Time for a new direction and a role in cyber security?
The global pandemic is having a big impact on the working world, with unemployment set to increase. Many with jobs are keen to continue working from home. Meanwhile, the demand for cyber security expertise remains high. Is it time to consider a move to a new role?
Impact of the pandemic on the world of work
After the furlough ends the Bank of England estimates that unemployment will increase to just over 3m people. Currently there appears to be a reluctance for people to return to their offices, with the UK (and London in particular) currently having the lowest returners to offices in Europe.
Conversations with clients predict that 60% of workers that have been home working want to stay there as they find it stimulating and productive. September is a pencilled-in return date for our clients. Many are parents with children returning to school, and who with hope that their support networks, friends and family might resume as they did before.
Cyber security trends
There were 364,000 cases of fraud reported in 2019, the highest number ever recorded by Cifas, almost 1,000 a day. Increasingly facilitated online, many targets are, perhaps, those less computer aware, as well those working from home outside the cocoon of the corporate office.
Cifas chief intelligence officer, Nick Downing, said, “The steady increase in fraudulent conduct over the last few years provides us with a stark warning that we must start taking this threat seriously. We all need to take a step back and consider how we can change our behaviours.”
Hence, whilst job opportunities will look scarce, demand in cyber for technical level operators and management remains buoyant in our ever increasingly digitised economy.
Over the last twelve months salaries have increased on average by 5% and whilst recession in 2020 might dampen overall wage inflation, this sector will grow and competition for talent will be competitive.
Cyber Security Roles
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Cyber preparedness sits in an increasing convergence with physical security. Headed up by a Chief Security Officer (CSO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), corporations seek to protect themselves in an increasingly hostile space. Boards require educated experience around a layered delivery.
It is a strategic role, for individuals who are able to articulate the problem with a set of solutions that are costed. There has been a to-ing and fro-ing in this space which will continue ad infinitum.
Merger and Acquisition activities can leave room for only one person in this role, with possibly the other subject matter expert subjugated in the structure.
Salary range: £115,000 to £215,000 with the average at £145,000.
Head of Cyber Security
This is the person in an organisation responsible for evaluating potential vulnerabilities, detecting underway attacks and informing management, customers and law enforcement if breaches occur. They are also responsible for ensuring the security compliance of external vendors and partners.
The Head of Cyber Security is the first responder and should be professionally certified, as insurers will want this assurance. A good point of reference is the professional association, ISACA.
Salary range: £85,000 to £160,000 with the average at £125,500.
Lead Security Consultant
Security Consultants are advisors, guides and all-round security experts hired to develop strategies for effective security across an entire organisation. There is a good crossover from forensic investigators. In the cyber role they are expected to perform vulnerability tests, research security standards, ensure the organisation is compliant and deliver technical reports for non-technical employees. The role should report on the appropriate response to any incursion in the IT space and development of robust policies.
Salary range: £52,500 to £110,000 with the average at £80,000.
White Hats, Ethical Hackers, Hunters
For entry-level analysts with a coding capability, A level or BTEC level 3, there can be a commencing salary of up to £35,000. White Hats / Hunters can expect £60,000 p.a. and Ethical Hackers managing a team, £90,000 p.a. with twice-yearly reviews.
Salary range: £40,000 to £110,000 with the average at £75,000.
Are you match fit?
If you are considering a move to a new role, cyber or otherwise, are you ready? Now is the time to prepare yourself for whatever comes next:
- Undertake a self-analysis, understand your skills and identify possible weaknesses.
- Join webinars and upskill yourself.
- Review your public profile on social media.
- Produce a CV that is your generic self but be prepared to change your personal statement that highlights you for the role you are applying for. Share your CV with a former boss for their opinion.
- Look for free CV formats and choose the one for you.
Peter French MBE