Where are all the white hats?

When it comes to cyber security, you’ll need as many white hats as possible to protect your business online in 2017 says Write Research’s Rachael Watt.

Cyber security was a hot topic in 2016 with two thirds of large UK businesses having been hit by a cyber attack in some form. This year, the number of cyber security vacancies is set to vastly outstrip supply, meaning 2017 looks to be no different for companies that cannot hire or hold onto the best cyber security talent.

So, who are the white hats?

For anyone who isn’t a fan of Westerns or who hasn’t heard the term, the white hats are the good guys or the ‘ethical computer hackers’. These individuals are engaged by businesses to look for weaknesses in their internal information systems through penetration testing and other means. In comparison, the black hats are the hacking professionals who are busy writing malicious code and who you may be imagining sitting in a darkened room selling ransomware or offering DDoS attacks to the highest bidder.

With a shortage of good guys, what are businesses to do?

The government is working on the gap in skills and has set out a National Cyber Security strategy for 2021 which involves investing a record £1.9bn to improve the UK’s ability to Defend, Deter, and Develop (online). Furthermore, schools and universities are placing more and more significance on improving skills, with modules in cyber security for business graduates, as well as number of dedicated Masters qualifications in the science.

All of this sounds great, but what about the here and now?

With customer data, potential buyout offers and more at risk from these attacks, businesses need to make sure they have the people with the best skills to protect them today.

Cyber security professionals are already outperforming their IT peers in terms of pay, and without a dramatic change in current skills, this looks set to continue. But, the role of cyber security analyst or engineer is still just a job, done by professionals (albeit some incredibly intelligent ones), who are looking for more in their careers than an ever-growing pay-check.

But what do they want?

What would it mean for your organisation to understand these individuals’ career aspirations, benefits packages, family situation, geographical situation and ideal company culture?

What would it mean for these individuals to be able to engage with a company who have done their homework and care about offering the right opportunity to the right individual?

At Write Research we are working with companies to develop talent strategies that are underpinned by research, looking to add value to what internal teams are doing and separating our client’s message from the white noise. For anyone who wants to hear more about how we can support your team in hiring for in demand skills, get in touch!

You can get in touch with Rachael via Email (rachael.watt@writeresearchcompany.com) or phone (+44 (0)7736 489 801).


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