Cyberattacks on large companies such as Sony and Equifax have shown that no one is immune to malicious cyber activity. With demand high for qualified professionals, filling cyber security positions has become a major challenge for companies worldwide.  According to a report by cyber security firm McAfee, there will be a global shortfall of 1-2 million cyber security jobs by 2020, while ISACA reports that 27% of companies in the United States are unable to fill their cyber security openings. Here’s how to ensure that your organization can attract and retain top cyber security talent in an era of increasing cyber threats.

Maximize brand exposure

It’s essential for qualified candidates to be exposed not only to the job openings you provide, but to your work culture and brand as well.  While a presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit) and professional networks such as LinkedIn is paramount, companies should also be active on specialized forums such as Information Security Forum, in addition to maintaining a strong presence at cyber security conferences and events where skilled specialists tend to congregate. Proper content and digital marketing tools can be leveraged to highlight your company’s projects, positioning yourself as a top employer for cyber security talent.

 

Provide training and Certification Opportunities

A high salary may not be enough to entice or keep skilled workers onboard. Cyber security professionals commanded an average income of $116,000 in 2016, almost three times the national average. Despite these earnings, more than 209,000 cyber security openings were not filled, according to the Peninsula Press, with demand expected to further grow by 53% until 2018.  Professionals in other IT positions, such as network and systems analysts, can be transitioned into cyber security roles through appropriate in-house training or outside partnerships. If your budget is tight, free courses such as those provided by Cybrary can be found online. Providing support and incentives for employees who can attain a cyber security degree or certification will also go a long way towards increasing their sense of achievement and loyalty to the company.

 

Increase Gamification

Companies have been increasingly using videogame software to create competitive programs that help identify gaps in security networks, educate staff about cyber security issues and recruit new talent. Digital Guardian created a program called Data Defender to engage users in data security programs that alter daily security routines in an effort to prevent data loss. The U.K.-based organization Cyber Security Challenge hosts annual competitions using CyPhinx, a game environment where participants interact amongst themselves as well as with industry experts in a virtual reality world to solve data security problems. Participants are evaluated on their technical capacity, teamwork and communications skills and may have a job waiting for them at the end of the competition. Global consulting firm PwC created Game of Threats, a simulator for staff and clients that teaches users how to respond to cyberattacks. Gamification can be a fun and highly effective way to simultaneously change behavior that compromises data security while educating stakeholders to identify and deal with cyber security threats.

 

Create partnerships with universities

Nurturing young talent through student internships and collaborative research projects is a great way to fill job postings on a long-term basis.   Outreach between companies and universities can help faculty to stay in touch with current market demands and tailor their curriculums to consider real-world problems in a way that adequately prepares students for the marketplace. On-campus events such as hackathons and coding competitions which are geared towards cyber security issues and challenges can be a talent-revelation bonanza for recruiters looking to identify future interns and employees.

 

Provide optimal working conditions

In such a competitive labor market, sometimes the little things can help candidates to make up their minds when there are several offers on the table. Providing employees with a good benefits package in addition to perks such as free snacks, recreational activities or standup desks also shows that the company values their well-being and comfort and go a long way towards increasing productivity and decreasing employee turnover.

 

Make Cyber Security part of your Business Strategy

According to management consulting firm McKinsey, many CEO’s and C-suite executives have been increasingly engaged with security personnel when making important decisions.  In line with the growing importance of IT in business models, investing in AI and machine learning tools can automate many basic security tasks and free up cyber security employees to do more challenging and transformational work on digital security infrastructure.

 

Get help from the Pros

At HuntSource we are committed to helping companies pinpoint the most qualified cyber security professionals as well as providing full spectrum information security project services. Understanding that traditional recruiting methodologies have been unable to bridge the supply and demand gap for workers in cyber security, HuntSource leverages technology-driven solutions with expert knowledge of the IT and cyber security markets to optimize placement for technical staff and increase organizational cyber security.

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