How to educate a new generation of sales professionals. cyber security
An important element of European Cyber Security Month is a discussion about the skills gap in the industry. In an interview with Fortinet, Jeff Robbins, Practice Director at Business Communications, Inc, talks about how to shape the new generation of professionals and what skills they need.
Can you describe the current state of the cyber security industry?
The nature of threats has really changed over the past 10 years. We are now dealing with effective and tech-savvy cybercriminals. They don’t just run scripts, they have sophisticated tools. Not everyone outside of our industry understands the skill level that is needed to counter cybercrime.
Cybercriminals are also very motivated because of the money they can make. Well-known government-sponsored attacks are just one of many examples. Most of us deal with a whole new level of crime on a daily basis than we did 10 years ago. Hackers are smart, money-hungry, technically gifted, and their actions connected within a single ecosystem. No wonder we see statistics all the time about the increase in cybercrime levels and the number of cyber attacks.
What do you think is the best defense against cybercrime right now?
I think it is very important to have a strong internal governance process, risk assessment and compliance of procedures. The problem I often see is that while many companies have both policies and procedures that dictate how everything should work, they often lack properly trained employees to implement those policies. That’s why it’s so important to have properly trained staff at an expert level in the technical controls that are in place in your environment.
How can we close the cybersecurity skills gap?
Easier said than done, but hiring more people! We have no choice but to develop talent internally. Ideally, we are looking for people who will engage in a process defined to develop talent. The average tenure of our security engineers is over 10 years, which is great, but we also need to recruit a new generation of professionals to take up the baton. Our challenge is to find the next generation of talented employees. Upskilling from within through hands-on experience and certification programs is essential, but not easy – it takes time and investment. I like to tell my team that at 17.00 we want to be better than o 8.00 morning, and any interaction with less experienced engineers should be educational.
What value do you place on certification?
In our industry, we need to excel with the best engineers. And the way we prove it is through certifications. They show our clients that our team is valuable and that we are good at what we do. For example, we have several specialists certified at NSE level 8, but I would like to have many more. I just need to find some time for our employees to take the exams. Given their technical and industry experience, I know they are ready, which is promising given the existing skills gap.
What does having the NSE 8 certification mean to you?
I lead by example and at the same time want to differentiate our engineers from others and identify the right career path. Having a level 8 certification. shows our customers that we have the best experts in the industry. Certification proves that we are fully committed to our business. Demonstrating in-depth knowledge of technical solutions is important to customers when we’re talking about an area as important as cybersecurity.
What skills are you looking for in your employees?
It’s hard to hire the best these days because there are few of them and they are really expensive. So I need to focus on engineers with Level 1 and Level 2 certification who are willing to learn and grow. More than skills, I look for interest and hunger for knowledge, and people who have a knack for absorbing it quickly and learning on the job. We are always looking for people who want to make a difference and want to be involved in cybersecurity. This is not an easy job, you have to really want to be part of this field. This is also why cybersecurity training and certification is so valuable. They can help develop talent and provide career opportunities for those who are willing to learn and invest their time in development.