With changing times come changing tides in the job market. One decade, a certain job may be in high demand, while the next decade, a new job which no one could have imagined before is now in higher demand. Jobs that may have never previously existed are now opening up thanks to new technologies and new methods of doing business.
One of the jobs skills which is now in higher demand than ever is cyber security expertise. Many of the largest corporations in the United States are now looking for cyber experts to join their board and help guard firms against data breaches and cyber threats.
Many Fortune 500 companies, such as JPMorgan & Chase, Cardinal Health Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Deere & Co and The United Services Automobile Association are now looking to add chief information security officers to their boards in order to strengthen cyber defenses.
Many factors have contributed into this renewed interest in individuals who are able to handle cyber threats, but one of the most important and timely ones is the recent attack on Target Corp. With sensitive information of consumers compromised on a corporate level, companies who may have previously been complacent in their relative lack of cyber security are now taking notice of these new threats.
Expertise Pay Off
Because there is a relative lack of professionals with information security backgrounds, those who have the right expertise are able to demand very high wages. CISOs of various large corporations have been hired for between $500,000 and $700,000 a year. However, when this is contrasted with the current average pay of company CISOs, there is a huge discrepancy.
These individuals are typically receiving only $200,000 to $300,000 per year.
Why the difference?
Simply because corporations are now beginning to value this position more, and are asking them to step up to be nearly level with the average CIO.
Urgency is On the Rise
In the last few years, corporations have typically failed to properly address the concerns associated with cyber security. Many security experts have criticized business for being complacent with current security measures without realizing how serious their vulnerabilities are.
In fact, according to the guidelines of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, most companies are falling very short of acceptable security measures. For example, only 28% of 500 surveyed executives say their company even had a CISO.
This all may be changing, however, in light of the recent attack on Target Co. Corporations are now seeing their vulnerabilities coming to light and are seeing data security as a threat which looms as something which may undermine their entire business.
Take a look at JPMorgan as an example of corporate America deciding to get on board with data security. In 2012, their data security budget rose from $200 million to $250 million, and in 2014, they increased their pool of cyber security experts by 400 positions.
Bringing Cyber Security on the Board
Many boards of companies are now looking for cyber security experts to be on the team. While current members of boards may understand that cyber security is a serious issue, they often don’t have the knowledge to know how to properly deal with it.
Matt Aiello, who is the co-head of Hedrick & Struggles’ cyber practice says he has been seeing “unprecedented” demand for CIOs to become members of various boards. One woman who serves on boards of Akamai Technologies Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and VMWare Inc., says she expects to see higher demand for CIOs to serve on boards.
The RSA Security Senior Vice President Amit Yoran, perhaps, puts the reason for the new demand in CIOs most succinctly: “This is a realization that in many cases a business’s survival relies on the security of the technology”.
If a major data breach or cyber crime were to be committed against a major corporation, it could sink its very framework. With the business logistics of companies going online more and more often for convenience’s sake, these companies have put themselves at risk of major cyber crimes.