What do cyber-attacks mean for recruitment?

Cyber Security Recruitment header image

2017 is undoubtedly an important year for the cyber-security industry. Awareness of and concern over cyber-attacks was growing (albeit slowly) until the devastating WannaCry ransomware infected hundreds of organisations and hundreds-of-thousands of computers hit in May. With cyber-security now at the forefront of many organisations’ minds, what does that mean for the recruitment industry.

There have been many cyber-attacks – the first was the Morris Worm in 1988 – and there will be many more. But May’s ransomware outbreak that affected 150 countries and over 200,000 computers was one of the most severe on record, described as “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history” by Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsikni- based cybersecurity company F-Secure.

In Britain, the NHS was the worst hit with at least 16 health service organisations including hospitals and GP surgeries being affected by the attack. Retroactively fixing systems and software can remove viruses but proactively preventing the attacks is preferable and this is achieved in part through effective recruitment – as well as with support from good external agencies.

This recent attack has increased the focus on employing the right IT staff; there is undoubtedly going to be a boom in the recruitment of specialists in this area. And hiring these specialists requires an understanding of the roles, candidates and experience required to address these growing areas of concern.

Broadly speaking, there are six areas that IT staff in the cyber security world will work in. These are Threat Management & Forensics; Risk Analytics & Management; Policy Making & Strategy; Operations & Security Management; Engineering, Architecture & Design; Education, Training & Awareness.

To help you gain a better understanding, here’s a breakdown of 3 cyber-security-related job titles that you might be getting more demand for from your clients!

Cybersecurity Specialist

Perhaps the most obvious job title of the bunch, employees fulfilling these roles may work across the fields involved in cyber security and/or may have a specialism. It’s a relatively broad job title and the determining factor for their role is the hirer; depending on what they client is looking for, this job role could be looking for anything from a sole, in-house cyber-security tech whose job is to protect the company, through to a doctorate-educated cyber-security researcher to join a large team in an IT consultancy.

Network/Systems Administrator

Systems Administrators (or sysadmin, to give its technical name) is another broad role that may cover a few of the above areas. However, system administrators tend to oversee all systems within an organisation or one particular system within an organisation. They are generally tasked with keeping the system running, improving it where necessary and protecting it.

Penetration Tester (Pen Tester)

Pen Testers are a very specialist, niche bunch of people. They are also known as white hat hackers. Pen testers are hired to try to exploit (hack) new or existing software to discover vulnerabilities that need to be patched. The idea being that if you can pay an expert to find holes before you launch a product, there will be less chance of a criminal hacker (a black hat) finding a vulnerability later.