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Cybersecurity: Epicenter for new job market

September 26, 2013

The rapidly evolving market for advanced IT services is enabling firms to take advantage of numerous opportunities that promise to give them a competitive edge over other enterprises. While the use of cloud, social media, mobile and other tools will improve the job market as decision-makers seek individuals with the skills necessary to leverage next-generation technologies, the proliferation of these platforms will drive one professional market forward: cybersecurity.

While internal IT training programs can help technology professionals become familiar with next-generation technologies, the fact is that executives are turning to people outside of their organization to protect confidential assets in an increasingly complex IT environment. This is primarily because the consumerization of IT is the driving force behind many endeavors in the enterprise. As a result, why wouldn't companies turn to the people who use advanced solutions the most?

A recent Damballa study highlighted how the risk landscape is becoming more sophisticated by the year, as roughly 75 percent of active infections can easily avoid detection by traditional security practices. In many cases, employees who were raised in the old ways of data security will have trouble ditching outdated methods for data protection for newer, more effective processes. For this reason, among others, enterprises are looking for new hires to improve the overall integrity of critical IT network services.

Highlighting a recent Burning Glass International study, the Wall Street Journal noted that the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing 3.5 times faster than the overall IT job market. This trend has been driven by the need to defend against complex attacks that bombard platforms that are relatively new in the workplace. In many cases, this includes mobile and social applications that have become more common in younger offices.

Burning Glass CEO Matthew Sigelman said that there are only a few other job categories that are close to having the momentum behind cybersecurity.

"While defense contractors and large IT firms continue to make up a considerable share of the demand for cybersecurity talent, much of the growth in demand we are witnessing is driven by a more diversified range of businesses, reflecting the widening focus on data by firms across the board," Sigelman said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "In fact, we have seen over 100 percent growth in demand for cybersecurity professionals within healthcare, education and public administration since 2007, and continued strong demand within retail."

After all, the cybercriminals are not necessarily after only a single market. Instead, malicious outsiders will often attack several agencies, find the weakest one and target its sensitive information, abandoning the other attempts.

Embracing the new norm
The fact is, the threat landscape is becoming increasingly complicated. A recent report by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that cybercrime costs the U.S. economy roughly $100 billion every year, while the malicious activity may have a global impact up to five times that number. The report also found that cybercrime may cause the loss of more than 500,000 American jobs. For this reason, logic dictates that combating these complications with advanced cybersecurity practices will not only restore the economy in a financial sense, but will also create—or at least eliminate the destruction of—jobs.

Standardized security tactics will not necessarily help organizations fend off cybercriminals that have already adapted to the evolving IT landscape. Companies need to recognize that people are a renewable source of innovation, as employees can continue to learn and reconstruct best practices over time. This constantly shifting data protection strategy will enable organizations to develop unique processes that can prevent cybercriminals from using the same attacks that may have worked on other businesses.

Enterprise IT talent management strategies are beginning to prioritize the recruitment of workers who are experienced in dealing with newer threat formations. As a result, the cybersecurity job market is rapidly expanding with both large and small companies looking to hire new employees.

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