By Steve McCaskill
BT is embarking on a cyber-security recruitment drive to help its consumer and business divisions protect customers from threats and to address a major skill shortage in the field.
The company wants to employ 900 cyber-security professionals, including 170 graduates and apprentices, who will be trained at the BT Security Academy in areas such as physical security, penetration testing, threat intelligence, risk management, security operations and sales.
Most of the positions will be in the United Kingdom, at BT's operations centers in London, Sevenoaks and Cardiff, but others will be located in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
"A number of high-profile security and data breaches have dominated the headlines in recent months, and this has led to a surge in interest from both consumers and IT departments wanting to know how best they can protect themselves in the digital world," said Mark Hughes, President of BT Security.
"BT plans to remain at the forefront, innovating in cybersecurity, by hiring some of the best talent while training up the next generation of experts at our BT Security Academy."
BT already employs 2,500 security staff and offers a range of products to its home, business and public sector customers. These range from parental controls and antivirus software to more complex systems used by banks and governments.
For example, last year it agreed to a partnership with the Mike Lynch-backed Darktrace and also offers ethical hacking services to certain industries, allowing companies to identify vulnerabilities and weak spots in their IT infrastructure.
A cyber-security skills shortage has long been recognized and lamented by the IT industry, which cannot find enough staff and is forced to pay higher salaries for experts that are highly sought after.