The 7 personality pillars of solid cybersecurity

Recruiting in cybersecurity? Here are some traits to look out for.
8 May 2019

Every year we are treated to an annual circuit of conference and exhibition events designed to showcase various technology trends, platforms, products and toolsets.

This year is no different of course and as we dive into the full-blown throws of the spring events season, we can look across the usual mix of symposia with some being vendor-specific, while others take a subject matter and attempt to garner interest from vendors on all sides.

But, although some events are topic-specific, even those more ‘generalist’ events are still quite explicit in their focus.

Some are dedicated to datacenter mechanics and cloud, some focus deliberately on all technologies relating to the Internet of Things (IoT), others still focus on certain aspects of software application development and programming… and there will always be a chunk of events devoted to examining issues relating to cybersecurity.

Cyber skills shortage

Skilled cybersecurity professionals are key for the safety of companies and governments, but estimates suggest that there is an anticipated skills shortage of 1.8 million workers by 2022. The demand for talent in this space is at an all-time high, but there are some unique personality traits that recruiters and companies need to look out for.

As something of a prelude to those cyber-centric events about to potentially crop up in our diaries, let’s look at a potential checklist of positive personality traits that describe the most diligent cyber professionals out there.

# 1 | Inquisitiveness – Good cybersecurity professionals realize that they’re walking on a moving platform. Zero-day attacks are always surfacing and the threat landscape is called a ‘landscape’ for a reason i.e. it’s as big and broad as a continent of nations. Inquisitiveness and an inherent desire to look for the unknown around the corner is imperative.

# 2 | Altruism – This is a tough one and a big ask for a lot of techies who tend to like to hide in their shell, but a good cyber-professional is one that wants to really help people and to make their lives better in terms of day-to-day risks they are exposed to.

# 3 | Cooperative – Good cyber pros need to be team players and they need to be able to work across departmental disciplines to understand the real needs of users in various roles. This kind of function cannot be performed without talking to people and intercommunicating at whatever level is required.

# 4 | Cucumber cool – Confident cybersecurity staff will be as cool as a cucumber. They know their job is dealing with hacks, worms, Trojans, malware and various forms of computer virus… and they have long accepted that fate. Much like a paramedic who knows their job will inevitably involve trauma, triage and tortuous trouble every day, they simply get on with working out how to fix the problems presented to them.

# 5 | Rapid responders – Much like the paramedics again, good cybersecurity is all about rapid response and being able to react in time to protect corporate data assets and other information streams. There’s a further medical parallel in that cyber remediation techniques need to be clinically precise, on point and executed with microscopic precision.

# 6 | Suspect everything – Just like Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French Sûreté, a good cyber protector shares the inspector’s mantra: they believe everything and they believe nothing— they suspect everyone and they suspect no one. A resolute and exhaustive approach to skepticism is key to maintain a constantly vigilant level of suspicion.

# 7 | … and finally, heavy metal – We’re not sure why heavy metal, hard rock, grunge, thrash metal, and progressive rock should pervade as the soundtrack, but it does.

So, there you have it, if your security department isn’t a bunch of inquisitive, humanistic-focused, gregarious, coolly confident, fast-moving, Inspector Jacques Clouseau-impersonating, hard rock playing nerds, then you may have some security breaches on the horizon to start worrying about.