5 industry experts reveal the pros and cons of working in cyber security

In a recent conversation with a soon-to-be university student, I was asked what it’s like to work in the security industry. I laughed and said that working in marketing for a security company is a whole different world from actually working in the security industry – but I promised I’d get some answers.

While I’m passionate about security and keen to learn as much as I can, I’m not in a position to answer that question and I’m not going to pretend I am.

So I did what marketers do best and I badgered a huge number of security experts until I got five responses. I joke; here are five hand-picked information security experts telling us what their favourite and least favourite parts of working in cyber security are:

daveDave Waterson –  SentryBay CEO – @DavidLWaterson

What’s your favourite part about working in the security industry?

Daily intellectual stimulation. New technology and new threats are a constant in this industry, and our challenge is to develop effective countermeasures. Security is a constant game of cat-and-mouse with attackers and defenders both striving to get the upper hand. It’s an arms race. It’s an intellectual contest. One has to stay up to date with the latest technical developments and then be creative in coming up with innovative solutions to combat the latest threats. This is exciting – it’s great learning new stuff every day. The security industry certainly is a great challenge for those with high intellectual curiosity.

What’s your least favourite part about working in the security industry?

Acronyms. There are many hundreds of them in our field. Too many. Eric Conrad’s CISSP Study Guide, for example, has over 250 of the more common security acronyms. NIST lists over 1000. It is difficult remembering them all. Many security practitioners use too many acronyms, forgetting their audience often do not know the meaning.

neiraNeira Jones – Independent Advisor & International Speaker – @neirajones

What’s your favourite part about working in the security industry?

This industry is so diverse that it never gets boring! I learn every day, and every day criminals find new ways of perverting technology advancements, which in turn creates a competitive and innovative environment.

What’s your least favourite part about working in the security industry?

Two things: first, the fact that organisations still don’t concentrate on fixing the basics, as evidenced by many industry reports, and second, the fact that too many people think that security is about technology…

kaiKai Roer – Security Culture Coach, author and public speaker – @kairoer

What’s your favourite part about working in the security industry?

I get to learn new things constantly – there is never a moment of status quo. Meeting with and discussing topics with some of the smartest people on the planet enables me to see things in new perspectives and better understand how we can build better security today and tomorrow. Personally, I get to travel around the world to meet amazing people and organizations, and I love that. Since I am very concerned about culture in general, and security culture specifically, seeing how different organizations fail or succeed with their security efforts, is particularly important, and enable me to identify the best-practices that enable great security culture.

My favourite part is the amazing people in the industry!

What’s your least favourite part about working in the security industry?

Many security professionals I meet seem to lack an understanding of people in general, and thus fail to adjust their own behaviour to accommodate the needs of others as well as the needs of their organizations. The result is failing awareness programmes, a sole focus on compliance or technology, or an alienation of the security function – instead of being a business enabler and risk-function, these people create a strong, negative impact on their organizations. As it was said at the Security Culture Conference in Oslo last week, some security people are very good at putting the NO in “innovation”. Changing the perspective, and understanding that security is there to keep the business growing, and not killing it, is what these people need.

Brian_Honan_400x400Brian Honan – BH Consutling CEO – author of ‘ISO 27001 in a Windows Environment’

What’s your favourite part about working in the security industry?

The element I enjoy most about working in the security industry ‎is how many within the industry work together for the greater good. Even though many of us online work for rival firms we still share information and other details in order to make the internet a safer place for all.

What’s your least favourite part about working in the security industry?

There can be a lot of negativity in our business, after all many view us as trying to stop things from happening by using security as the excuse. Other peeves include those businesses that see security as a compliance challenge and look to do the bare minimum to get by. But what annoys me most are companies and individuals who use FUD to promote their products or services. We have enough challenges defending our systems without sensationalist PR or headlines distracting us from our core responsibilities

mikkoMikko Hypponen – F-Secure CRO – @Mikko

What’s your favourite part about working in the security industry?

After 24 years in the business, I haven’t had a boring day yet.

Mikko did not provide me with a least favourite – perhaps that means he enjoys every aspect!

Do you have some pro’s or con’s that you’d like to share? Comment below or tweet them to us.

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3 Comments

  1. Avinash 6th October 2015
  2. Rebecca Moran 6th October 2015
  3. Peter McLarty (@petermclarty) 12th October 2015