For many in the technology sector, one of the most discussed topics in recent months has been digital fraud and online security. This is an area in which I have a great deal of interest, as it continues to play a significant role in the demand for specialist skills in the Financial Services & Banking Sectors.
To give some background to the recent dialog around online security, it is important to consider the technology in place and the developments being made in the 'electronic offerings' of various financial institutions. In 2013 we saw a significant increase in both supply and demand for technology that enables the consumer to access bank accounts and make payments. This is something that shows no sign of slowing down, bringing with it the prediction that the death of the credit or debit card may indeed be imminent; with gadgets & technology taking their place completely in the near future. While that is something that in itself sounds like a great step forward, we have already seen a number of flaws starting to appear.
Notable examples of digital security's limitations came as NatWest suffered a 'cyber-attack' in December, as well as the recent headline that 'One in four UK consumers have had online accounts hacked'. The news earlier this month of Barclays' customer data being stolen and sold came as just the latest in a series of headlines within this common theme. In fact there have been a number of headlines popping up with some regularity concerning security breaches of numerous online banking and ecommerce systems, which have led many to conclude that overall there is a great need for improved security measures across the board for UK businesses and financial institutions in general.
The interesting development that we started to see in the last twelve months from an employment perspective has been the demand for skills in the areas of online security, and the prevention of digital fraud in the area of Financial Services. Skills in this relatively new and indeed ever changing area are not necessarily easy for employers to come by, though a number of industries with transferrable personnel have come to light. We have started to see a number of professionals from areas such as online gaming and mobile telephony, for example, who have made the switch to Financial Services, bringing with them a highly transferrable set of skills and specialist experience. This is an occurrence that has happened with some regularity, to the extent that one has to question how this might impact on the Financial Services sector in the future. Surely if the professionals required to fill these vital roles are coming from different sectors, we will start to see these sectors begin to counter this in order to keep their best digital security people, as Financial Services moves to catch up with them.
Much has been made of the 'Skills Gap' in many areas of the technology sector over the last twelve months, which makes the situation of digital security in Financial Services all the more interesting. In essence we are not seeing a skills gap here, we are in fact seeing a skills demand met by an unusual supply of transferrable personnel from a range of different industry areas.
Looking ahead, I am sure that we will continue to see much debate around the topic of digital security in financial services, but hopefully with this we will start to see fewer examples of its limitations and some great steps towards improved security for the consumer.