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Could you be part of Ireland’s army of cyber security experts?

14 Sep 2017

With cyber-attacks becoming more and more of a global threat and concern growing for businesses worldwide, the importance of cyber security cannot be underestimated. Nor can the ever increasing need for cyber security experts!

Growth of new malware, ransomware on the rise and people ignoring the hazards of phishing emails have all contributed to the need to focus on cybersecurity. We are all familiar with recent high-profile Ransomware attacks and data breaches. Worryingly, nearly half of all companies who have suffered a cyber-attack have hesitated to make changes due to a lack of budget to make the changes or even more alarming, a lack of knowledge amongst their staff.  

Thankfully we here in Ireland, home to the world’s Top 5 worldwide software security companies and an already established cybersecurity ecosystem, are already making strides in promoting ourselves as a centre for cybersecurity. We have a booming technology and business hub, with more than 1,200 multinationals, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Dell, having significant operations in the country. We are currently ranked the second highest country in the world in advertising security roles. However, the demand far outstrips the supply pointing to a worrying shortage of talent available to fill specialist roles.

The more businesses online, the more demand that will generate for cyber security professionals as more laws and compliance will be introduced to protect businesses from cyber threats.  This is a complex industry in itself, albeit a very rewarding one. There is now a massive proliferation of security focused roles, as companies scramble to catch up and do everything they can to protect their customers and reputations. 

There is a wide spectrum of  roles that are currently in demand including:

  • Cyber security consultant
  • SOC/malware analysts
  • Ethical hackers
  • Penetration Testers
  • Network security Engineers
  • Information Security engineers
  • IT Auditors
  • GRC consultants

For those thinking of switching tracks and getting into cyber-security, there are several paths. In a “poacher turned gamekeeper” kind of way, the thing that will make you good at security is that you are great at something else first. It’s a mix of skills, eg. become a master of the fundamentals of data networks, be an expert at administering multiple operating systems or be proficient at multiple scripting languages (Python, Bash, etc).

If you are already in the field, then my best advice is to then spend time studying up on network security, dealing with endpoint hygiene, or whatever is related to the work you’re already doing. You will find that the transition becomes a lot easier.

Qualifications

There are various certifications you can obtain in security, depending on the direction you want to focus on, there are different certifications that align with it. The below certifications are the most recognised by companies in Ireland:

  • OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project)
  • OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)
  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)
  • CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)

It is easy to see why IT professionals are making a move into this space. For several reasons, cyber-security can command high salaries and attractive benefits. In addition, the ever-changing technology and the interesting, challenging and meaningful work that a cyber security career provides is a natural draw for the ever inquisitive IT professional. 

This is a dynamic industry within IT and quite honestly, it seems like a really cool space to be in. Knowing that you are the front line in protecting your company from attacks and trying to keep ahead of the hackers! It’s like a game of chess to a certain degree. As the threats get more and more clever and complex, so will the landscapes for these individuals in IT security.