It all started with Viruses (1990s) to Firewalls Worms (2000s) to Botnets (late 2000s to Current) to APT, Insiders (Current). The next generation attacks in today’s time are cognitive threats, social networks (like jacking), PDA and consumer electronics exploits, widespread website compromises, disruption of critical infrastructure, virtualisation exploits, memory scraping, hardware hacking, IPv6-based attacks etc.
According to the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) report, India has been the second most cyber-attack affected country between 2016 to 2018.
Cybersecurity has emerged within the latest years as an issue of vital importance for everyone as governments, businesses and individuals are under constant attack from other
governments, cyber criminals and hackers. These attacks steal large amounts of money, in the form of personal and business data, and compromise sensitive government operations. Industrial software and equipment represents a new attack vector for our modern industry that involves both the risk of unintentional employee errors as well as aimed attacks.
The increasing penetration of the internet and the resultant movement of applications both personal and professional like payment gateways, app wallets, banking, healthcare etc to mobile or handheld devices has made many of the sensitive personal information and personally identifiable information easy to access. In fact, mobile/handheld devices are one of the biggest access points for cyber criminals. They pose a huge cyber threat in terms of our privacy especially with regard to data and finance. Cybersecurity has emerged as an issue of vital importance for everyone, as governments, businesses and individuals are under constant attack. With almost 40% of India’s population using smartphones with the internet there is a pressing demand for cybersecurity solutions. The growing threat of cyber threats will lead to huge requirements of cybersecurity experts.
The extensive movement to cloud based services with the existing hardware infrastructure has also led to high demand for monitoring and ensuring that the data is secured, this too in turn has led to increase in demand for cybersecurity experts. According to Burning Glass the number of cybersecurity job postings world over has grown by 94% in the last six years whereas the number of IT jobs in general has grown only by 30%. That’s a 300% increase in demand compared to the overall IT job market. Cybersecurity jobs now account for 13% of all information technology jobs across the world.
In fact, the COVID-19 onset and the resultant work from home scenario has further augmented the need for a robust cybersecurity solution. For ensuring business continuity due to Covid-19 most of the critical services have been enabled through work from home which in turn has brought on board a lot more BYOD (Bringing Your Own Devices). Many of the critical services which are a part of NOC (Network Operations Center) and SOC (Security Operation Center), which were driven from Data Centres/closed premises are now running from home with BYOD devices. This unexpected work from home has brought forth a new scenario that can possibly occur and has made corporations re-look at their cybersafety strategies. It has prompted them to look for evolved cybersecurity solutions that are location and device agnostic. This thrust on cybersecurity has created a huge demand for talent who can develop better solutions that can alert as well as prevent possible cybercrimes and the resultant losses.
The significant uptake of online education is also a crucial factor pushing the demand trajectory for cybersecurity professionals in the upward direction. For instance, recently, a couple of leading schools which were conducting online classes due to lock down witnessed their classes getting hacked. Considering these new challenges which we will see even after post lockdown, cybersecurity has become an important aspect.
Demand & Supply Ecosystem
In fact, there are around 50,000 job openings in this field across various job boards and the major distribution of these jobs are across Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi NCR & Hyderabad. Bangalore being the highest contributor. Owing to COVID-19 the demand for cyber experts has gone substantially. It has witnessed a 25% increase in demand. This demand will only increase in the post COVID-19 scenario. However, the talent pool available to address this exponential demand is still low. Though India has a much higher percentage of cybersecurity professionals than western world it is far less than the demand making it a good opportunity for job aspirants to explore. From a monetary perspective, most of the companies pay slightly higher salaries to a good cybersecurity expert as these are critical roles for any organisation.
Path To Becoming A Cybersecurity Professional
Engineering graduates, graduates from any stream, graduates in cybersecurity or graduates in computer science with certifications like CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CCSP (Certified Cloud Security Professional), CompTIA Security +, GSEC (Giac Security Essentials Certification, SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner), CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) and opt for a career in cybersecurity field. Few certifications can be taken up only after gaining some experiences.
Career Growth Roadmap
Because it’s impossible to be an expert in all categories, it would be prudent to focus on one area and build expertise in it. Think ahead, i.e. 5-10 years from now and chart out a career road map. Sample career paths could include:
- Exchange administrator → Email security
- Network administrator → Network security, forensics, etc.
- System administrator → Security administrator, forensics, etc.
- Web developer → Web security, security software developer, etc.
Some of the IT profiles who can explore a career in the field of cybersecurity are Computer Programmers, Computer Software Engineer, Computer Support Specialist, Computer Systems Analyst, Database Administrator, IT Technician, Network Engineer, Network Systems & Data Analyst etc.
With more and more companies opting to re-look at their discretionary IT spends, cybersecurity is a worthy switch even for experienced IT professionals as this profile is not only in demand now, it will continue to be sought after in the years to come as well.
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Ankur Gupta is currently the Business Head of IMSI Staffing (A TeamLease Company). A seasoned professional with more than 23 years of experience, Ankur’s expertise lies in IT managed services across sectors.