It stands to reason that world governments would be laser-focused on cyber security. Make no mistake, the Internet is an international battleground. As the recent indictment of five Chinese military officials – the secret Unit 61398 – for spying on U.S. companies shows, we are in the heat of battle.
Australia appears to be appointing a new general to lead its cyber offense and defense. The Victorian state government is to name a cyber security officer, this after a report showed that 11 public sector agencies were woefully behind on policies and practices.
Titles for such positions vary widely. In the U.S., Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, holds down the post. He has been lobbying Congress to pass legislation to determine exactly how private companies should be required to disclose security breaches and cyber threats. That task is not made easier by recent NSA revelations.
We’ll all turn blue from holding our collective breath waiting for the two sides of the aisle to enact any sort of comprehensive cyber security legislation. Companies want the government to do more to protect them, but not at the expense of privacy or with any risk of liability. Companies large and small will have to do a better job on their own.
Companies, universities and organizations increasingly are hiring chief security officers or chief information security officers as a matter of need and, in some cases, compliance. The need for experts spans all industries, from financial services, manufacturing and utilities to healthcare and retail. A quick check for cyber security jobs on Internet employment site Indeed.com lists nearly 8,700. If the notable movie, The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman, was being shot today, it would be “cyber security” that Mr. McGuire whispered in newly graduated Benjamin’s ear instead of “plastics” as the golden career path.
A complementary industry has emerged, and the investment community is salivating. Said to be a $78 billion business in 2012, IT security spending is expected to grow by about 10 percent per year for the next 10 years, meaning the market could be valued at about $700 billion by the year 2024.
There is plenty of opportunity, but finding skilled individuals is an enormous challenge. For example, the Pentagon says it plans to increase its cyber security force nearly five times over, adding more than 4,000 civilian and military employees to the 900 Defense Department’s Cyber Command staffers they have already. Government agencies and industries worldwide are all looking for the same people.
Peak 10’s information security and compliance officer, David Kidd, concurs that the opportunity is enormous but the pool of qualified candidates is wanting. “There is no such thing anymore as information security being a nice-to-have. We’re way, way beyond that point, which is driving demand for information security professionals through the roof,” he says. “Businesses are very concerned about the security of their critical data, but that doesn’t mean have the resources to ensure it. After all, that’s not the reason they’re in business. But it is a very big reason why we are.”
The depth and breadth of Peak 10’s security and compliance programs is certainly among the most impressive in the industry. That’s complemented by extensive training and continual reinforcement that security and compliance is every employee’s job.
“There is a great deal we can do to assist businesses with their data governance and security programs , particularly the day-to-day monitoring and management, the investment in technology and technical skills,” says Kidd.