cybersecurity workforce development

Achieve Cyber Readiness Through Workforce Development

Cyber operations are integral to every business function – a fundamental part of business management in which understanding your cyberthreat is key to your bottom line. Coupled with that is a recognition that the IT function and cybersecurity operations function are not one and the same. IT is an infrastructure enabler, whereas cyber operations are an organization-wide risk issue.

A major cyber breach-one that involves sensitive corporate or customer data-poses more than a technical problem or a business continuity challenge. A major incident can create a multi-dimensional crisis that affects nearly all aspects of the company’s business, as well as its customers, regulators, and other external stakeholders.

Recommendations for Growing and Managing Talent
The talent management challenges for cyber operations are much more complex because there is a major crisis to backfill cyber talent. Even once your organization recruits top cyber professionals, there is no guarantee you will retain them.

As such, it is not enough for cybersecurity to be relegated to a subset of people, as with the IT function. Every employee in your organization faces cyberthreats, and talent management for IT and cyber operations should not be combined. By shifting this mindset and developing strategies that reflect these realities, your ability to develop an effective workforce will immediately improve.

Here are some recommendations to get you started:

Develop alternative talent management strategies
Most cybersecurity professionals are personified by their love for cutting-edge technology, casual work environments, and creative mindsets. These unique tendencies help them excel under the constantly changing cyber environment but differentiate them from the rest of your company in a number of ways-fundamentally, their atypical characteristics of (1) work environment, (2) work preferences, and (3) nontraditional career paths.

Recruiting, developing, and retaining this unique workforce requires alternative talent management strategies-strategies that are often connected to but distinct from those applied across the rest of your company.

Understand work preferences
Like the work environment, your cybersecurity professionals also have unique work traits. These traits, or work preferences, make them the perfect candidates to tackle the daily challenges from threat actors around the globe but also can separate them from the rest of your organization. Recognizing these work preferences, for your capability as a whole as well as on an individual level, is critical to developing your cyber talent management strategies.

If your cybersecurity professional has a social media profile, it may look something like this:

Lover and early adopter of new technologies, as a cybersecurity professional my passion for technology fuels my curiosity to solve complex problems. I am a systems thinker with confidence in my ability to put things together and learn new techniques while using my competitive nature to fuel my work as well as engage in office competitions. As a natural problem solver and abstract thinker, I tend to look ‘outside the box’ and evaluate challenges from many different angles and perspectives before acting.

As one method, try offering applicants an on-the-spot challenge while testing their ability to solve problems using scenario-based challenges. Capitalize on your employees’ problem solving skills by allowing them to be a part of strategy, offense, and defense and by fostering a culture that encourages every level of employee to suggest solutions. Reward your employees for forward thinking, provide them with constantly changing tasks with different levels of difficulty, and present opportunities to work with emerging technologies.

Download your copy of Navigating the Digital Age to about learn more recommendations for improving your cybersecurity workforce.