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#InfosecNA18: Finding and Keeping Security Teams

Finding and keeping talent in the cybersecurity industry is a challenge for organizations of all sizes around the globe. As a result, the talent market is highly competitive, which is why a panel of experts came together at this year’s Infosecurity North America conference in New York to talk about building an effective cybersecurity team in a highly competitive market.

Let by moderator Alexander Abramov, president, ISACA New York Metro, three panel members discussed what they are looking for in new recruits and how to effectively close the growing skills gap. 

“When I look for talent, I have a preference toward deep, technical talent. I have a blind spot for, so if you don’t have the social skills, come to me. I would much prefer to hire someone who doesn’t have the social skills but has the deep technical skills,” said Cindy Cullen, managing director, NDegrees, and a member of the (ISC)2 international board of directors 2019–2021.

On the flip side, Cullen said that recruiting, especially if trying to recruit someone with experience, is a real challenge. “My perspective is to work with universities. I worked with a local university on a capstone project, so I was able to see which ones were the good ones and decide whether to extend an offer or endear myself to other people.”

Not all hiring managers are looking for recruits with those deep technical skills, however. Roger Parsley, managing director, Robert Half International, said he looks for people who put the team success ahead of individual success. In return, the organization has to create a retention-focused culture in which people want to stay.

Once you get over the hurdle of finding the talent you need, you have to deal with the reality that they may choose to go elsewhere if they aren't happy. It’s what Matt McKeever, CISO, LexisNexis Legal & Professional, called the missionary versus mercenary conflict. Those who are driven by salary are likely not going to stay, so focus on keeping those employees that are driven by passion. 

One way to effectively do that is to “promote a culture of creativity and innovation within the organization,” Parsley said. “If people feel that they are engaged and have the opportunity to think outside of the box and you expose them to cutting-edge technology and involve them in design, it’s a very powerful concept.” 

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