NCSAM—Week 4: The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cybersecurity

The Lastline Daily Dose program supports National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) with daily tips and advice to help individuals and organizations detect and prevent malware-based cyberattacks. Throughout October, Lastline has offered a daily dose of advice via Twitter (@Lastlineinc), LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, aligned to the weekly themes established by the Department of Homeland Security.

The theme for week 4 of NCSAM is The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cybersecurity. Here are our daily doses of advice for October 23-27.

The theme for week 4 of NCSAM is The Internet Wants You: Consider a Career in Cybersecurity. Here are our daily doses of advice for October 23-27.

Tip 16: Why pursue a career in cybersecurity? First 2 reasons are job security & good pay. Stay tuned all week for more reasons.

If job security is important to you, then there are few fields with more opportunity than cybersecurity. Everyone agrees that there are not enough candidates with even rudimentary skills to fill the available openings. The only disagreement is how many openings need to be filled – estimates range from 1.8 to 3.5 million by 2020.

With that many openings, security professionals can pretty much pick their industry, company, and location. And should one position not work out for whatever reason, there are many, many other openings from which to choose. And salaries easily reach six figures. This recent article in Forbes magazine summarizes the situation well.

If you’re thinking that IT and info security are not particularly flashy or cool, stay tuned for our other reasons throughout this week that may change your mind.

Tip 17: Be the hero! An appealing aspect of cybersecurity is that every day you’re fighting the good fight against the bad guys.

Look around at the industries in which your friends work. Maybe they’re working on technology to help people to watch more TV, or play cooler games. Or perhaps they’re in financial services or the hospitality or entertainment industries. All fine industries, but instead, wouldn’t you want to help save the world from the bad guys? Don’t you want to be the hero?

One of the appealing aspects of a career in cybersecurity is that every day, you’re fighting the good fight to protect a company, it’s customers, its employees, and indeed society from highly skilled, professional criminals. That’s something you can feel good about. And, while we are loath to admit it, the bad guys are good at what they do, so there will always be a need for security pros to do battle with them.

Tip 18: The constant evolution of cybercrime attacks translates into a never-ending opportunity to learn and grow.

One of the challenges of fighting cybercrime is that the bad guys are continually updating and improving their attacks. For security professionals that constant evolution translates into a never-ending opportunity to learn. It’s a constant puzzle to figure out what techniques are being used against you, how to detect them, and how to prevent the attack from being successful.

Security pros have the opportunity every day to be challenged and learn something new as part of securing critical information, systems, and people. An important and rewarding aspect of that continuous learning is collaborating with peers around the world to share discoveries, insights, strategies, and techniques for detecting emerging attacks.

Tip 19: Help your company’s, and your peers’, success by protecting it from a damaging and costly data breach.

So far we’ve focused on personal benefits—job security, the opportunity to be the hero, and the chance to continually learn and discover. But some people have more selfless motives, such as helping their company to be successful. Not that there aren’t personal benefits to that, such as the perks that come with working for a growing, successful, profitable company.

Designing, implementing and managing an effective security strategy can protect your company from a damaging and costly data breach. Costs include a tarnished brand, customer churn, lower stock price, lower growth, legal costs, plus the direct costs of investigating and repairing the damage from the attack. Saving your company from these real costs and productivity losses will help your company, and all of its employees, focus on the primary business at hand, resulting in improved growth and profitability.

And there is one more personal benefit that could result. Working in security exposes you to all facets of your company; security is at the intersection of all of the critical aspects of the business. Being able to understand the role security plays in protecting new and existing business functions and initiatives without interfering with the growth of the business is essential. Such exposure and broad understanding are what senior executives look for in rising stars, and is a very realistic path to a C-level position.

Tip 20: Need 1 more reason to work in cybersecurity? For the adventure! There’s no telling where it will take you. See the world!

What better way to make this point than with personal stories. We asked our own Brian Laing, who has enjoyed a long a fruitful career in security, about his experiences.

Tell us about your travels as a security pro.

Working in security has allowed me to not only travel the world, but I also had the opportunity to live in London for 4 years. While there I was able to visit many countries throughout Europe, but I also got to fly to Saudi Arabi for incident response work with very little notice, which is a trick if you’ve ever needed a visa for that country.

Who was one of the more interesting people you met?

When I was a security consultant in the late 90’s I did an engagement at Skywalker Ranch while Star Wars Episode 1 was being worked on. This was an awesome experience where I was able to spend two weeks on site. The ranch itself was phenomenal and getting up close with film memorabilia such as the Idol from Indian Jones and Luke’s original lightsaber were some cool highlights!

Tell us about a particularly high-visibility project that you worked on.

I worked in the UK with the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID). JWID is a regular exercise where many European country’s military services and agencies engaged in a joint operational exercise to assess their cyber response.

Where are these great jobs? At Lastline, for one. We’re hiring!

Go to to see the full list of all of the daily advice we have offered throughout the month.

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