Looking for a career in cybersecurity? Well you’re in demand - provided you get in there before the robots do.
Oliver Tattersall, head of the German cyber and information security team at Franklin Fitch, believes that the majority of small and medium-sized businesses are vastly underprepared for the threat of a cyberattack and are leaving themselves open to billions of pounds/euros of financial damage. Whether it’s a lack of funding or ignorance that it won’t happen to them, the need for skilled cybersecurity specialists has never been greater.
“There is a distinct lack of awareness of cybersecurity in SMEs,” says Oliver, adding that even if the awareness was there, there is the added complication of finding people with the right skills. “It’s a very candidate-short market at the moment, particularly in cybersecurity, and this is making it very hard to find the right people.”
The potential damage from an attack is huge
Failing to implement the right cybersecurity measures can have a devastating impact on a company that falls victim to an attack both financially and in terms of reputational damage. While allocating funds for appropriate security at a time when many companies are cutting spending is not ideal – the average mid-sized company spends tens or even hundreds of thousands on cybersecurity - the outlay is small by comparison to the damage that could be caused.
So, what cybersecurity-related skills are most in demand and how can potential specialists get the job they want and help these companies stave off an attack?
“Candidates need to be able to communicate, get stakeholders on board, be hungry for knowledge and have good technical skills,” says Oliver.
Companies need to innovate to attract skilled workers
He is currently seeking to fill an array of cybersecurity roles in Germany, particularly in the areas of embedded security, defence analysts, cyber analysts and risk specialists. While he is quietly confident that eventually he will find the right person for each role, he also believes that German companies need to be prepared to be more flexible if they want to attract the best people. “There are many highly-skilled workers outside of Germany that could add great value to these companies,” he says, adding that now is the time to think outside the box when it comes to recruitment in order to attract the best talent.
In addition, Oliver believes there is an increased tendency nowadays for skills to cross over. It is harder to draw a line between the infrastructure and software sides, meaning that people with a certain skillset might now be able to carry out other jobs too.
How can AI help?
In the future Oliver believes that some of the pressure on the sector may be relieved by Artificial Intelligence (AI). “AI not only removes the human element, which is itself open to risk and manual error, but it can help to identify data and pinpoint where there’s a possible threat,” he says.
Already some cybersecurity companies are teaching AI systems to detect viruses and malware by using complex algorithms so AI can then run pattern recognition software. AI systems can also be used in situations of multi-factor authentication to provide access to their users. It is worth pointing out however that while AI may be great for processing large amounts of data or replacing autonomous manual tasks, it will never be able to replace a security analyst’s insight or understanding of a problem.
In reality, the likelihood is that jobs will change and while some of us may indeed end up working alongside an automated colleague, we will still be needed, but for alternative functions.
Anyone interested in a role in the cybersecurity space in Germany should contact Oliver by email at email@example.com.
by Claire Shoesmith
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