Cyber Security: The Most Sought After IT Skill in 2017

Posted by Gregory Wolf on Jul 20, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Cyber SecurityEach year $445 billion dollar is lost due to hacker damage. That’s according to research by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which also says that the United States accounts for about 25% of those losses.

Cybercrime is a 24-hour-a-day 7-day-a-week operation. It threatens every sector of society from the government and the military to retailers and financial institutions. In a recent survey, 79% of respondents said they detected a security incident in the past 12 months.

Is it any surprise that cyber security is the most sought after IT skill of 2017? Cyber security jobs account for 11% of all IT jobs and have grown three times faster than IT jobs overall in 2010-14. Growth won’t slow down, either, since employment for cyber security experts expected to grow by 37% in the next ten years.

What is cyber security?

The Digital Guardian defines it as “the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access.”

In short, cyber security protects intellectual property, trade secrets, money transfers, data, online payments, and more. Many people now believe it is more critical to our country’s defense than a missile system.

What are the risks associated with cyber security threats?

According to Dark Reading, an average of 820 people become victims of cybercrime every minute. That’s nearly 50,000 people every hour. An estimated 44% of online adults have been victims of cybercrime. The main devices hit? Laptops and mobiles. Last year, more than 4 billion records were exposed to theft.

In the past, cybersecurity was considered a problem for government or educational institutions. Today, however, business is affected more than either of these other sectors. In the business community, cyber threats aren’t limited to major financial institutions, either. Healthcare, retail, and hospitality are feeling the pain, too.

What is a cyber security professional?

A cyber security expert usually holds an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree in a cyber security field. Currently, 84% of cyber security jobs require a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree.

Many cyber security professionals also hold certificates in specific areas or demonstrating mastery of a particular skill. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is the industry standard. Other common certifications include CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials, and the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).

What a cyber security expert can do for you?

A qualified cyber security professional can build firewalls around your company’s technology, protect your data, undo the damage caused by hackers, and create intrusion prevention systems. They can also keep safety measures up to date and train your employees on ways to secure customer information, employee data, and online payments. Their skills include information assurance, cryptography, computer forensics, malware analysis, 800-53, and ArcSight.

Cyber security experts save businesses untold amounts of money from direct loss to hackers as well as employee time. They help businesses retain their customers, assure buyers that their payment is secure, and generally prevent the headaches of a major security breach.

How much you can expect to pay for a cyber security expert?

The average salary for a cyber security expert holding a Bachelor’s degree and three years of experience stands at $86,000. Fortunately, a small business doesn’t need a full-time ethical hacker on staff. For most small or mid-size businesses, a contract employee is sufficient.

Keep in mind, however, that cyber security jobs account for 11% of all IT jobs, and the field is growing twice as fast as any other IT job market. If your cybersecurity professional’s price gives you sticker shock, consider that the federal government spends 15% of its budget on cyber security according to Burning Glass.

If your business keeps any data or processes any payments using a digital tool, consider tapping into the services of a cyber security professional. It may be the most time-saving, money-conscious decision your firm makes this year.

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Topics: Safety & Security