Cybersecurity is one of those technology professions that have been in high demand despite the pandemic. Businesses have been eagerly looking to hire cybersecurity talent, as evident from thousands of job postings on LinkedIn. Many experts say that cybersecurity teams may very well be immune to recession and mass layoffs we see in many sectors. There are many factors for this, and perhaps one of the biggest ones is the sharp rise in cyber attacks in the last six months.
For example, WHO has seen an exponential rise in the number of cyberattacks aimed at its staff and email scams targeting the public in general. In the last month some 450 active WHO email addresses and passwords have been leaked along with thousands belonging to others associated with the novel coronavirus response teams worldwide. There are also multiple reports of hackers breaching virtual meetings on Zoom, stealing private and sensitive data of companies. Ransomware attacks are also on the climb. It is for this reason that, the job market growth for cybersecurity has, in fact, risen during the economic recession brought with COVID-19.
Recent cases involving WHO, Cognizant, Zoom and other businesses indicate that nobody is safe as cybercriminals are not sparing anyone. With work from home norms, the network perimeter of most companies has broadened, making it easy for malicious hackers to gain from attacking enterprise assets. In such a scenario, cybersecurity jobs become critical for business continuity and safeguarding sensitive information. The endpoints sitting in various houses become targets, thus there has to be continuous monitoring. So, the nature of IT security is changing dramatically.
There Are Scarce Security Talent Resources
As companies establish the remote- working norms over the cloud, they have to invest at the same time maintain remote security of their networks. The lockdown is also pressuring corporate infrastructure resources pertaining to safeguarding data, which, in turn, is fueling the demand for cybersecurity jobs in the lockdown. According to a report, IT companies have been hiring more cybersecurity professionals in comparison to other tech roles.
Security roles are being considered more immune to recession and economic woes, and there are multiple cases of hiring for cybersecurity in various companies. In fact, cybersecurity has seen hiring growth in recent times as companies grapple to fight security challenges.
We know that the shortage of cybersecurity workforce in India is higher than the global average. Given that India is home to many IT companies and fulfils the software needs of many international companies, this shortage of skilled cybersecurity workforce is being analysed seriously, and efforts are being put in place to balance demand and supply of cybersecurity professionals.
Cybersecurity Is Important For Business Continuity
In terms of business continuity, cybersecurity teams play a major role in providing the required tools and platforms for other teams to execute the tasks and responsibilities of day-to-day functions. Businesses want to protect technology infrastructure and data assets from hackers, which places security teams on the top of priority of talent that needs to be retained.
Due to business continuity value proposition, there have been very few layoffs relating to cybersecurity compared to other tech domains. As a result, cybersecurity has enjoyed relatively stable volatility compared to other traditional IT jobs. Some of the most in-demand job roles include Application Security Engineer, Cybersecurity Analyst, Ethical Hacker, Cybersecurity Engineer, Cybersecurity Consultant, Cybersecurity Manager, Security Architect, and Pen Tester.
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A lot of money is at stake for the majority of companies, as even a small breach can potentially cause damages worth millions of dollars, in addition to permanent dents to their brand. Consequently, companies are not hesitating to invest in building and retaining quality cybersecurity teams.
Cybersecurity Is Specialised Expertise Which Is Hard To Replace
Cybersecurity jobs require a unique challenge and the need for a specialised skill set. Laying off cybersecurity teams means reducing the resources that protect IT systems against hackers, which is a risk that companies would not want to take. Security teams are well connected with the functionalities of on-premise servers, internal databases and business applications. A lot of companies in India have legacy IT systems, which are managed by security teams with very specialised expertise, and there is a lot of inherent value security professionals bring onto the corporate table. Such professionals are in charge of monitoring IT systems, as well as deploying the corresponding security measures and controls.
The reason why cybersecurity jobs are very specialised in nature is that it takes years of experience to know how to build an effective cybersecurity strategy for a particular company. The professionals take into account various factors such as systems, networking, DevOps, database, compliance laws, etc. This requires a long term investment in building unique expertise. Therefore, experts are expecting scarce cybersecurity talent retention.
A large number of jobs may be automated in the future, but there is no foolproof way to automate cybersecurity. So, it is expected that cybersecurity jobs will remain secure from automation fears. With malware and ever-increasing risks to a data breach, these professionals are tasked with building businesses’ security systems. They must also identify risks and vulnerabilities and then mitigate them accordingly.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.