Contractors' Questions: Which IT security skills do London clients want?

Contractor’s Question: Is it possible to come up with a definitive list of IT security skills that organisations in London are demanding, and will demand throughout the rest of this year?

Expert’s Answer: Within Cyber Security, the market continues to develop with a consistent influx of new technologies mixing with the ever present and stalwart tech of old.

This has opened the doors to opportunities and developments across a variety of skills and industries, influenced by both political and technology change.

The GDPR and Trade Secrets Act coming into effect in May and June respectively will have a big impact on data governance, security and transparency and how companies approach these subjects. It is estimated over 80,000 DPO’s (Data Protection Officers) will need to be hired in 2018 which will provide an exciting opportunity for those looking to upskill or change sector. Those working within a compliance, risk, legal, PMO or IT security role currently would be considered the most natural transition.

Application and mobile security will increase as attacks on devices and networks through mobile applications continues. Vulnerabilities within the Google App Store have been uncovered with malicious content being found in a host of seemingly everyday applications. With about 80% market share of the mobile phone market and Android OS running on Open Source, security developers will be in increasing demand.

New and rapidly developing strains of malware have been testing the quality of thousands of security systems throughout the year. Examples of large-scale breaches have cluttered news feeds throughout last year; Petya, NotPetya, WannaCry, Bad Rabbit et al. have acted as the much-needed catalyst for change to many organisations.

Some attacks from 2017 were a resurgence of old-style attacks highlighting that corporations adapt their security tactics. With early rumours of malware being developed with AI functionality, the demand for researchers, developers and architects will remain a constant throughout 2018.

The UK government believes that an imminent threat of Cyber Terrorism will occur, which is why investments have been made for the National Cyber Security Centre which went operational October 2016. This year’s budget has promised to invest heavily into technology, specifically for 5G, Artificial Intelligence and Driverless Cars with each of these presenting an opportunity for further development into security. The latter is posing a huge threat to the vanguard companies in the automotive industry, so expect to see an equally large increase in security roles within it.

The range of skills within Cyber Security are too numerous to list all together. And with the ever-changing security environment, it can be difficult to pin down exactly what the market is calling for. In spite of this, there are areas that do remain consistent in the need for skilled contract workers. GDPR consultants are in hot supply for contract positions as companies gear up for May 2018, with Data Protection Officers in permanent roles increasing alongside their GDPR contracting counterparts.

Cyber Threat and Cyber Intelligence professionals are in increasing demand as with the rise and variance in destructive technologies on the market, so to do is the rise in threats against them. The malware landscape as outlined above highlights just this, combinations of revamped classic attacks combined with contemporary styles is causing large scale and costly attacks on a variety of industries and verticals.

The demand for penetration testers across all levels remains a must-have skill for clients of all distinctions. Particular focus has been had on penetration testers who have expanded their skill-sets to incorporate developing.

The expert’s answer is based on an extract from the 2018 IT Salary Guide of London recruitment agency Morgan McKinley.

Wednesday 14th Feb 2018
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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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