If you’re asking yourself, “How much should I spend on cybersecurity?” this Gartner report has the answer: “The amount you spend does not reflect your level of protection.” This extends to hiring cybersecurity experts as well. Often, a qualified cybersecurity expert can be hard to find locally and too expensive when you do find one.
There’s more. Cybersecurity is integral to your company’s development. The pace at which your team and business grow depends on hiring cybersecurity experts. You worry that delaying the hire is leaving your company exposed. Does that sound familiar?
In a way, hiring cybersecurity experts is a specialized skill. You need to prepare for the task, and Relevant is here to help you. This article has everything you need to know about hiring a cybersecurity expert, including the most practical and affordable choices.
Please note that the salaries and hourly rates mentioned in this article don’t equal the cost of hiring offshore software developers through outsourcing companies. Read more about how offshore software development cost is formed in another article.
Table of Contents
Before hiring cybersecurity experts, you need to know exactly what you want. Like all software roles, there’s no one description or title for a cybersecurity expert; there are only relevant skills. Even so, let’s take a look at some common roles and the skills required.
Application security engineers should have an interest in writing software and coding every day. It’s what they’ll be doing at the job. An indication is that they are part of open-source projects or have a record of making their own tools. A degree in computer science or computer engineering is definitely an advantage.
Security engineers create and implement processes that keep a company’s systems secure. They’re the gatekeepers against cybersecurity breaches. They must understand the industry and the organization since they need to know the workflow, evaluate security issues, and even anticipate possible issues as the organization changes or grows.
Security engineers need to be able to think fast, because they’ll be first responders in case of an incident, and a strong understanding of computer forensics will help diagnose and track the issue. It’s essential that they have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or something similar. This is a relatively senior role, so prior experience in IT security is necessary.
They’re in charge of your company’s network hardware and software. A network security engineer should be able to both establish and manage the network’s security.
This includes ensuring the firewall is up and running, setting up VPNs (virtual private networks), email security, and maintaining company servers. Managing the network means they will have to assess security risks to find vulnerabilities.
Network security engineers typically need a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) qualification.
Information security analysts deal directly with finding solutions for security problems. They have to be able to find security threats and come up with strategies to keep company data and networks secure from breaches. Large companies will have analysts working with specialists in networking and IT to set up security protocols.
They’ll need a bachelor’s degree in IT or network security, along with some actual experience. There are also additional qualifications, such as those related to ISO 27001 certification.
IT security specialists are the experts on an organization’s cybersecurity measures. This could range from configuring cutting-edge security software to instructing employees on data security. They also analyze past vulnerabilities to prevent future breaches.
However, cybersecurity means a range of things in an organization, so companies often have a specialist for each specific area, from web applications to networks.
IT security specialists need a degree in computer science or a related field. Relevant exams and certifications are a huge plus.
A penetration test is a simulated attack to understand just how vulnerable a system is to data loss. It’s a form of ethical hacking that then leads to solutions on how to prevent breaches. Penetration testers are experts at identifying weaknesses in digital systems and networks.
A penetration tester should ideally have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering, cybersecurity, or IT. They usually develop their skills in network-related roles before taking on full-time ones. Certifications in penetration testing, ethical hacking, and related fields add to the experience.
Security consultants need to be able to analyze all security measures implemented in a company. They are required to know the best security systems and methods, study breaches, and manage the implementation of solutions. In addition to technical expertise, they must also be aware of regulatory needs and laws on data protection.
Security consultants should have a degree in computer science, information security, cybersecurity, and related fields. Some expertise in IT business and cybersecurity laws add to the role.
This specialist’s primary role would be to design systems that are resistant to cybersecurity threats. A security architect needs to have both hardware and software knowledge, skills in programming, and the ability to create cybersecurity policies. This is a senior role requiring experience in planning and managing computer and network security. It is also a leadership role that requires strong communication and organization skills.
Now that you know who they are, you’ll want to know how much their skills cost. Once again, there isn’t one answer. How much you pay depends on factors ranging from seniority and expertise to where they live. The following gives you an idea, based on average salaries collected by career sites.
But just knowing how much to pay isn’t enough when hiring cybersecurity experts.
“There’s no such thing as a ‘safe system’ — only safer systems.” That’s from Google’s job description for a security engineer. It’s the sort of understanding that you should be looking for in your expert, apart from all the technical requirements.
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Here is a typical job description for an application security engineer. Now, this is only a basic set of requirements, with each industry having an additional set of needs.
We are looking for a skilled security engineer to work on internal and external software products with a focus on security. On a regular day, you will analyze software design and implementation to assess risks. You will work to develop standards, solve security problems, and set up defenses at each phase of the software development cycle.
When you’ve found a candidate that matches the job description, you still need to ensure they’ve actually got the expertise and the personality to do what you need done.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a checklist to hire cybersecurity experts? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Yes, there are some things all cybersecurity experts need to know. It’s also a bit easier when you know exactly what you want your hire to do. Nevertheless, here is a list of common questions to ask a cybersecurity expert.
There are so many questions to ask when hiring a cybersecurity expert, and at least some of them will be based on experience and industry. The following questions, though, are the most common ones.
Personality and curiosity are the sort of skills you cannot provide training for. It’s inherent and often just as essential as technical skills.
Modern IT employment is not restricted to in-house talent. Even highly technical skills are part of the gig economy, and it’s not difficult to find great freelancers. Then there’s also the option of using another company’s assets to complete projects. Let’s look at all options you have to hire a cybersecurity expert.
The gig economy is very organized now. Platforms for freelancers, like Upwork, Freelancer.com, YouTeam, and Toptal, offer a systematic way to find specialists. You create an account, advertise for the role, and choose from the best freelancers on the platform. There’s some good and some bad that comes with this option.
Hiring is difficult. It was once the only way of doing business and still makes sense for key positions. It’s a process that takes a lot of time, effort, and is a long-term investment.
Imagine what it would be like to have a team ready to go as soon as you decide on a project or a product. Outstaffing is an excellent option if you’ve decided an in-house team is not what you want.
This doesn’t mean there’s a limit on the scope of the project. It could be big-budget or small, short-term, or long-term. What you’re getting is reliable talent that reports to you at a much lower cost.
You select a team that fits your cybersecurity development needs, and they come with the tools and technology required to complete the task. For instance, Relevant Software provides everything you need to hire the experts you want. But they can also do all the preliminary work, cover the bases, and you only need to make the final choices.
Now, while this might seem like an easy option, there is an obvious danger. You have to find the right company. This is not easy. You can always Google “the best outsourcing firms,” but that’s not efficient.
Instead, go to a website like Clutch. It’s a trusted service that reviews B2B IT solutions providers. There’s a lot of data available that helps you choose the right one.
Relevant Software works with mature cybersecurity engineers, and 92% of the team is composed of specialists with advanced degrees located in Ukraine. We provide application and cloud security as well as penetration testing services and IT security consultancy.
We know how to safeguard your company against cyberattacks. Here are some companies we have worked with, providing talent and extending our cybersecurity expertise:
Hiring cybersecurity experts is complex because there are a number of skills to consider, and even small companies need experienced experts for cybersecurity development. The business-minded option — considering cost, time, and flexibility — would be to outsource cybersecurity expertise. So, if you’re looking for a vendor with top cybersecurity professionals and hands-on experience in the field, contact us.