Geopolitical volatility as well as heavily divided camps that represent different interests at a national level, coupled with more connectivity than ever before all lead to one consequence: increased cybersecurity threat levels. Such is the seriousness of cybersecurity risk that companies like Tesla are said to pay hackers between $2000 and $15,000 to carry out a penetration test. The leading cybersecurity training companies in the US are gearing up to produce enough consultants to help tackle the rising threats.
Why is there such a huge problem with cybersecurity?
The US government and businesses want to protect its intellectual property. It also wants other governments to provide equal and fair access to their markets. In some countries, for example China, the government and business are essentially sharing the same interest. This means that when businesses in such countries identify a threat or want to act underhandedly, they may well have the support of cyber divisions in various government agencies. It is more complex since countries are competing at all levels. When Apple receives more orders than Huawei, the US government receives more income tax – whereas in the case of Huawei, the Chinese government gains directly from increased sales. Apply this to electric vehicles, medical devices, PCs and a string of other appliances –it becomes clear why cyberwarfare is an issue not only for government, but also for business. It also illustrates why every industry needs to deal with this phenomenon right now.
Containing the threat of cybersecurity is complex but necessary:
Besides the impact this will have on governments and the response they need to prepare, businesses are more proactive than ever, authorizing larger budgets to be ahead of the game. Containing the threat involves a combination of cybersecurity training, recruitment to fill key job roles, regular penetration testing – and better system design. Yet this is a relatively new function for many small businesses, which raises the question: will the HR department be able to fill the void? Unlikely, which only points in one direction: increased cost.
Why cybersecurity may become one of the best-paid jobs in the US:
Already cybersecurity consultants command excellent fees for their services. Yet expenses related to this this is a confidential activity in many organizations, understandably so. Therefore, the budget companies spend on cybersecurity far exceeds what payroll data may allude to. When assessing the best-paid positions in the US, analysts often use payroll statistics of large organizations and government. For example, the LinkedIn economist, Guy Berger, pointed out that careers such as orthopedic surgeons and senior directors of engineering were among the best-paid positions in the US. While this is true on paper, there are many niche careers where freelance consultants provide invoices to multiple clients. These astronomical bills that often reflect $1000/hour consulting gigs, go unnoticed. Examples include experts in cybersecurity, data science, cloud infrastructure engineering, medical equipment, pharmaceutical marketing and so forth.
Given the unprecedented threat levels we face in the global sphere, demand for cybersecurity experts will soar further. It is, however, the nature of the activity – and the sensitive industries affected by it, that act as key drivers to increase the cost of cybersecurity protection.
Why cybersecurity is a key activity in healthcare:
Healthcare is just one example of a sensitive industry where cybersecurity experts are working 24/7 to combat a wide range of threats. Jana White, the COO of Alpine Security, explained how people can get a cybersecurity qualification and fulfill a very valuable role in the healthcare industry: “Today, one of the quickest routes to align yourself with the lucrative industry of healthcare cybersecurity is to get a certification in cybersecurity. Less than 18% of all healthcare providers feel confident about their cybersecurity. This comes at a time when we face rising threat levels. This explains why healthcare is one of the industries that will see the highest demand for properly trained cybersecurity personnel. It is after all, a matter of life and death”.
Cybersecurity career opportunities:
Starting a new career of any sort should not only be about the money. Indeed, it seems that cybersecurity will be one of the most lucrative careers to embark on for many years to come. What would be the other perks of this as a career? Firstly, it is a truly global job for which we see demand everywhere. It also enables individuals to consult in a field where they can help protect national interest and key industries that are vital to local communities. Clearly there is a huge gap between what freelance consultants earn when compared to ordinary job roles. Already there are several familiar roles which can be used to benchmark a range of activities performed by cybersecurity specialists. These include “application security engineer”, “network security analyst”, “IS security manager”, “IS security engineer”, “Cybersecurity analyst” and “penetration tester”.
Perhaps one of the most attractive options of this industry, is that the timeframe involved to get trained, can be significantly reduced. Many consultants are properly trained industry experts without a relevant university degree – since there are industry bodies such as CompTIA and EC-Council, which map out complete certification paths to empower new careers.
Hackers ask the question: Who can we target for cyber extortion, to steal information and data – and to harm legitimate interests? On the other hand, tech enthusiasts ask: what will be the highest paying job where we can serve our communities and play a valuable role? Cybersecurity is on a critical junction where those who want to do good, will need to defeat others with evil attempts. It is, however, not good intentions that will win the battle, but preparedness – which involves training, testing, and sound policies.