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Post-Pandemic Tech Job Market: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Article | August 30, 2021

As we emerge from the worst pandemic in a century, many public- and private-sector employees and employers are reassessing their options within technology and cybersecurity roles. Are boom times coming soon for tech companies, cybersecurity professionals and others? Marketplace.org recently posted the headline, “Are we headed for a Roaring ’20s economy?” Here’s an excerpt: “A year ago, when most of the country was under stay-at-home orders and people were losing jobs at an unprecedented rate, we asked three people who study economic history to explain whether the recession on the horizon was going to look anything like the Great Depression. “With the vaccine rollout well underway, weekly unemployment claims at their lowest level since the pandemic began and consumer confidence rising, we’ve asked them about a different historical comparison: the 1920s.” Meanwhile, NBC News reported “There are now more jobs available than before the pandemic. So why aren't people signing up?” Here’s a quote from that piece: “The number of job vacancies soared to nearly 15 million by mid-March, but discouraged, hesitant and fearful job seekers means many positions are still unfilled, according to new data from online job site ZipRecruiter. “Online job postings plunged from 10 million before the start of the pandemic last year to just below 6 million last May, as lockdowns and shutdown orders forced businesses to close their doors and reduce or lay off workers.” Meanwhile, according to KPMG in the U.K., tech’s job market is growing at the fastest pace in two years. “The move towards new remote and hybrid working arrangements, new spending priorities for businesses around IT infrastructure, automation and the huge shift to online retail are likely to provide a long-term boost to sales and investment in the tech sector,” said KPMG’s chair Bina Mehta. One more — thecyberwire.com just reported that the skills gap is getting wider regarding cybersecurity jobs: “The cybersecurity industry is projected to triple year-over-year through 2022, yet the workforce shortage still stands at millions worldwide. With a 273 percent increase in large-scale data breaches in the first quarter of 2020 alone, employing more cybersecurity professionals is a pressing challenge for both companies looking to hire in-house and cybersecurity agencies alike. “According to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, there are now more than 4.07 million unfilled cybersecurity positions across the world. Despite high entry salaries, recession-proof job security and plentiful career opportunities, there are simply not enough trained cybersecurity professionals to fill the skills gap.” BAD TREND — AND EVEN SOME UGLY MIXED IN I recently posted a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on LinkedIn entitled “Employers are hiring again but struggling to find workers.” Here’s an excerpt: “Chris New said he has turned down $250,000 in business because he just can’t hire enough laborers and drivers at his Carrollton-based company, Barnes Van Lines. “There are plenty of people without jobs, but unemployment benefits give them too much incentive not to work, he said. ‘We advertise and nobody comes in looking for a job. A lot of people are taking advantage of the system. It’s really killing us.’” Although the focus on this article was not technology or cybersecurity jobs, many of the comments were tech- and cyber-related. Marlin Brandys: So how do they explain people like me with a B.S. in networking and cybersecurity and an NCSP both from 2020 and I can’t even get an interview for a tier 1 help desk job? All these posts and stories from corporate America, universities, government agencies selling the bogus skills gap and shortage story. This platform alone has 1,000s of cyber qualified people able and willing to work in entry level positions at entry level pay and benefits. Stop the madness already. I applied for unemployment 01/08/2021. It’s now 04/19/2021 and I haven’t seen a dime of unemployment compensation. I’ll gladly take an entry-level position in cyber. Quinn Kuzmich: Marlin Brandys - Honestly one of the unspoken truths of the security industry is age discrimination. Sad but true. Dave Howe: Quinn Kuzmich - broadly true across all of IT though. They stand around demanding someone "do something" about the "skills shortage" but exclude 90% of candidates based on an arbitrary checklist, and 75% more based on illegal age, sex or race discrimination, disguised as "culture fit" Joseph Crouse: Marlin Brandys you're overqualified. Marlin Brandys: Joseph Crouse, I wish I could believe that. For some types of positions in the teaching or instructing silo maybe, for entry level information security I do not believe so. Dave Howe: Marlin Brandys - it's difficult to tell. I have seen "entry level" roles demand a CISSP and CEH. Gregory Wilson: 300+ applications and 4 interviews... No job yet... Overqualified, not enough experience, ghosted.... REALITY — I'm over 60 and nobody will hire me... All the BS aside, there are lots of people ready to work... Pay them what they're worth! Dave Howe: I think there is a bigger picture. Welfare shouldn't be so generous as to encourage people to stay on it, but equally, it shouldn't be so stingy as to cause people to struggle to stay afloat (meet rent, put food on the table, however basic, keep the power on) — there is need for balance. Equally though, an entry -evel role where a worker is willing to put in a nominal 40 hours at a routine, boring but not dangerous or unpleasant job should pay sufficient after expenses so as to be able to afford some luxuries above and beyond what welfare provides — if you are no better off, then that job is underpriced and needs either automation to improve output so as to make paying more a better proposition, or automating entirely and the job eliminated. If the job is dangerous, distasteful or involves unsociable hours, then that should be reflected in the pay, above and beyond what a "basic" job should provide. The answer should never be "we need to cut welfare so that they will take my crappy, low paid job out of desperation, because adding automation means upfront costs and I don't want to pay any more" You can join in on that LinkedIn conversation here: SOLUTIONS, PLEASE This Forbes article offers some interesting perspectives on how both employers and employees can succeed in the coming post-COVID cybersecurity world, while offering a new model for our future workforce: “Cybersecurity is a striking example of where the supply-demand gap for personnel is particularly volatile, with companies routinely lacking both the technology and available human capital needed to integrate relevant, highly skilled workers at the same speed as their unprecedented digital transformation. When the COVID-19 pandemic forcibly distributed security teams, organizations were given a new perspective as to how remote teams can de-risk innovation. Now, many are moving to industrialize the 'new normal' of cybersecurity with greater efficiencies across their internal programs and the software development life cycle by seamlessly integrating expert security talent on-demand.” While this coming boom may not be good news for state and local governments who struggle to compete with the private sector for the most talented tech and cyber staff, there are new options opening up for public-sector employees as well. This research finds that many retirees want to come back and work 10 to 20 hours a week, especially if they can work remotely. Many groups are training workers for the post-pandemic job market. I also have spoken with CISOs and other technology leaders in both the public and private sectors who are much more open to hiring out-of-state workers, even though they would never have allowed that before the pandemic. And finally, what about those who can’t find work, despite the supposed “boom times” that are coming? Last year, I wrote this blog describing why some skilled cyber pros are still not getting jobs. Here are just a handful of the reasons I listed there: People are living or looking in the wrong places. They want a local job and do not want to move. (Note: More remote hiring is happening now with COVID-19, but it is still unclear if many of these jobs will go “back to the office” after the pandemic. This leads to hesitancy in taking a job in another part of the country.) Insistence on remote work. While this is easier during the pandemic, some people want 100 percent remote without travel, which can limit options. Also, some hiring managers are not clear if remote jobs will last after the pandemic restrictions are lifted, so they want to hire locally. Company discrimination due to older worker applicants. Yes, I agree with my colleagues that this is alive and well in 2020. Other forms of discrimination exist as well, such as race and gender. Lack of professional networking — especially true during COVID-19. They don’t have personal connections and have a hard time meeting the right people who are hiring or can help them find the right job. Attitude, character, work ethic, humility, etc. I have written several blogs just on this topic, but some people never get the job because they come across in interviews as entitled or too angry or having a bad attitude. They scare off hiring managers. For more on this topic, see “7 reasons security pros fail (and what to do about it)” and “Problem #3 for Security Professionals: Not Enough Humble Pie” and “Problem 5: Are You An Insider Threat?” Putting this all together, I love my brother Steve’s perspective on individual career opportunities and selling your ideas (and yourself) to those both inside and outside your organization: “It’s all about the right product at the right place at the right time at the right price — with the right person delivering the message to the right decision-maker.” FINAL THOUGHTS During a recent vacation to northern Arizona, I found myself working in a coffee shop surrounded by several men and women that were supporting global companies with technology projects. Conversations were all over the map regarding application enhancements and complex deliverables for some industry-leading names. I was frankly a bit shocked that all of this work was being run out of a coffee shop — with a few video conference calls to people’s homes. The “new normal” of global workforces became more of a reality to me, and I see this trend accelerating even after the pandemic. Article Orginal Source: https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/post-pandemic-tech-job-market-the-good-bad-and-ugly

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5 Benefits of Investing in Cyber Security & IT solutions in 2021

Article | August 30, 2021

Cyber Security has quickly evolved from being just an IT problem to a business problem. Recent attacks like those on Travelex and the SolarWinds hack have proved that cyber-attacks can affect the most solid of businesses and create PR nightmares for brands built painstakingly over the years. Investing in cyber security training, cyber security advisory services and the right kind of IT support products, has therefore, become imperative in 2021. Investing in cyber security infrastructure, cyber security certification for employees and IT solutions safeguards businesses from a whole spectrum of security risks, ransomware, spyware, and adware. Ransomware refers to malicious software that bars users from accessing their computer system, whereas adware is a computer virus that is one of the most common methods of infecting a computer system with a virus. Spyware spies on you and your business activities while extracting useful information. Add social engineering, security breaches and compromises to your network security into the mix, and you have a lethal cocktail.

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A 4 Step Guide to Stronger OT Cybersecurity

Article | August 30, 2021

Security and risk management leaders at organizations around the world are increasingly concerned about cybersecurity threats to their operational technology (OT) networks. A key driver behind this is that cyberthreats, like disruptionware, are increasing in quantity and sophistication all the time. Industrial control system (ICS) networks are categorized as high risk because they are inherently insecure, increasingly so because of expanding integration with the corporate IT network, as well as the rise of remote access for employees and third parties. An example of an IT network within a control system is a PC that’s running HMI or SCADA applications. Because this particular PC wasn’t set up with the initial intention of connecting to IT systems, it typically isn’t managed so can’t access the latest operating system, patches, or antivirus updates. This makes that PC extremely vulnerable to malware attacks. Besides the increased cyberthreat risk, the complexity resulting from IT–OT integration also increases the likelihood of networking and operational issues.

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A Closer Look at the Microsoft Exchange Server Cyberattacks

Article | August 30, 2021

We recently posted an article that highlighted the high-profile Microsoft Exchange hack that impacted hundreds of thousands of organizations across the globe. (This article offered some recommendations on how this could have been avoided as well as a special three-month offer to help any company who may have been affected.) Since this cyber attack, even more details are emerging. For example, the White House recently urged victims to quickly patch applications and systems and pushed for them to do it as quickly as possible. One senior administration official emphasized that the window to update these systems could be measured in hours, not even days.

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Infoguard Cyber Security

Infoguard was founded in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley in 2004 in response to the growing need for top quality services at reasonable rates. Since then many organizations have experienced, with a great level of satisfaction, the technical expertise and quality service provided by our professionals.

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