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Why Data Security Hiring Will Impact Your IT Staffing Future

Roughly 400 data breaches have occurred in the U.S. so far this year, which represents a 21 percent increase over the same period last year. Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report shows malicious hackers in search of financial gain make up the vast majority (about 60 percent) of cyber criminals. However, intellectual property spies account for an increasing number of data breaches (about 25 percent).

It’s no wonder one of the hottest areas in IT staffing is data security. Data security is no longer considered a mere role or responsibility, but rather a critical department requiring a robust IT staffing effort. Findings from the 11th annual Global Information Security Survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CSO spell out the issue of evolving threats all too clearly. The survey found:


  • Security budgets averaged $4.3 million this year, a gain of 51 percent since 2012.
  • Despite increased IT security spending, the number of attacks and the cost of those attacks is on the rise. The average loss per incident is up 23 percent.
  • When these breaches occur, 35 percent report employee records were compromised, 31 percent report customer records were compromised or unavailable, and 29 percent say internal records were lost or damaged. Reports of lost or damaged internal records this year jumped 100 percent from last year.

“Despite the spending, enterprises are still playing catchup,” writes CSO’s George V. Hulme. “As IT organizations master the security and management of one set of technologies, something disruptive and new always comes up, whether it’s virtualization, cloud, the consumerization of IT purchasing or increased worker mobility. And it’s this change that, if not properly managed, can create so many hazards.”

Cheryl Miller, managing director of The HT Group’s Technical division, says the key to building an IT security team who can overcome these obstacles lies in specially tailored technical recruiting.

“Start with a senior-level architect with varied experience in different environments as the pillar in your security department,” she advises. “Hire only those who have demonstrated a strong interest to continue with education and certifications.”

Miller reveals some of the most successful IT security teams have a personality all their own.

“Have at least one member of your team who was once an ethical hacker; the best way to beat the enemy is to think like the enemy,” she recommends, adding, “Make it a practice to supplement special projects with senior-level external consultants to bring fresh ideas to help wage the cybersecurity war.”

Building an IT security team strategically, however, carries with it another major challenge: unprecedented competition for talent. reports jobs for cybersecurity professionals have skyrocketed 162 percent year over year. In the healthcare industry alone, jobs for information or cybersecurity-related positions have seen a 30 percent year-over-year increase in hiring demand. Candidates with specific certifications are even harder to find. According to WANTED Analytics, the most in-demand tech certification right now is Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance (TS SCI). There are about five candidates per every job ad that lists TS SCI as a requirement; these are odds even a top-tier IT recruiter would find difficult to overcome.

According to ZDNet, “With Cisco’s 2014 Annual Security Report projecting a global cybersecurity jobs shortage starting at 500,000 and domestically at least 30,000, the situation has become what James Arlen at Leviathan Security Group calls ‘literally the billion dollar question.’”

Miller sees this challenge as a reason to utilize IT staffing resources to their fullest.

”It’s how well you and your IT staffing partner evangelize the opportunity that will determine the caliber of talent you are able to attract,” she states. “The best candidates will want to work with the best companies. They’re looking for cutting-edge technology in a successful growing company, led by a stellar team.”

Do you feel prepared to take hiring risks in order to protect your data? Let us know your thoughts.


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