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The Perpetually Rising Ceiling of a Cybersecurity Career
As we lower the curtains on 2021, one of the worst performing years for cybersecurity in recent memory, many signs are pointing to cybersecurity being one of the biggest growth sectors in 2022. Perhaps the best example from this past year illustrating a possible “worst case scenario” fallout from a cybersecurity failure would be the Colonial Pipeline Attack in May in which a $4.4 million ransom was paid to restore the software operating the oil pipeline system. The “green shoots” of the imminent economic growth of the cybersecurity sector can be seen as increased investment and stock trader interest. Accordingly, the impetus for the rising monetary interest in this sector is that 2022 is also expected to bring a rising wave of cyberattacks, just like 2021 was one year ago, and ominous signs are already foreshadowing what the next year will bring. For instance, this November, the content delivery network provider Cloudflare thwarted one of the largest distributed denial-of-service attacks in history. Additionally, with the inexorable march of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology continuing and opening up new vulnerabilities along the way, it looks like no part of our daily lives will not fall under the cyber threat surface area. Fortunately, there is also a positive side to this menacing threat — expanding career opportunities.
An already existing skills gap paired with an ever-increasing number of roles needing to be filled means that career seekers should find the whitespace of the cybersecurity field very attractive — and lucrative. Here are three industries representing the employment whitespace where one could find a career as a cybersecurity professional:
The healthcare industry has become an in-vogue target of cyber criminals due to its extreme vulnerability. As this sector relies heavily on technology, and has intrinsically high stakes, the potential fallout of a cybersecurity failure in the healthcare sector can be absolutely devastating — and could potentially result in death. In the first half of 2021, ransomware attacks in healthcare happened four times per week on average resulting in the theft of medical records, social security numbers, financial data, and other private information. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest obstacles facing the fortification of healthcare against cyber-attacks is a shortage of qualified individuals in the labor market.
Department of Defense
The U.S. Department of Defense has announced an initiative that aims to build up its cyber security defense team, in spite of the unfavorable labor market. The program’s objective is to recruit, retrain, develop, and deploy cybersecurity professionals in roles protecting U.S. infrastructure. Some of the roles that are actively being sought are risk analyzers, networks and systems engineers, forensics, software assurance, and more. Moreover, opportunities at the Department of Defense should be of particular interest to military veterans seeking to transition to a civilian.
A recent report has identified the financial sector as a particularly vulnerable target for cyber criminals given that practically all of its transactions are dependent on IT systems. Furthermore, due to it being a truly global market and the paradigm shift to remote work do to COVID-19, this sector represents a gold mine of opportunities for cyber criminals. For instance, recent data show that in the first half of 2021 the banking industry experienced a 1,318% increase in ransomware. Unfortunately, many are questioning whether financial institutions are failing behind in regard to, which most likely influenced recent policy requiring banks to meet certain standards and timeframes in reporting attacks.
For those interested in a career in this growing field, ITU Online offers courses in cloud security, information systems security, penetration testing, among other facets of cybersecurity. Find out more here.
References not included in the links:
1.) 2021. https://www.livemint.com/technology/tech-news/developers-tap-blockchain-and-nfts-to-take-gaming-to-the-next-level-11636911606005.html. Accessed 17 November 2021
2.) Caminiti. S. Cybersecurity, skills gap, and digital transformation: TEC Summit recap. CNBC. November 20, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/20/cyberattacks-skills-gap-and-digital-transformation-tec-summit-recap.html. Accessed 24 November 2021.
3.) Duguin, S. If healthcare doesn’t strengthen its cybersecurity, it could soon be in critical condition. World Economic Forum. November 8, 2021. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/healthcare-cybersecurity/. Accessed 24 November 2021.
4.) Tung, L. The US government just launched a big push to fill cybersecurity jobs, with salaries to match. Zdnet.com. November 16, 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-us-government-just-launched-a-big-push-to-fill-cybersecurity-jobs-with-salaries-to-match/. Accessed 24 November 2021.
5.) Delesline III, N. Getting military veterans jobs in IT and cybersecurity. Zdnet.com. November 11, 2021. https://www.zdnet.com/article/jobs-for-veterans-in-it-and-cybersecurity/. Accessed 24 November 2021.
6.) Wait, P. Report Shows Global Financial Giants Are at Risk of Cyberattacks. Nextgov. https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2021/11/report-shows-global-financial-giants-are-risk-cyberattacks/187087/. Accessed 24 November 2021.
7.) “Attacks Surge in 1H 2021 as Trend Micro Blocks 41 Billion Cyber Threats.” Trend Micro, 24 November 2021, https://newsroom.trendmicro.com/2021-09-14-Attacks-Surge-in-1H-2021-as-Trend-Micro-Blocks-41-Billion-Cyber-Threats.
8.) Wait, P. Report Shows Global Financial Giants Are at Risk of Cyber Attacks. Nextgov. https://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2021/11/report-shows-global-financial-giants-are-risk-cyberattacks/187087/. Accessed 24 November 2021