Palo Alto Networks helping to train Thai cybersecurity experts


California-based Palo Alto Networks has launched programs in partnership with two local universities to train a new generation of Thai cybersecurity professionals, and the news could not have come at a more opportune time.

A study released last week showed that Thailand is the most digitally disrupted market in the region, highlighting the fact that as the Kingdom advances its digital economy, it is also increasingly vulnerable to and a target of cyber attacks. The digital economy is central to Thailand 4.0, the nation’s advanced development plan, but some analysts have questioned whether the Kingdom has the human resources to achieve its goals.

“Cybersecurity will be a major factor in the success of Thailand 4.0. The shortage of cybersecurity talent is a global issue affecting all countries, not just Thailand,’’ said Ying Tongtavorn, Thailand country manager for Palo Alto Networks, a network security firm headquartered in Santa Clara, California. The company’s successful products include advanced firewalls and cloud-based firewalls.

To solve that shortage, Palo Alto is working with Bangkok University and Kasetsart University on curricula for training information technology and computer science students so that they have the capabilities needed when they graduate and are employed in a continually changing real-world environment.

“The Thailand 4.0 vision will require people to be innovators in their own right, tapping local knowledge and cultural nuances to embrace new technologies to propel the country towards more innovative, high-value industries,” Ying said.

“In Thailand, cybersecurity still focuses largely on securing the network. The need for end-to-end solutions that protect endpoint devices, the cloud, as well as the network, is not as well understood. The cybersecurity talent pool will need to develop to include specialists in a range of fields, such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and data science,’’ Ying added.

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society’s efforts to train as many people as possible in basic information and communication technology skills are good moves, she said. With the pace of change being both rapid and relentless, lifelong learning is a necessity these days for workers to remain valuable to employers.

As the digital economy is now a global phenomenon, up-and-coming Thai cybersecurity professionals will be in demand, she said, both at home and abroad and by local and global companies.