Tackling cyber crime - Hays careers advice

Not a month goes by these days without a global cyber attack disrupting businesses, public institutions or in some cases – whole countries. Weeks after the WannaCry malware attack – whose potential costs cyber risk modelling firm Cyence estimates at $4 billion, the Petya cyber attack targeted a number of Ukrainian banks and companies and quickly started to spread across the world, reminding us that cyber security is a crime that knows no boundaries. For many financial institutions across the world, IT security and protecting customer data has become an absolute priority. They will therefore welcome experts in the field with open arms – and increasingly generous pay cheques.

Cyber threats on the rise

According to global digital security company Gemalto’s recent Breach Level Index report, data breaches globally increased 86 per cent last year compared to 2015, leading to almost 1.4 billion data records being compromised worldwide. Whereas financial services have been one of the most targeted industries in the past, no sector is now immune to the threat, the firm highlighted.

“The Breach Level Index highlights four major cybercriminal trends over the past year. Hackers are casting a wider net and are using easily-attainable account and identity information as a starting point for high value targets. Clearly, fraudsters are also shifting from attacks targeted at financial organisations to infiltrating large databases such as entertainment and social media sites. Lastly, fraudsters have been using encryption to make breached data unreadable, then hold it for ransom and decrypting once they are paid,” Jason Hart, Gemalto’s Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection said in the report.

IT security recruitment is accelerating

To fight off cyber criminals, PWC’s latest state of security Survey 2017, estimates that security spending has soared 67 per cent since 2013. This year, security investments increased 11 per cent over the year before. Along with increased spending, businesses around the world report that IT security vacancies increased by 6.2 per cent during the year ending 30 April 2017 and the recent spat of attacks will “only likely to see this trend increase” according to the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

My colleague Mohammed Elazizi, Head of Infrastructure and Security at Hays Finance Technology, has also witnessed this trend. “We’re seeing a consistent increase in both contract and permanent demand for security experts across a range of financial services clients.

“There are many factors that contribute to the rise in demand. Some of it is driven by the increased awareness of cyber threats that are made public as this can hugely impact an organisation’s reputation in the market. It is also because some companies are trying to be more proactive in their approach to security. They are trying to combat threats before they occur.”

Mohammed also expects demand to continue to grow in the months and years ahead as he believes most of the financial services organisations are just starting their journey into being more aware and secure of cyber threats. “As the market constantly evolves the demand will continue to try to stay ahead,” he points out.

A race for talent

Mohammed says that some roles which are particularly in demand in the financial services industry include security analysts and security architects, cyber threat intelligence analysts, consultants, cyber incident analysts, etc.

However, there is a worldwide shortage of such experts. “Arguably the salaries and rates of security experts has increased as financial services organisations have battled to attract the best talent. Many of them have been forced to look outside of the sector when looking for talent to meet the demand of new skill sets that simply didn’t always exist in the industry,” he says.

This demand and pressure to hire the best IT security talent is essential, not just because the industry tries to defend itself, its clients and its reputation, but because, as highlighted by a recent survey by the Global Centre for Digital Transformation (GCDT) of more than 900 business leaders across multiple industries and 13 countries, the lack of a strong cyber security strategy will negatively impact a company’s innovation and growth.

In other words, IT security has become essential for the financial services industry to successfully achieve its digital transformation.

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Carolyn first joined Hays Accountancy & Finance in 2002, starting as a trainee recruitment consultant and developing her skills in recruiting part qualified finance professionals within the commercial sector. After early success in developing and servicing key clients, she progressed to a management role and furthered her development through taking responsibility for managing a region of offices. After five years combining these responsibilities, an opportunity arose to lead Hays’ tax business. Carolyn took on an excellent group of people, growing the business and the capabilities of her team through always focussing on the client and candidate experience.

In 2009 she transferred to our Australian operations, where Carolyn managed our specialist business units incorporating our Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Retail, Legal, Contact Centres, Office Support, Procurement and Life Sciences. Her focus was in developing the business into a cohesive unit that continues to deliver a high quality service to Hays Clients and Candidates alike.

After six years in Australia she returned to the UK in 2016 and now heads up our Finance Technology division based in the our flagship office on Cheapside in London. With a naturally inquisitive nature and high expectations, she prides herself on delivering agile and cutting edge solutions that meet clients’ ever-changing requirements to support their rapidly evolving world of work.