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- We spoke with cybersecurity experts about how anyone seeking or holding onto a job can make themselves stronger employees.
- Remote work is making security skills more valuable.
- Healthy professional boundaries and brushing up on how to make video conferencing as secure as possible and can make anyone a stronger employee, experts say.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As layoffs ravage all parts of the tech industry, cybersecurity jobs are still available, according to employment analytics company Burning Glass Technologies.
While cybersecurity recruiting has declined from its frantic pre-COVID-19 pace, the field is still “hiring a lot,” CEO Matt Sigelman told Business Insider.
More than half of jobs demanding cybersecurity skills are in fact other IT roles, where security is only one part of a broader job description, and Sigelman notes that cybersecurity skills are increasingly required in almost any remote working job. All this means that good cybersecurity practices are more important than ever: Self-reliant employees who understand how to lock down video conferences and practice good security hygiene are less of a liability and more of an asset for management – and an easier hire when openings pop up.
We spoke with cybersecurity industry experts about what anyone seeking or holding onto a job can do to make themselves a stronger employee.
Make yourself an expert in the security issues around web conferencing
Video conferencing has become ubiquitous during this remote work phase and understanding the security controversies with Zoom and other platforms is important, says Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer of cybersecurity company Avast
Knowledge of secure video conferencing and other work-from-home skills makes you a better employee, contractor, and job candidate.
“Make sure all vulnerabilities are patched and software updates applied in a timely fashion,” she says. “Play around with the settings a bit, too, and disable things like the camera from automatically starting when joining a meeting. It’s also worth knowing which apps have access to your webcam and microphone by reviewing settings.”
Set boundaries by separating your work and personal life
It’s easy to blur the lines between work and home life when working remotely, but it’s also a mistake, says Simone Petrella, the CEO of CyberVista, a cybersecurity training and workforce development company.
“It’s important to also realize that your home and work are now one in the same environment, so you want to do as much as possible to segment those” with healthy boundaries, she says. “It’s probably a good idea to lock your computer when you walk away for a minute. If nothing else, you don’t want your toddler sending out gibberish emails on your behalf.”
Professionalism still matters, and could set job candidates apart.
You should also be careful switching between work and personal use of your computer.
“Make sure you have any home file sharing capabilities turned off – you don’t want to inadvertently be sharing work files across other computers on your home network,” she says. “And use a password manager to create and store complex and different passwords – especially if your company doesn’t have single sign on.”
Follow security best practices and learn how to teach others to follow them, too
“Remote workers must adapt and be flexible,” says Brian Murphy, CEO and founder, ReliaQuest.
To work securely at home, employees must take responsibility for being on safe wi-fi, using a virtual private network if applicable, and using the company’s approved web conference platform and other coworking platforms.
“At its core, cybersecurity is a team sport and team members need to support each other, which is where flexibility shines through,” Murphy says.
Being a self-reliant remote coworker who knows how to use remote tools securely is important. Meanwhile, new job opportunities may also arise in explaining threats and skills to a remote workforce. If you can connect the worlds of IT and HR by coaching employees on security skills, that also makes you more valuable.
“Security practitioners will always need technical skills – interpreting data and interpreting trends – but they will need to effectively communicate those trends to the business,” says Murphy.
Learn how to manage cloud-computing projects
COVID-19 and remote working have created a boom in cloud computing, in. part because it’s less vulnerable to outages. Many companies are moving their data and processes to cloud computing, but have not completed that transformation, “and have been caught flat-footed by the need to move all users suddenly,” says Robb Reck, chief information security officer of Ping Identity.
This creates a need for non-technical project managers who specialize in helping companies make that transition.
“From a non-technical perspective, I expect an increased emphasis on business continuity professionals,” Reck said. “Companies are more likely now than ever to see the value in those who create, implement plans, run tests, and generally help their companies prepare for disasters, like COVID-19.”
Take a free cybersecurity class – or a bunch of them — and learn how to network remotely
Anyone looking to break into cybersecurity or pick up skills should take advantage of free online courses, says Zohar Rozenberg, chief strategy officer at Elron, an Israeli investment firm that focuses on cybersecurity.
The non-profit tech academy Per Scholas is now offering a free, 17-week cybersecurity course, powered by Barclays. The full-time course is designed to prepare students for an entry-level job as a cybersecurity analyst.
If you can’t attend full-time, Salesforce’s online academy Trailhead offers multiple cybersecurity courses, including instruction in the expanding area of cloud security.
Microsoft offers several dozen free security courses, from six-hour cloud security courses to seven-minute introductions.
Remote conferences will also replace more traditional trade shows, and learning how to network there will be another key, says Rozenberg.
Conferences have been a staple of the security industry for decades – where companies connect, make sales, and find new employees. Job-seekers could trust they would come home from a conference with a stack of business cards. Those days are gone – at least for now. But that doesn’t mean networking is over, Rozenberg says: “You need to understand how to find opportunities in new ways.”