How you can break into cybersecurity, as informed by Accenture’s head of cyber

How you can break into cybersecurity, as informed by Accenture’s head of cyber

BY Sydney LakeJuly 11, 2022, 1:27 PM Accenture emblem throughout the second day of Cell

BY Sydney LakeJuly 11, 2022, 1:27 PM

Accenture emblem throughout the second day of Cell World Congress (MWC), as seen in June 2021 in Barcelona, Spain.
(Photograph by Joan Cros—NurPhoto/Getty Pictures)

Among the many most in-demand industries is cybersecurity. Main firms, together with these within the Fortune 500 are in determined want of the expertise, as beforehand reported by Fortune, however are operating out of choices of the place to show. One problem? Cybersecurity requires a variety of abilities to achieve success—and never all of them may be taught in a classroom setting.

“By way of the expertise shortfall, I believe one of many issues that’s arduous to understand about cyber expertise is it’s not prefer it’s only one talent set—there’s at the least 17 discrete talent units wanted for cybersecurity,” Ryan LaSalle, head of Accenture Safety’s North America follow, tells Fortune. Accenture is a worldwide Fortune 500 expertise and consulting firm and employs greater than 500,000 folks throughout the globe. 

Accenture officers together with LaSalle are of the angle that cybersecurity expertise may be developed in folks even with no technical background. For that purpose, the corporate affords a large number of coaching alternatives for present and future workers to study cybersecurity abilities. These embody Accenture’s apprenticeship program and upskilling packages for present workers who’re all for making a profession swap to cybersecurity. 

Fortune sat down with LaSalle to study extra concerning the cybersecurity expertise demand the corporate is seeing and what it takes to be a profitable cybersecurity skilled. 

Cybersecurity expertise demand

Fortune: What does cybersecurity service demand appear to be for Accenture?

LaSalle: For certain, cyber expertise is in excessive demand. By way of the expertise shortfall, I believe one of many issues that’s arduous to understand about cyber expertise is it’s not prefer it’s only one talent set—there’s at the least 17 discrete talent units wanted for cybersecurity. And inside these, there’s totally different product traces and technical- and process-related abilities that make it actually, actually arduous to outline precisely what we want within the cyber talent space. 

There’s undoubtedly a technical side to cyber that I believe is what most individuals take into consideration when they consider cybersecurity. The hackers—the individuals who actually perceive how computer systems work and abuse them after which defend from that abuse.

However there’s additionally an enormous human dimension to it. How do you assist psychologically enhance the way in which that folks in organizations reply to cyber threats? How do you assist make folks more durable targets? How do you prepare and alter behaviors and enhance risk-based determination making and all these various things that cyber professionals have to have the ability to do as a way to be efficient with these technical options? It’s a very broad talent house.

What sort of cybersecurity roles does Accenture rent for?

The massive joke in cybersecurity is that everybody’s in search of entry stage folks with 5 years of expertise. We spend a lot time making an attempt to get to the correct set of credentials that we’re not in search of the correct qualities. We undoubtedly search for skilled hires to assist make our follow higher. We search for people who find themselves seasoned professionals and are specialists within the discipline and are generally even luminaries of their discipline to assist lead and increase the capabilities we will ship. 

We additionally search for very junior, entry-level people who find themselves extra uncooked expertise and are enthusiastic about beginning a profession in safety and in search of methods to enter and serve a structured improvement program that enables them to select up the abilities and turn out to be that skilled over time. So we have a look at all totally different ranges and totally different entry factors into the profession mannequin.

How you can pursue a profession in cybersecurity

What does it take to be a very good cybersecurity skilled?

We’re definitely in search of technical abilities. The transfer to the cloud has made each firm, each group, each company notice that there’s a spot of their information base of their groups, not simply in transfer their enterprises to the cloud, but in addition how to do this securely. It requires a unique mind-set. There’s totally different tooling; there’s totally different approaches that it’s good to take. Ensuring that we now have the very best cloud safety workforce potential implies that our shoppers can get to the cloud quicker. They will obtain these advantages quicker and extra securely when we now have the correct expertise. 

We’re undoubtedly in search of folks in that house, however safety is pervasive and it’s going into all totally different elements of how enterprises and companies and authorities companies work. It’s going into the boardroom and into the C-suite to assist them work out what sort of selections they’re taking over after they’re taking over new strategic strikes: How do they steadiness the danger of these issues? In product engineering, it’s ensuring that every one the brand new shopper units which might be delivery are secured by design and ensuring that they’ll maintain the safety of these issues as soon as they’re within the discipline.

It’s trying on the explosion of regulatory necessities on firms and companies to attest to what they’re doing and serving to to know make sense of all these laws and switch them into motion. 

What sort of schooling do it’s good to be a cybersecurity skilled?

There are totally different archetypes of how folks discover their means into safety. I’m not classically skilled in safety. I discovered my means into it on the midpoint of my profession. Numerous different folks have related tales of how they discovered their means into safety. I do just like the undergrad and credit score college packages which might be placing some rigor round info safety. I used to be a pc engineering undergraduate and didn’t have a single safety class in any of my pc engineering and pc science courses. That wasn’t actually one thing we discovered about once we have been studying about massive advanced programs and networking and any of that stuff.

I’m actually glad that persons are placing these packages in place. The NSA Facilities of Tutorial Excellence and people sorts of packages have actually helped improve the rigor and readiness of the scholars who come out of these packages. And we do rent out of these packages. 

We additionally rent individuals who aren’t in these packages and don’t have a safety background who’ve an actual penchant for studying and who’re self-taught. Perhaps they’re in pc science, however perhaps they’re not. Perhaps they’re in anthropology or economics or social science. They usually’ve received a means of approaching issues that mixes each their creativity and their inquisitiveness and so they’re selecting up safety abilities alongside the way in which. We’re pleased to show them. 

After which I additionally see one other trajectory, that are people who find themselves someplace of their profession and so they wish to make a change. A few of these continued teaching programs, certification packages, self-study packages, and even a few of the grasp’s levels, and on-line packages actually assist these of us make the pivot with some confidence. 

We’ll take an opportunity on folks on a regular basis. We’ve carried out it time and again once we discover those that we expect have an actual potential in safety. When folks have demonstrated with their very own dedication to undergo a type of packages, it helps them with their very own confidence and helps us with our confidence that we all know it’s a safer wager.

We’ve talked concerning the technical aptitude it takes to achieve success in cybersecurity. What different traits ought to these professionals have?

It’s attention-grabbing as a result of I believe there’s an entire lot occurring available in the market proper now and there are psychographic and behavioral evaluation to attempt to determine that actual query. There are firms on the market who’re constructing merchandise to assist discover the needles within the haystacks of the individuals who might turn out to be nice in cybersecurity—individuals who haven’t discovered their means into safety. However for me, what I’ve discovered is there are a pair issues that tie our professionals collectively. 

The primary is an actual sense of mission. It’s that actual conscience that claims: “Day-after-day, I wish to stand up and I wish to assist defend our lifestyle.” That could be a very distinct and distinctive attribute of safety professionals. So if somebody has that robust, ethical compass, actually robust sense of mission and function, safety may be for them.

The second is the hacker persona: any person who rattles the locks on all of the doorways and home windows and tries to seek out their means in. And a tinker equally is experimenting. They’re making an attempt to study by doing it and get their palms soiled whereas doing it. That tends to lend itself very effectively to safety.

The final one I believe is creativeness as a result of most safety failures are literally a failure of creativeness to suppose just like the attacker. Once you possess a terrific creativeness, it could assist put your self within the perspective of who desires to take one thing you might have, or do one thing to you, or have a motivation to to assault your organization. You may suppose otherwise about defend the corporate. 

How Accenture approaches cybersecurity upskilling

What sort of cybersecurity upskilling does Accenture provide?

We’ve two other ways of tackling that. We’ve a learn-by-doing program referred to as our Apprenticeship Program, which seems at folks from non-traditional backgrounds that haven’t historically discovered their means into consulting and in skilled companies. We have a look at folks from non-four-year levels from different community-based organizations and produce them in and put them in one-year lengthy developmental roles in safety. You receives a commission as an apprentice, and also you get placed on these packages and tasks. It’s a yr of studying by doing.

Moreover, we discovered that different folks at Accenture and different those that we’ve recruited generally profit from upskilling and reskilling, as effectively. If I discover a information analyst who has a penchant for that mission and creativity piece and so they wish to be a part of safety, I’ve an upskilling program for them. They might be in a unique profession trajectory middle. I can carry them in and put them by way of a pen testing program or put them by way of a cloud safety program and so they can upskill and reskill on the job after which begin their new profession with our safety enterprise.

What different recommendation do you might have for aspiring cybersecurity professionals?

The expertise scarcity will not be a provide facet downside. It’s an attractiveness downside. We’ve to do higher at luring folks and serving to them seize their creativeness, serving to them perceive why this can be a nice trade to be in. Then the availability will come and we may help construct these folks. We all know do it. Virtually everyone in safety didn’t begin in safety. All of them discovered it alongside the way in which.

We all know we will do it. We simply need to make it thrilling and horny for different folks.