Businesses have a huge need for cybersecurity experts today – and there’s not enough talent to go around. So if you’re a recruiter looking to hire a cybersecurity professional, you need to ensure you’re seeking out the right kind of talent. At our IT consultancy in North London, Amazing Support, we aim to cultivate talent with 3 main skills – a hacker mindset, curiosity, and integrity.
Thinks Like a Hacker
They say the best police officers and investigators are able to think like criminals. The same goes for cybersecurity. To fully protect your business against cyber attacks, they should know what methods hackers use to extract information or punch holes in your security. Cybersecurity experts are your business’ defence against hackers and other cybercriminals. As such, they will know all of your system’s vulnerabilities through and through, along with solutions to patch them up. For example, if your systems have been hacked and fraudulent activity has been detected, then this useful reference can help businesses find a solution to this and help protect their systems in case of future issues.
But how do you know a candidate thinks like a hacker without letting them actually attempt to hack you? Look for proof of analytical thinking skills or prior experience with cybersecurity. A hacker mindset is developed by an ability to see problems from all sides – or even to see problems you didn’t know were there. Someone with critical problem-solving skills, then, is likely to have the “black hat” perspective you’re looking for.
A cybersecurity expert who also understands the human element of security will adhere to this perspective. Sometimes, security analysts can be bogged down by technical solutions to a problem. In reality, an error might be the result of a human or organisational decision. By considering an issue through a lens of human motivation, rather than a purely technical one, security analysts can suss out solutions more effectively.
Curious and Well-Rounded
Along with a hacker perspective on security analysis, another desirable trait in cybersecurity professionals is curiosity. At our IT support company in London, our success is tethered to our investigative IT professionals. Those who work in cybersecurity – and in IT in general – should be naturally inquisitive, unable to leave questions unanswered and problems unsolved. A cybersecurity analyst who doesn’t follow up on something that’s piqued their interest is sure to fall behind in their field.
Indeed, as cybercriminals pursue new means of launching digital attacks, security experts should work to stay ahead. Exploring the latest trends, improving existing skills, and a general willingness to learn are all fundamental traits in a good cybersecurity expert.
When hiring a security analyst, look for signs of a lifelong learner. To remain at the top of their field, cybersecurity experts don’t stop progressing after receiving their qualifications. Maybe they’ve pursued an online course to expand skills that aren’t in their specialisation. Or they’ve deepened their expertise by attending seminars on the subject. However they choose to expand their skill set, cybersecurity specialists never remain static. In this industry, they can’t afford to.
In addition, you should look for candidates that are well-rounded. Having a security analyst with a profound knowledge of one niche is vital if they’re working in that niche. But if they’re able to apply their proficiencies in related areas, then they’ll be invaluable to your team.
Finally, a great cybersecurity expert will have a strong sense of ethics. The “white hat hacker” or “ethical hacker” is a popular notion in the cybersecurity community, as a specialist who can break into your systems – with your permission – to expose vulnerabilities. It should go without saying that you’d prefer the “white hat” rather than the “black hat” hacker working for you.
Ethics goes beyond hacking, though, and should be apparent in other aspects of the job. A good cybersecurity specialist will have integrity, willing to take responsibility for their actions and put the needs of their team ahead of themselves. Integrity also means a willingness to ask for help when it’s needed and to be collaborative and cooperative on a team.
Additionally, an ethical cybersecurity analyst will comprehend fully the sensitive nature of working in this field and always act with discretion. They should be reliable and trustworthy.
When hiring a cybersecurity expert, you should look beyond qualifications and experience. These are essential in finding the right candidate, but personality traits are significant as well. Ultimately, you should pick someone who fits in with your company culture and shares your values.
If you’re at a loss for where to start, though, these 3 traits will point you in the right direction. In my experience at my North London IT Support company, Amazing Support, I’ve always found that security analysts in possession of these 3 characteristics tend to excel.
David Share – Director at Amazing Support has held positions as Operations Director and Head of IT in legal and professional firms for more than 10 years. He is a Director and co-owner of Amazing Support, an Award-Winning, Microsoft Silver & Cyber Essentials accredited specialist managed IT Support and Cyber Security Company.