Addressing the Lack of Cybersecurity Workforces in Indonesia

August 25, 2019 8:42 am || By

According to the National Cyber Protection Body, from 2018 to 2019, Indonesia’s General Election Commission had been attacked by 28.8 million cyber-attack trials in total, such as Information Leakage and HTTP Parser Attack.[1] As the amount of cyber threats has sigificantly upsurged in this digital age, it is paramount for the relevant stakeholders to acknowledge the significance of this issue to consider the formulation of policies and future plans. In Indonesia alone, there have been more than 13 million cyber attacks this year,[2] which indicates the necessity of Indonesia to pay more attention to this 21st century’s security challenge. As a country with more than 170 million active internet users,[3] it is without doubt that the proliferation of this issue is inevitable, and therefore, adequate cybersecurity protection should be greatly improved.

Nonetheless, one of the main problems that occur amidst the protection efforts is the lack of adequate manpower in the field of cybersecurity.[4] Henceforth, this essay will discuss how higher education institutions in Indonesia should enhance the quality and quantity of the Department of Cybersecurity; thus, the number of officers with expertise in cybersecurity in companies and organizations could be increased – alongside the improvement of their skills and capabilities.

By taking into account Indonesia’s status quo that has cyber  attacks as one of its most prevalent issues, it is important to delve deeper into what makes Indonesia currently lacking manpower on the said sector. Despite the fact that there are more than 1.000 universities that possess the Department of Information & Technology (IT) – with more than 400.000 students, Indonesia still urgently needs more than 1.5 million cybersecurity experts or cyber armies in companies and organizations.[5]

This might be caused by the fact that there are only two Indonesian universities that provide a department specializing in cybersecurity insofar, which eventually makes the country left behind its neighboring Southeast Asian countries in terms of cybersecurity officers’ ratio. As a consequence, many companies have to recruit cybersecurity employees from Indonesia’s neighboring countries due to the lack of qualified cybersecurity experts locally,[6] which could actually limit the potentials of Indonesian people on the field of data protection.

According to numerous studies, a science of cybersecurity is necessary to provide principled techniques to build secure systems,[7] especially by considering the fact that being a cybersecurity requires an interdisciplinary approach and different skills than usual IT workforce.[8] Statistically speaking, most industries in the world are most likely to recruit people who possess a degree of formal education in the field of cybersecurity. Hence, in responding to the current shortage, a specific integrative approach generally offered by the Department of Cybersecurity is therefore necessary to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to prevent and mitigate cyber attacks. Integrative learning is an approach that urges the learners to dissect different concepts and contexts to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.[9]

The integrative approach per se could involve intelligence communities, government stakeholders, industries, and so forth, which would make the knowledge and skills’ transfer to create robust cyber defenses becoming more effective and comprehensive.[10] Through this integrative learning, students would most likely to develop their critical-thinking skills due to the multi-perspectives that are integrated in the learning process. Cybersecurity itself is a field of work that obliges critical-thinking and complex problem-solving skills to be incorporated in all of its works due to its practice-oriented nature, such as in data risk management, where the calculations of risk through multiple considerations shall be carried out prior to making decisions.

As the realm of cybersecurity is becoming more relevant nowadays and the significance of vigorous information security has peaked, Indonesia’s government needs to encourage the establishment of this department in formal education due to its increasing importance as a means of producing cybersecurity employees that are specialized and equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to work in varied industries.

Editor: Janitra Haryanto

Read another article written by Felice Valeria


[1] CNN Indonesia. (2019). BSSN Klasifikasi 28,8 Juta Serangan Siber ke KPU. [online] Available at: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20190712145801-185-411598/bssn-klasifikasi-288-juta-serangan-siber-ke-kpuhttps://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20190712145801-185-411598/bssn-klasifikasi-288-juta-serangan-siber-ke-kpu [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].

[2] Hidayat, M. (2019). Bagaimana Kondisi Keamanan Siber di Indonesia selama Kuartal Kedua 2019?. [online] Liputan6.com. Available at: https://www.liputan6.com/tekno/read/4013173/bagaimana-kondisi-keamanan-siber-di-indonesia-selama-kuartal-kedua-2019?related=dable&utm_expid=.9Z4i5ypGQeGiS7w9arwTvQ.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].

[3] Pratomo, Y. (2019). APJII: Jumlah Pengguna Internet di Indonesia Tembus 171 Juta Jiwa. [online] KOMPAS.com. Available at: https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2019/05/16/03260037/apjii-jumlah-pengguna-internet-di-indonesia-tembus-171-juta-jiwa [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].

[4] CNN Indonesia. (2018). Jurusan Keamanan Siber Masih Langka di Indonesia. [online] Available at: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20181218190002-192-354684/jurusan-keamanan-siber-masih-langka-di-indonesia [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].

[5] Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika RI. (2017). Darurat! Indonesia Butuh 1,5 Juta Ahli Keamanan Siber. [online] Available at: https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/9102/darurat-indonesia-butuh-15-juta-ahli-keamanan-siber/0/sorotan_media [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].

[6] CNN Indonesia. (2018). Jurusan Keamanan Siber Masih Langka di Indonesia. [online] Available at: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20181218190002-192-354684/jurusan-keamanan-siber-masih-langka-di-indonesia [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].

[7] Ryoo, J., Techatassanasoontorn, A., Lee, D., Lothian, J. (2011). Game-based InfoSec Education Using OpenSim. In : Proceedings of the 15th Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education. Fairborn, Ohio.

[8] LeClair, J., Abraham,S., Shih, L. (2013). An Interdisciplinary Approach to Educating an Effective Cybersecurity Workforce. Proceedings of the on InfoSecCD’ 13 Information Security Curriculum Development Conference

[9] Huber, M. T., Brown, C., Hutchings, P., Gale, R., Miller, R., Breen, B. (Eds.). (2007). Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect. Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

[10] Townsend, C. (n.d.). The Value of a Cybersecurity Degree – Should You Get One?. [online] United States Cybersecurity Magazine. Available at: https://www.uscybersecurity.net/cybersecurity-degree-worth-it/ [Accessed 24 Aug. 2019].