Kforce provides unique solutions to cyber security issues

Kforce is a leader in the cyber security industry

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and there have been a number of cyber security blog articles published, including this article posted on CSO. We recently sat down with two of our Kforce thought leaders in the cyber security space, Market Vice President Tim Fraher and Senior Director of Kforce Enterprise Security Rex Tolman, to discuss this article and the critical impact that talent acquisition plays in ensuring companies are protected.

Not many people question the importance of cyber security nowadays, yet many companies face a shortage of qualified talent in this area. The lack of talent is nothing new to industry experts. For years, there has reportedly been an average of two openings for every one qualified professional, and the numbers are steadily climbing. CSO Online reports roughly 1 million cyber security job openings in 2016, which is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2019.

While a zero-percent unemployment rate might sound good for a cyber security professional, it actually creates a lot of challenges on the other side of the desk, up to and including retention issues and salary inflation.  It becomes crucial for staffing organizations to find a way around these challenges, in order to continue to provide the best possible candidates to fit clients’ needs.

“The level of competition for qualified cyber security professionals has increased dramatically over the past twelve months,” Kforce Atlanta Market Vice President Tim Fraher said. “The many high-profile security breaches of the past half-decade have transformed cyber security from an IT problem to a board-level problem and as a result, IT departments have seen dramatically expanded security budgets to cover tooling, infrastructure, and resource costs.”

According to Fraher, the key to a winning cyber security strategy hinges on the ability to attract, hire, and retain top level talent who can protect a company’s digital assets, and prevent a company from appearing in the newspaper headlines for the wrong reasons.

“Kforce has seen unprecedented client demand for security professionals beyond the normal SOC and operational responsibilities,” Fraher said.  “Increasingly, Threat and Vulnerability Monitoring, SIEM engineering, ethical or “white hat” hacking, and Identity and Access Management professionals are in demand to help implement and run this business-critical apparatus to keep both company and customer data safe.”

Sr. Director of Kforce Enterprise Security Rex Tolman agreed. “Technology is not sufficient for a company to protect itself,” Tolman said.  “Organizations need qualified, educated, talented cyber security professionals to protect their company. The consequences of not having the right cyber security talent exposes organizations to potential data loss or theft, regulatory or compliance fines, significant or catastrophic brand impact and potential loss of customer confidence.”

Tolman explains that as security threats evolve, companies must evolve to protect themselves – and their staffing efforts should match.

“If a company cannot hire, develop, and retain qualified security personnel then they will put their organization at increased risk,” Tolman said.  “Their ability to respond to security incidents that begin in the organization will be insufficient to eradicate those malicious activities that could lead to network breaches, data loss, and potential public communication nightmares.”

So how does Kforce step up to help companies meet this critical need – particularly when the amount of talent is limited? By getting creative. “Kforce’s approach to this shortage has been to build a focus and competency in this area, which includes building relationships in the marketplace to identify those individuals who are happily employed, and thus will not appear on the traditional job boards or social media,” Fraher said. “This focus has allowed us to bridge the gap between diminishing talent supply and growing talent demand by attracting candidates who may not otherwise be ‘findable’ to passive sourcing methods.”

Those methods are critical to a company’s security and success. “More and more pressure is being placed on boards of directors, executives, and other leaders to ensure the company is taking sufficient steps to protect the organization,” Tolman said.  “Leaders must be taking steps to further protect the organization and have an effective strategy to continue protecting the company and have the ability to react to emerging threats.”