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Australians must rapidly upskill to defend against emerging cyber-threats

The country faces a looming skills shortage in cyber security

  • 18,000 additional cybersecurity experts needed in Australia by 2026
  • Recent attacks on corporates show developing nature of threat 


Melbourne, Tuesday 23 June - Australian businesses and public sector organisations are at risk of being exposed to escalating cyber threats unless we rapidly upskill our cybersecurity workforce, leading cybersecurity training organisation RMIT Online has warned. 

The warning comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison identified Australia as the target of major organised cyber attacks emanating from a sophisticated state-based actor. 

Australia faces a looming skill shortage, with an estimated 18,000 additional cybersecurity professionals required to ensure Australia’s digital security by 2026. RMIT Online CEO Helen Souness said that Australia’s digital security capability was crucial for businesses to pursue accelerated digital transformation plans in a post-COVID environment. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen rapid digitisation across the economy. As businesses transform, security will become increasingly important for a larger number of organisations.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen rapid digitisation across the economy. As businesses transform, security will become increasingly important for a larger number of organisations.” 

“Attacks in recent weeks on private businesses have shown that targets for cyber attacks are not limited to public sector bodies and critical infrastructure organisations.” 

“As more organisations embrace work-from-home and engage distributed teams, the need for cybersecurity experts to secure distributed networks will increase.”

“Not-for-profit body AustCyber has identified a critical shortage of nearly 18,000 people in our cybersecurity skills. We need to train more cybersecurity specialists, educate organisational leaders in the importance of cybersecurity and ensure that these skills remain up to date as threats evolve.” 

RMIT Online launched a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity in May, which trains IT professionals to become cybersecurity specialists. It accompanies the Future Skills short course for organisational leaders, developed in partnership with industry leaders Palo Alto Networks and National Australia Bank. 

RMIT University has established the Cyber Ready Cloud Innovation Centre in partnership with Amazon Web Services to expose large numbers of students across the University to cybersecurity issues through innovation challenges. Students work on technical and business model challenges focused on building cyber awareness and resilience in public and private sector organisations.

The Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity runs over 9 months, and is fully accredited by RMIT University. Find out more about RMIT Online at


About RMIT Online

RMIT Online was created by RMIT University to provide a world-class digital learning experience at the nexus of business, design and technology, leaning into future of work needs to equip students with in-demand skills and qualifications. RMIT Online teams up with industry thought leaders and experts to deliver the best in flexible education using the latest digital tools and technologies for a highly interactive, virtual cohort experience. RMIT Online is dedicated to achieving its mission of future-ready careers and creating a “community of lifelong learners, successfully navigating the world of work”.

About the RMIT Cyber Ready Cloud Innovation Centre

The RMIT Cyber Ready Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC), powered by AWS, has been established to enable students to collaborate with the public sector and business to tackle real-world cyber challenges with innovative cloud computing approaches and emerging technology. The Cyber Ready CIC is based in the university’s home of innovation, RMIT Activator, and leverages knowledge and expertise from its leading academic programs and hubs such as the Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation, the Health Transformation Lab and the Blockchain Innovation Hub.


This article was originally published on 23 June 2020