Skip to Content
Sarah Pavelek
October 25, 2016 Article 2 min read
As cybersecurity threats rise, you must look further than IT credentials when hiring the professionals charged with keeping your data safe.

 Image of people working

As our daily lives and our businesses become increasingly data driven, the threats to our cybersecurity continue to rise. According to a new report by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout, data breaches increased 40 percent in 2016 versus 2015.

Hiring a professional to keep your data safe is a logical move, but finding genuine cybersecurity talent goes beyond mere IT credentials.

A demonstrated ability to think critically and find creative solutions is essential — and these qualities often aren’t married to IT credentials. 

Here are five things to consider when hiring cybersecurity talent.

  1. People, process, & technology
    When it comes to cybersecurity, assessing risk and understanding business processes while effectively interacting with people are just as important as the actual technology. To correctly assess the risks facing your IT environment, the right hire needs to have a good blend of abstract and critical thinking skills and the ability to successfully engage a multitude of individuals in risk-based discussions.
  2. Think outside the box
    When looking for a good cybersecurity hire, only focusing on a candidate’s IT background may be a recipe for disappointment. While a technical background is certainly important, a demonstrated ability to think critically and find creative solutions is essential — and these qualities often aren’t married to IT credentials. Consider people with backgrounds in psychology, law, engineering, or teaching. Remember, in order to beat a hacker, you have to be able to think like a hacker. During the hiring process, focus more on the skills than the degree.
  3. Be attractive
    With so many businesses needing to secure their data successfully, the demand for effective cybersecurity professionals is high. So how do you make your company attractive to cybersecurity talent?

    Be creative with benefits packages and non-monetary perks, such as flexible work schedules, provided lunches, or even bring-your-dog-to-work day. Showing these types of hires you recognize and embrace their diverse backgrounds goes a long way in terms of instilling a sense of loyalty to your business.
  4. Keep talent engaged
    By nature, cybersecurity professionals are inquisitive and attracted to different daily challenges. Given the high demand for their skills, they’ll look elsewhere if not properly engaged.

    Be sure to provide regular education opportunities, such as conferences, certifications, or classes, ideally multiple times throughout the year. Consider cross-training opportunities within your business to stimulate excitement (and learning) about all facets of your organization. Providing mentors and on-the-job training are also good investments, especially when it comes to retaining less experienced hires. Remember, the more positive interactions you can create between your company and your cybersecurity personnel, the better.
  5. Opt for the right third-party firm
    But what if the expertise you need simply isn’t available in the labor pool? Hiring a cybersecurity firm is a good alternative. Be sure to partner with a firm that has high staff retention rates, appropriate certifications, and good client satisfaction ratings. These key items will help maximize the likelihood of success in creating an effective cybersecurity program for your organization.