possible underestimation of cyber threats, but also shines a light on an opportunity for improvement in corporate cybersecurity.

The Economic Impact of Cybersecurity Threats in Germany

Cyber attacks inflict a heavy cost on businesses, encompassing direct costs such as recovery and legal fees, as well as indirect costs like operational disruptions, erosion of customer trust, and long-term brand damage. These incidents signify a loss of immediate revenue and a potential decline in market position as customer loyalty wavers in the face of security concerns.

Bridging the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

As German companies continue to embrace new technologies to keep pace with the digital age, the cybersecurity skills gap is a challenge that needs to be faced. It undermines much of the efforts to safeguard sensitive data and maintain operational integrity that businesses put in place. However, it is additionally creating an increased demand for qualified candidates for cybersecurity jobs:

  • The Bitkom study's results show that a significant portion of companies are underprepared to combat cyber threats. 

  • The main reason for this is a lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals on their staff. 

  • This gap between the need for cybersecurity expertise and the available talent pool has created a considerable risk to the digital economy and highlights the need to grow a new generation of cybersecurity experts.

Understanding the qualification gaps

The qualification gaps within companies are varied, ranging from a lack of basic cybersecurity awareness among staff to a shortage of highly skilled professionals capable of designing and implementing advanced security strategies. Many organizations find themselves unable to deal with sophisticated cyber threats because they do not have the talent on staff with the necessary expertise in threat intelligence, incident response, and security architecture. This deficiency not only leaves many companies vulnerable to attacks, but also hinders their innovation and ability to safely leverage new technologies with confidence.

Training existing employees and career changers

Addressing the cybersecurity skills gap requires a proactive approach to recruitment and employee development, one that focuses on the potential of existing employees and people looking to change careers. By investing in training programs and upskilling that offer both foundational knowledge and specialized skills, companies can quickly improve their cybersecurity capabilities. 

The path forward

The potential of training existing employees and those looking to start a new career path is huge. Such initiatives not only close the qualification gaps, but also empower people with fulfilling career opportunities in a high-demand field. In addition, companies that invest in cybersecurity training can enhance their resilience against cyber threats to gain a competitive edge in their marketplace.

The Return on Investment for Cybersecurity Training

The strategic investment in cybersecurity training is not merely a defensive measure against cyber threats, but a driver of economic and strategic value. The Future of Jobs Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum displays this well, revealing optimistic expectations among businesses regarding the return on investment (ROI) from cybersecurity training initiatives.

Expectations on ROI from cybersecurity training

According to the report, a large portion of businesses expect a fast and tangible ROI from their investments in cybersecurity training. Specifically, 32% of the organizations surveyed expect to see a return within just six months of implementing training programs. 

An additional 30% expect to see a solid ROI within six to twelve months. These expectations reflect a growing recognition of the immediate and impactful benefits that enhanced cybersecurity capabilities can bring to a business. Such quick returns are particularly compelling, given the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks, which can inflict substantial financial and reputational damage overnight.

Broader economic and strategic benefits

The ROI from cybersecurity training extends beyond direct financial gains, contributing to several broader economic and strategic benefits:

  • Improved resilience: by equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to identify, prevent, and respond to cyber threats, companies significantly enhance their overall cyber resilience. This improved capacity to withstand and recover from attacks minimizes potential downtime and financial losses, ensuring business continuity and stability.

  • Competitive advantage: in an era where data breaches damage customer relations and 65% of data breach victims reported a loss of trust in an organization following a breach, robust cybersecurity measures serve as a key differentiator in the marketplace. Companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting customer data can leverage this as a competitive advantage, attracting and retaining customers who value privacy and security.

  • Regulatory compliance: with the increasing imposition of regulatory standards around data protection and privacy (such as GDPR in the European Union), investing in cybersecurity training helps companies stay ahead of compliance requirements. This proactive approach not only avoids potential fines and legal challenges, but also reinforces the company's reputation as a responsible steward of customer data.

  • Attracting and retaining talent: as cybersecurity emerges as a critical concern for businesses across industries, the demand for skilled professionals in this field continues to soar. Companies that invest in training and development programs for cybersecurity talent are more likely to attract and retain top professionals, further strengthening their defense mechanisms against cyber threats.

  • Fostering innovation: a well-trained cybersecurity workforce enables companies to pursue digital transformation initiatives more confidently. With the assurance that innovative projects and new technologies are protected against cyber risks, organizations can more freely explore opportunities for growth and innovation.

How Ironhack Can Help With Cybersecurity Bootcamps in Germany

In the current cybersecurity landscape in Germany, where the demand for talent far exceeds the supply, there's a great opportunity for anyone who is looking to start a new career and wants to start learning about cybersecurity

Why now is the perfect time to transition into cybersecurity

The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber threats have highlighted an essential need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. This demand is creating a huge amount of new opportunities for those looking to change careers and start a cybersecurity job that will create good job security, competitive salaries and the potential for growth. 

The benefits of a career in cybersecurity include:

  • Job security: the cybersecurity industry is experiencing a talent shortage, meaning that qualified professionals are in high demand. This demand translates to job security and a lot of career opportunities across various sectors, especially in tech.

  • Competitive salaries: due to the high demand and the specialized skill set required, careers in cybersecurity are well-compensated, with the average salary for Cybersecurity Analysts sitting at €63,000.

  • Continuous learning and growth: cyber threats continue to evolve and change which ensures that anyone who works in this field is always learning, allowing for continuous professional development and career progression.

  • Sense of accomplishment: working in cybersecurity means playing a role in protecting digital assets and information from cybercriminals, providing a real impact on society and the economy.

How a bootcamp can help with the transition

Ironhack's Cybersecurity Bootcamp is designed specifically for individuals looking to make a career change. Bootcamps can be a great way to learn and are well worth the investment. Here's how the bootcamp facilitates this transition:

  • Comprehensive curriculum: our bootcamp covers everything from the fundamentals of cybersecurity to advanced topics like ethical hacking and digital forensics, ensuring that career changers are well-prepared for the challenges they'll face in their new roles.

  • Practical, hands-on learning: Ironhack emphasizes real-world applications of cybersecurity principles, providing students with hands-on experience through projects and simulations. This practical approach ensures that graduates are job-ready from day one.

  • Flexibility: with options for full-time or part-time study, remote or on-site learning, the bootcamp is designed to fit around the schedules of those who may already be working or have other commitments and means you can learn cybersecurity from anywhere.

  • Career support: Ironhack offers extensive career services, including interview preparation, resume building, and networking opportunities, helping students navigate the job market and connect with potential employers.

  • Community and networking: students become part of a vibrant community of tech professionals, offering support, mentorship, and opportunities to collaborate, enriching their learning experience and building valuable industry connections.

As Germany continues to innovate in the digital realm, cybersecurity becomes more important than ever. The need for professionals with expertise in areas such as threat intelligence, incident response, and security architecture is continuing to grow.

If you would like to become an integral part of securing data and protecting digital assets consider taking the first step towards a tech career with Ironhack’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp.

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