Nour Al Ali (Bloomberg) -- In its bid to make the United Arab Emirates city the "safest electronic city in the world,” the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) is looking to expand its Emirati-only workforce by 50 percent this year.
The center, which has a budget of millions of dollars, monitors and researches potential electronic incidents that may affect governmental institutes. To do that, the relatively new center, established in 2014, is looking to hire 30 more people, totaling to about 90 people in its workforce.
"We want to look for U.A.E. nationals because we believe in the national resource,” said Amer Sharaf, director of compliance support and alliances at DESC, in an interview. Foreigners will only work in a consultant capacity, he added. "It’s 100 percent U.A.E. nationals. We are proud of that and want to keep it like that.”
As cybersecurity concerns grow in the region, Dubai has been on high alert. DESC has been focusing on ensuring the security of transport and energy sectors, especially following the "Shamoon 2" virus that targeted government agencies and companies in Saudi Arabia. Dubai has had no recorded incidents of the virus, Sharaf said.
Some Dubai government institutes faced email phishing attempts, and other small incidents in the last six months, Sharaf said, declining to elaborate further.
DESC is only just beginning to seek publicity, via sponsoring conferences and participating in round tables and career fairs. They are looking to hire individuals with a cybersecurity and forensics background, Sharaf explained. Women account for 35 percent of its workforce.
Finding the appropriate national workforce may prove difficult. "We feel we can do more,” Sharaf said. "There is kind of a shortage. Graduates are coming, but they don’t have hands-on experience,” he said, explaining that they are working alongside universities and Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority to put together a curriculum to familiarize potential employees with cybersecurity concepts.
DESC has been researching technologies that currently lack regulation such as cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, and block-chain. It also plans to introduce a cybersecurity strategy for Dubai sometime this month, Sharaf said. It will be rolled out to their government stakeholders, he said, declining to provide further information.