The CEO of a London-based IT support and services company has called for businesses to ‘grow their own’ cyber security professionals in order to close the skills gap.

David Webb is CEO of 6point6, which is split into three prongs: digital transformation, emerging technology - including artificial intelligence - and cyber security.

He believes businesses should begin by protecting themselves with outside help, but in the long-term focus on building an in-house team.

“Our philosophy has always been that an organisation should be as self-sustaining as humanly possible,” said Webb.

“Where you don't have a cyber security capability, reaching out to specialist expertise in the short term is a must. Long term, organisations must be investing some money into their own in-house capability.

“There's nobody better than your staff in understanding where the business is and protecting the business.”

David Webb

Webb points to universities as a great source of new talent which can be nurtured to help close the skills gap and better protect the business in the long run.

“There are lots of great courses in the universities at the moment pushing cyber security, preparing a lot of young talent coming into the sector,” he said.

“It's a great place to start and we're expecting more of that to be pushed out over the coming years.

“You need to take those graduates and give them real-life experience - and that does take a while.”

Webb predicts that a shortage of cyber security professionals could continue for five to 10 years, but businesses with a clear long- and short-term cyber security roadmap are best protected.

“Between [in-house and external cybersecurity forces] collaborating together, it gives a really valuable weapon in the business' arsenal,” he said.

The company, founded in 2012, saw 27 per cent growth last year and has projected 30 per cent growth for the year ahead.

Over the next two years it plans major expansion across all three of its business units.