Why Covid-19 will only increase demand for Cyber Security expertise

Posting date:20 Apr 2020

The inevitable increase in demand for Cyber Security talent

What a crazy time we’re all living through! I hope anyone reading this is safe and coping okay with this new way of existing that we’re all adapting to.

In my job I have the privilege of being able to speak to an array of talented and insightful Cyber Security leaders across a variety of different industries every day. 

With everyone working from home, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing in the past few weeks with people looking to have a catch up.

Clearly this is an unprecedented and difficult time for everyone, but being the optimist that I am, I’d like to take a look at one of the positives I think will come out of this situation and that is the inevitable increase in demand for Cyber Security talent.

Remote working leaves us open to increased risk of cyberattacks

The COVID-19 pandemic increases the risk of cyberattacks as hackers target people’s increased use and dependence on digital tools, data sharing and communication. Just yesterday I read that the usage of Zoom in the past month has gone up by 535%, so sure enough there has since been an increase of over 2,000% when it comes to malicious files with Zoom in the name.

It’s fair to say that most business leaders (myself included) have had their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working over the past few weeks and I don’t think any of us can see the working world going back to how it was before this all happened. As we know, remote working, in general, leaves us more vulnerable to successful cyberattacks with potentially devastating repercussions if we’re not careful. 

Individuals new to working from home present a target for hackers, who will no doubt seize any opportunity to steal sensitive personal or company information to create disruption or commit online fraud.

I recently read, for example, a cyberattack targeted people looking for visuals of the spread of COVID-19. Viewers of a map showing Coronavirus statistics were asked to download a malicious application that compromised their computer and allowed hackers access to that individuals personal information.

Organisations must enable secure remote working

To keep information secure, most companies will use a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection from the user's computer to their company IT system.

However, even businesses with a quality VPN may need to buy more user licences or improve the server capacity and network security to enable their entire workforce to use it at once and work remotely, securely. 

We are already seeing organizations increasingly stress-testing their servers to ensure they will cope with everyone working from home; checking that their networks remain secure and both company and customer data is protected.

Far too many remote workers, however, don’t have two-factor authentication (2FA) turned on in their email and apps. As any Cyber Security professional will tell you, 2FA is one of the easiest and most effective ways for users to protect their data and identities.

In my experience, particularly with small or mid-sized organizations, the reason many companies lack these basic security measures is not because they are lazy,  but because they don’t have the education or expertise in Cyber Security in their business. 

What does this mean for Cyber Security talent demand? 

A lot of businesses are looking at their security budgets right now and are weighing up the risks of trimming them down. As such, over the last few weeks we have seen a drop in demand for talent across almost all industries. It will be interesting to see what happens to the businesses that do cut down their security budgets vs those that don’t over the coming months. Sadly, as we know, it often takes a breach for an organization to invest properly in their security. 

The positive news is that I do believe that this recent drop in talent demand is likely to be short-lived. The conversations I’ve had with CISOs, CIOs and CEOs over the last month fill me with confidence that in the coming months and years there will be even more demand for Cyber Security expertise. 

Organizations need to adapt to new ways of working, which are very reliant on technology and the inevitable continuation in increased levels of cyberattacks and probable breaches, will only amplify the need for more Cyber Security talent still further.

If you are currently looking for a role in Cyber Security right now, my advice is stay patient, continue building your network and have faith that it won’t be long before we see things start to pick back up. The high demand for hiring Cyber Security talent is not going anywhere!

Please get in touch if you need help hiring within Cyber Security. Equally if you are a permanent or contract Cyber Security professional, we are here to support your job search in these troubled times.