Cybersecurity – could you hack it?

2 Dec 2014

Cybersecurity is quite the hot topic at the moment, and that fact is bringing with it opportunities and challenges for jobs candidates, says Stephen Killilea of Hays.

Cybersecurity has increasingly become the hot topic within the IT infrastructure space over the last five years and the trend looks set to continue in 2015. In part, this has been the result of some high-profile data breaches in global businesses, such as Target, but the rise to prominence can also be linked to the increased risk to the commercial IT environment.

The commercial cybersecurity world has recently been faced with new challenges, such as BYOD (bring your own device) to the workplace and the continuing trend of business entities migrating their databases to the cloud. The challenges facing cybersecurity don’t stop there. As the internet of things continues to become more and more prominent in everyday life, the risk to confidential business data grows daily. These changes have resulted in a growing rate of cyber-hacking towards organisations’ databases and the cybersecurity industry is predicted to grow exponentially over the next five years.

Now that cybersecurity has become more prominent in the IT industry, what does this mean for candidates seeking employment and companies looking to recruit in this area?

Pros and cons of employment in cybersecurity

The quick rise to prominence has proven to be a double-edged sword for both candidates and companies that work in cybersecurity. The positive for candidates with IT security skills is the increasing number of job opportunities. The downside is that many of the skills that were traditionally in demand in this area are now dormant and no longer relevant to the cybersecurity industry. The industry has shifted from traditional IT security forensics to a stage where it is now nearly solely focussed on real-time prevention and identification of cybersecurity attacks.

Ireland is increasingly becoming a worldwide hub of cloud technologies and social media. IT superpowers, such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, have a growing focus on cybersecurity to protect their cloud environments. In addition to this, global cybersecurity leaders, such as FireEye, have invested heavily in Dublin. The demand for security engineers and security analysts continues to rise, but the availability of candidates with the relevant skill set remains low in Ireland.

Robin Farrell, head of security operations for FireEye Inc, explained the challenge in recruiting cybersecurity candidates in Ireland. FireEye built a Security Operations Centre in Dublin in 2013 and as a result of the company’s continuing growth, it needed to recruit between 10 and 20 cybersecurity professionals to counter the surge in advanced malicious threat actors. The challenge FireEye faced in the process of sourcing candidates for its expansion was finding security analysts who understand today’s threat landscape, in addition to emerging threats. This niche requirement led FireEye to look in Ireland and overseas for a number of its new staff.

Cybersecurity skills needed

So is Ireland addressing the cybersecurity skills shortage? Farrell highlighted the excellent work some of the local universities have undertaken in developing candidates. The continuing development of graduates in key areas, such as understanding APT (advanced persistant threat) methodologies, are essential in bridging the skills gap.

Here at Hays, we are seeing the continued growth in the IT security sector with, on average, two security-related jobs registered each month. Globally, the cybersecurity industry is predicted to be valued at US$155bn by 2019 and there is an exceptional opportunity for Ireland to remain at the centre of a huge industry.

With the identification of Regin recently, it’s clear Ireland is at risk both politically and economically to cybersecurity threats. A focus on training the next generation of cybersecurity experts will not only enhance Ireland’s economic growth but it will protect our national interests.

There is an outstanding opportunity for anyone looking to expand or start their career by learning the skill set for cybersecurity as the opportunities it will present will be innumerable.

Stephen Killilea

If you are passionate about cybersecurity and are interested in working for a global leader in this industry, you can visit FireEye, which is a Featured Employer on Current job opportunities at FireEye include NOC analysts and software engineer in Dublin and Cork.

Stephen Killilea is a senior recruitment consultant at Hays, specialising in the recruitment of IT infrastructure and support staff.

Cybersecurity concept image via Shutterstock

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