5 Tips for Recruiting the Best Cybersecurity Talent

Damages from cyber crimes are projected to reach $6 trillion per year by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, which makes cyber crimes more profitable for criminals than the global trade of all major illicit drugs combined. It should be no surprise that companies have become increasingly concerned over cybersecurity.

Despite these rising risks, the cybersecurity labor shortage has been getting worse each year. According to ESG, 53 percent of organizations reported a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills, which outpaced every other information technology career. Rising demand for talent means that hiring cyber professionals could become even more difficult.

Damages from cyber crimes are poised to reach $6 trillion by 2021, but there’s a growing cybersecurity labor shortage. Let’s take a look at the best ways to recruit cybersecurity talent in your organization.

#1: Create a MAP-Friendly Environment

Daniel Pink’s book "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" identified three factors that keep employees engaged and motivated within an organization — mastery, autonomy and purpose. While many companies use a carrot-and-stick approach to managing employees, the most successful businesses focus on creating intrinsic motivation for their employees using these three techniques.

  • Mastery means empowering employees to improve their skills through learning and practice. For example, you may provide employees with '10% time' to let them improve their skills and ensure that they’re always being challenged.

  • Autonomy means giving employees the freedom to do their job without strict office hours, dress codes or other requirements. For instance, you may involve employees in setting their goals and give them latitude to achieve them.

  • Purpose means getting employees to invest in the bigger picture and the organization’s overarching goals. You should always ensure that employees are working on something that has a tangible connection to these larger goals.

#2: Consider Non-Traditional Hires

The tech sector is well known for its non-traditional career paths. Rather than attending four-year colleges and studying computer science or IT security, many tech professionals are self-taught or participate in short bootcamps designed to teach specific topics. They frequently use industry certifications to prove their expertise in certain subject matters.

Some common cybersecurity certifications include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Information System Security Professional
  • Certified Information Security Manager
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • Certified Cloud Security Professional
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Security

Download a sample cybersecurity job posting to use as a template during your hiring efforts.

In addition to considering non-traditional educational backgrounds, you may want to consider hiring entry-level talent rather than pursuing top experts. Entry-level cybersecurity talent is easier to find and cheaper to hire, and they can be mentored to an expert level over time through bootcamps, certifications or under the guidance of other employees.

#3: Train Your Existing Employees

Ask your existing IT employees if they have any interest in moving into cybersecurity. If so, you may want to pay for them to be trained as a cybersecurity professional rather than hiring someone new. There are many different courses and accreditations available that employees can take part-time to transition into these kinds of new roles.

There are a few benefits to this approach:

  • The existing employee is kept engaged by pursuing a new career path that they enjoy.
  • The position that you are replacing is likely easier to recruit for than a cybersecurity expert.
  • The existing employee is less likely to move onto another job if they’ve been with the company for a long time.

A common option is offering to pay for a master’s level course on cybersecurity through an online or local university, or offering to pay for accreditation through one of the programs mentioned earlier. You may provide them with a set percentage of time during the day to devote to studying and coursework or require all studying to be done after-hours with the promise of a pay raise upon completion.

#4: Connect with the Community

The tech community tends to be very tight-knit. For instance, many developers release open-source software that’s designed to be shared for free between like-minded colleagues. Many tech employees also enjoy attending meetups and conferences to learn new skills, network with other professionals and even discover new job opportunities in the area.

Don’t forget to download a sample cybersecurity job posting to use as a template during your hiring efforts.

There are several ways to connect with potential cybersecurity experts through these venues:

  • Encourage your CTO or other tech employees to speak at nearby meetups and conferences. You can even sponsor these conferences with free food or beverages to build a good rapport with local tech professionals.

  • Pay for employees to attend and speak at conferences. In addition to helping them improve their skills, your employees may meet other like-minded individuals and refer them to human resources as potential hires.

  • Be active on social media by participating in group conversations, writing interesting content and forming meaningful connections with others.

#5: Think Outside of the Box

Millennials view the workplace differently than many other generations. They tend to value perks over pay with a preference for flex time, catered food, fitness memberships, remote working options and other benefits that provide freedom. They may also appreciate opportunities to give back, such as volunteer days or matched donations.

In addition, you might consider bringing in a promising part-time employee rather than making a full-time hire — at least early on. Many millennial workers enjoy the flexibility of a part-time position and may appreciate a clear pathway to real responsibility over time. Young people may value freedom over health insurance, but many will eventually need stability.

The Bottom Line

Cybersecurity is a growing problem for many small businesses, but hiring experts to close vulnerabilities is challenging. By keeping that advice we’ve mentioned in mind, you can increase your odds of successfully recruiting solid talent and protecting your business against these risks over time.

In addition to dedicated cybersecurity personnel, you should ensure that you have the right software in place. Jungle Disk provides a comprehensive cybersecurity suite designed for small businesses with two to 250 employees, including active network protection, password management, secure cloud storage and much more.

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