Contractors, meet the cyber security duo dominating right now

It’s all very well to hear that there are premiums on offer to IT contractors who jump contracts in the current climate.

And it’s even better to get some safety tips before and during making that jump.

But perhaps most crucially, where do you jump?

Or more specifically, asks James Walsh,  head of security practice at Harvey Nash Recruitment Solutions, in which areas of the IT contractor skills market is the jump most likely to be worth your while?

Well, when it comes to temporary IT placements in this current second quarter of 2018, there is – and has been for the last 12 months – a glut of demand for GRC and GDPR expertise.

Contractors in these areas are in vogue for their ability to help set the policies, standards and governance procedures for compliance with the GDPR, in force from Friday May 25th 2018.

However, many of these specialists do not possess the technical acumen to then implement the sometimes very complex technical controls. In a reflection of this issue, we’ve seen a notable rise in demand across both the public and private sectors for Cyber Security Architects and Engineers.

It’s important to recognise that each of these niche IT security contractors often mean different things to different organisations. To provide clarity on the specific skills being sought, below is a brief outline for each:

Cyber Security Architect

The trend right now (Q2 2018) is for a strong technical expert that has extensive knowledge of core networking technologies and networking services, ranging from Security Operations SIEM and SOC, right through to Intrusion Detection/Protection, Cloud Technologies and CASBs (Cloud Access Security Brokers) and DLP (Data Loss Prevention).

Cyber Security Engineer

Also sometimes referred to as ‘Cyber Analyst’ or ‘SOC Analyst’ because this skillset involves live security monitoring and protection, the Cyber Security Engineer is an expert with SIEM tools and Security Incident Management.

More and more organisations are now proactively investing in either in-house or outsourced SOC functions, creating increased demand for these skills internally, and driving up market demand where there was already scarcity.

The future

Looking ahead into Q3 and Q4 2018, we think the trend of organisations increasingly looking to bolster their technical cyber provision and enterprise-wide networks will not just continue then – but will actually extend well into 2019. This is partly thanks to organisations trying to implement the technical controls and balances in line with the GDPR coming into force.

And we’re not alone in our outlook. The UK’s rising tech talent shortage is flagged up in official research suggesting that by 2022, there will be a shortfall of more than a million workers.

‘On the ground’ this shortfall means the core shortage of strong technical cyber skills across the UK will keep niche security skillsets in demand for the foreseeable future – and hotly so, thanks to greater regulation; public interest and senior level understanding of the cyber threat.

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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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