Countries and companies must act quickly to address the cyber security skills shortage through education, workforce diversity and training, according to a new report.

Intel Security found that only 14 per cent of UK IT decision-makers believe the education system fully prepares professionals for the cyber security industry.

The authors of the study, launched in partnership with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said this is underlined by the fact that 75 per cent of UK IT experts say there is a cyber security shortage.

As a direct result of this shortage, 32 per cent of enterprises claim they are unable to maintain an adequate staff of cyber security professionals and 22 per cent believe they are targeted by attackers because they know the company’s cyber security is not strong enough.

Key figures in the Newcastle tech cluster told BusinessCloud that the skills shortage is beginning to bite - and that the problem is not limited to the North East.

Last year 209,000 cyber security jobs went unfilled in the US alone.

The UK Government has upped tech spending due to concern over the skills gap

And former computer science students currently top the UK graduate jobless rankings.

Even though a quarter of respondents confirmed their organisation had lost proprietary data due to their cyber security skills gap, there are no signs of the workforce shortage reducing in the near term.

The report said that the increase in cloud, mobile computing and the Internet of Things as well as advanced targeted cyber attacks and cyber terrorism enhances the need for a stronger cyber security workforce.

Jon Corner, CEO of The Landing at MediaCityUK at Salford Quays, told BusinessCloud what his organisation is doing to plug the skills gap.