Advances made in information technology do not only improve the innovation capacity of organizations. Bad actors also ride on these changes. They leverage new systems and tools to realize their malicious goals faster, more efficiently, and at a larger scale. Hence, the seemingly never-ending stream of successful cyberattacks. Therefore, it is vital that organizations have IT security teams with a deep understanding of the enormously complex process of deploying, connecting, maintaining, and protecting enterprise systems. When an attack does occur, the ability to rapidly react and resolve can be what the business needs to ensure operations continue with minimal disruption and that any data loss is kept at a minimum. Thus, the quality of your IT security team is critical. Building a great security team is easier said than done. The number of security professionals continues to lag behind job vacancies just as it has done for years (the 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study places the gap at 3.1 million). So how do businesses strengthen their IT security team?
Invest in the right tools to attract the best talent
IT security tools are important, but they are only as effective as the team that deploys, configures, and oversees them. But this principle applies in reverse too. That is, your security team will be severely handicapped if the organization has not invested in the right tools.
Having the right tools is so central that some security professionals will be reluctant to take up a high-profile, well-remunerated position if the employer cannot demonstrate their commitment to investing in the security tech now and in the future. Top IT security pros will want to see your organization recognizes the need for deploying a range of tools that ensure better visibility and hampers the capability of threat actors.
These tools include threat intelligence software, endpoint detection, and response solutions, and patch management systems.
Look beyond borders
The Internet has in numerous ways rendered geographical borders increasingly irrelevant. And this extends to staffing. There has never been a time until today when organizations can claim to have a global workforce in the truest sense of the world. Team members may be scattered across the globe but still collaborate in real-time.
The overwhelming majority of potent IT security threats are virtual. So there is no reason to restrict the hiring of cyber professionals to your city, state, or country. Strengthen your IT security team and broaden your pool of prospective employees by casting your net worldwide. Allow your security professionals to work remotely gives you the power to hire the best talent out there. As a plus, providing such flexibility to your staff cultivates loyalty.
Rethink educational qualifications
For many white-collar jobs, having a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline is considered a basic educational prerequisite. However, for IT security roles (just like other tech jobs), a bachelor’s degree should never be a deal-breaker when scouting for great talent. If anything, professional IT security certifications should be ascribed higher priority.
For instance, CISSP is considered by many in the IT security industry as the gold standard of certifications for a career in IT security. Other important industry certifications include CEH, OSCP, CISA, CISM, and CCNP–Security.
Do not over-prioritize technical knowledge
While relevant degrees and professional certifications are certainly important, employers must be wary of leaning too heavily on technical knowledge. It may seem like hiring a technical expert is the best way to outsmart hackers. However, especially at the IT security leadership level, an excellent listener adept at prioritizing actions when a breach is discovered is critical to strengthen the It security team.
In a crisis, you need someone in charge who isn’t content with presenting a list of vulnerabilities to C-suite executives and the board. Rather, you need an employee who will focus containment and recovery action on the organization’s most important digital assets like administrator passwords, customer data, and corporate secrets. Ergo, probe for soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, and a cool head under pressure.
Automate and outsource to free staff to proactive, strategic thinking
Given the growing scale and complexity of enterprise technology infrastructure, it is easy for IT security staff to get sucked into and overwhelmed by routine processes. Everything from analyzing data and maintaining security infrastructure to patching servers and updating security configurations. There is hardly any time left for more proactive, strategic cybersecurity activities.
By automating or outsourcing security processes, you allow your IT security team to focus on more strategic tasks. These include modifying and designing security policies, auditing access to critical systems, classifying critical information, and investigating unusual activity.
Outsourcing could mean moving enterprise systems to the cloud. The cloud service providers secure and maintain the underlying infrastructure. They provide ‘security by default’ by simplifying IT resource deployment, configuration, and operation. You could take outsourcing further by contracting a managed security service provider (MSSP).
Borrow or rent experts as needed
It is not possible for an organization’s IT security team to possess deep expertise in every aspect of IT security. And it is not even prudent. No need to hire an expensive professional with a skill set so narrow that the enterprise will rarely need them. Instead, identify and engage external experts who can fill these gaps.
For example, the team may at some point need data analytics personnel, cyber threat intelligence analysts, malware forensics experts, or security architect consultants. Having these roles full-time is too costly for all but the very largest organizations. Instead, it is better to have a security consultancy on retainer. Besides augmenting the internal IT security team’s capabilities, the third party also provides an extra pair of eyes.
Strengthen your IT security team and stay ahead of challenges
IT security teams have to keep up with not just a changing regulatory regime but also the rapidly evolving threat landscape and a challenging business environment. The all-encompassing place of IT is driving a shift in IT security from a technical silo to collaborative action. Having an effective IT security team is central to proactively staying on top of security gaps.
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