The threat is clear and present. Since 2012, the amount of Internet-based attacks and their complexity have continued to increase, according to the 2014 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec. It’s more vital than ever for companies to invest in the cybersecurity necessary to ward of potential attacks on sensitive information. HR professionals and hiring managers have never faced a more immediate need for a greater pipeline of cybersecurity professionals.
In light of the recent disturbing news that Russian hackers had amassed 1.2 billion user credentials (email addresses and passwords), a survey we conducted back in March bears revisiting. We surveyed 126 cybersecurity employees (split almost equally between the government/defense and private sectors) to help assess both the current need for tech professionals with security expertise and the employment criteria that can help attract talent to this emerging tech field.
Some of the more interesting findings from the survey were the motivators that drive tech professionals to a life of fighting cyber crime. For instance, what keeps cybersecurity employees enthusiastic and engaged? The answers (in order of importance) were meaningful work, being challenged, belief that their skills are being used for good, providing security for U.S. citizens and potential for advancement.
Of course, retaining top cybersecurity talent is also paramount. What are the reasons an employer’s cybersecurity pros remains on the job? Not surprisingly, compensation is king. But there are a number of other factors that ensure cybersecurity employee retention. In order of importance, these include fair compensation, good benefits and perks, high job satisfaction, opportunity for professional development/training and dislike for looking for a new job.
Other survey findings indicated loud and clear that corporate America is poised to fight back. Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed agreed that continuous monitoring of employees with privileged access to secure networks is necessary and 44% agreed that a shortage (in cybersecurity professionals) is leading to unprecedented, wide-scale network disruption in America.
If recent security breaches are only the initial crimes whereby the cyberworld and underworld collide, it’s clearly time to shine a beacon into the night sky for the next wave of cyber superheroes. At colleges across America that’s happening as degree programs equip tomorrow’s tech professionals with skills like network defense and security design.
As sure as there will always be bad guys attempting to steal data, there will always be a need for determined heroes trying to thwart their evil deeds. Now it’s incumbent on employers to identify and attract them.