Cybersecurity has become a significant part of an organizational functionality. The discipline covers IT security, risk management, information assurance and protects against electronic or web-based attacks which are often difficult to detect.
In the last decade, the growth of cyber-attacks has increased in number and complexity. More personal information can be obtained from various government and business systems without any realization of the stolen information. Stats suggest that the losses due to a lack of cybersecurity go highly over a trillion dollars every year. Many major organizations have been hit by cyber threats like; the WannaCry attack on Microsoft, or WikiLeaks, or many others.
These problems have probed governments and businesses to invest in cybersecurity at an alarming rate. The government of the UK recently invested 650 million euros in the security and strategic defense of the country.
With these increasing threats, the need for a skilled cybersecurity consultant who can take care of threats to the organizations is increasing. A skill gap analysis by ISACA suggests that by 2019 there will be a shortage of over 2 million cybersecurity consultants.
Necessary Traits of a Cybersecurity Consultant
Every project in the cybersecurity field required specialized skills to solve the issues at hand. Some of them are:
- Measuring the vulnerability as well as penetration testing the software and programs that the enterprise uses.
- Firewall management and safety; which includes fail-safe features, backups as well as detection of the breach and its prevention protocols.
- Good knowledge of advanced threat management, network access control, social engineering and phishing.
- The consultant must be able to encrypt the sent and received data without it yielding to hacking threats.
- Familiarity with various programming languages used for processing and storage of data.
- Acquaintance with various coding practices and a working knowledge of threat configuration and modelling.
Collaborative attributes are necessary for a consultant. Skills like adaptability to the new technologies, critical thinking over various problems and innovativeness to enhance the security protocols are some important attributes. The consultant must also understand that securing the data of the complete organization cannot be an individual effort as the diversity and interconnectivity of systems, networks and technologies are huge. By cultivation collaboration and building consensus amongst the employees of the organization, a consultant can enhance the security features. The major goal of the consultant is to share their expertise and take advice whenever necessary as collective expertise make it much easier to solve the problems.
Many times, it is observed that people with good technical skills are prone to arrogance which does not promote good security measures. Good consultants must always exhibit humility and emphasize on portraying a positive attitude towards the teams. The consultant must also maintain optimism that the security threat can be solved with a collective effort. With the increasing threats, it is not always possible to stay ahead of the future attacks. However, if a consultant has the ability to face challenges head-on with a positive attitude security of the enterprise can be managed adequately.
A good cybersecurity consultant must have diverse career backgrounds. The previous tasks that the consultant handled for their clients tell a lot about their capacity to handle complicated situations. A consultant must be able to advise their executives about the tasks that are necessary for the cybersecurity of the enterprises. Thus, before hiring a consultant, enterprises must check their background and previous engagements to get a better idea on their skills.
A cybersecurity consultant must have good communication skills as they have to deal with various departments and superiors in the enterprise. Cybersecurity being an obscure topic for many departments, people tend to take it lightly. The consultant must be able to explain to them about the security threats and gravity of emergency situations.
The role of cybersecurity consultants varies from enterprise to enterprise. They play both defender and attacker in the software programs, networks and applications of the enterprise. The rate at which the cyber crimes are increasing the chances of cybersecurity consultant are likely to grow by 18 per cent CAGR in the next few years, suggests a report from Gartner. Enterprises are looking forward to hire consultants that can think on their feet and have traits that make them better than the hackers.