24 July 2018 by Spencer Symmons
In the age of information, every click counts. A click-through from a convincing email prompting a password reset; a double-tap on an appealing ad riddled with malicious code; an innocent trip to a seemingly safe website. These actions don’t seem like much, but it only takes one misleading link to unlock the door to your organisation’s entire network.
As our digital capabilities have drastically expanded, so too has our vulnerability. In fact, since 2013 alone, 3,809,448 records have been stolen through data breaches every day: that’s 158,727 per hour, 2,645 per minute and 44 every second of every day.
While some still shrug off cybersecurity as an unnecessary expenditure, most organisations have accepted that no one is immune to the threat of a cyber attack - not multinationals, not government officials and certainly not SMEs. In this ever-evolving threat landscape, the best we can do is recruit the top talent in the field, to safeguard our businesses from both financial and reputational damage.
However, when it comes to hiring an Information Security professional, most of us aren’t exactly sure what it is we should be looking for. CVs awash with technical jargon may flood our inboxes, yet determining which candidate to trust with this monumental task, presents a challenge in itself.
If you’re searching for the right cybersecurity professional to defend your network, the following traits should act as the signposts of a successful candidate.
With the speed at which new threats appear and evolve, Information Security experts must always stay one step ahead of black hat hackers; they must be well versed in the latest advisories, threat vectors, solutions, and mitigation techniques. Anyone who gets too comfortable can quickly become outdated, leaving their organisation vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated attacks. Beyond listing the latest trends in an interview, a successful candidate in this lightning fast-paced field can anticipate threats associated with emerging technologies and identify peak times for particular attacks.
In a landscape characterised by constant change, knowledge of the tricks, tactics and techniques used by cyber-criminals will be an Information Security expert’s greatest asset, in protecting the organisation from a breach.
With this in mind, the dream candidate in this profession has a proven passion for learning; they are curious by nature and are eager to know their enemy inside out. Often, the best InfoSec professionals are those who can adopt a hacker's mentality in order to better understand the potential pain points within the organisation’s security profile.
Technical capabilities can be taught. Organisations need experts who don’t panic under pressure, they need critical thinkers who can quickly determine the best course of action in a challenging situation. In the face of threat, the best cybersecurity professionals can think on their feet and implement effective solutions in a risk-based approach before evaluating the outcome. Screening candidates for their ability to identify a problem, suggest various options and select the best approach should help to filter your search to only the most dynamic experts on the list.
Cyber-security is no longer an IT-only issue. Today, the Information Security expert plays a pivotal role in communicating risks and challenges to C-level executives and ensuring senior management teams implement relevant security guidelines. Excellent written and oral communication skills should never be underestimated as the ideal InfoSec professional will have to convey their messages in both technical and non-technical terms depending on their audience.
Of course, finding a candidate who boasts the perfect balance of hard and soft skills (not to mention experience) is rare. However, when it comes to sourcing a cyber-security expert to protect your business from a breach, it’s best not to settle for someone you can’t totally trust.
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