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The untrammelled rise of the cyber security professional

The untrammelled rise of the cyber security professional

Every week, University of Waikato’s Dr Ryan Ko gets a request from companies for skilled personnel or students in his department who would like to try for a job or do internships.

Every week, University of Waikato’s Dr Ryan Ko gets a request from companies for skilled personnel or students in his department who would like to try for a job or do internships.

“It brings back memories of the industry in the late 1990s to early 2000s where everyone doing software was in demand,” says Ko, who heads the cyber security lab at the university and its masters in cyber security.

He believes this pace and demand for skilled cyber security professionals will not slow down soon, if ever.

“If you look around the world, a lot of things depend on computers and mobile devices. The devices will be connected and as a result there will be a lot of potential security loopholes,” he states.

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He points out preparing for a career in cyber security can be done both by a university student or an IT professional looking to upskill.

“If you take it on as a student you will be able to address a gap and the job demand for cybersecurity professionals is three times more than a typical IT professional in the world,” he says. “This sort of translates to near zero unemployment rate for cyber security professionals.”

Read more: The hybrid team leader: David Kennedy of Orion Health

Demand for cyber security professionals is three times more than a typical IT professional.

Dr Ryan Ko, University of Waikato

So what makes a suitable background for the role? Ko suggests a strong interest in security in computers and a good understanding of networks operating systems and a natural interest with keeping up to date with things going on in the world are key.

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“You need to know how to build a house before you know how to secure it,” he explains.

Related:The information security-plus professional

If you sign up for a cyber-security program, there should be three aspects: Technical, legal (you need to know about the laws of the country and international laws and policies that govern all these) and management of information.

“Not only that, you also need to have an open mind,” he says. “You have got to be quick thinking, know how to respond quickly to accidents that happen.

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“You have to think out of the box so when everyone sees the thing in one way you probably have another way of solving the problem.”

A great sense of ethics is critical, he says. “This is a key principle. As security professionals, we are helping the law enforcement people, we are always faced with situations where we are protecting data.”

Ko also belongs to the group CROW for Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato. Crows are known to be highly intelligent social birds that watch over each, the group notes on the website.

He says the group focuses on research addressing data security from a user-centric perspective. With the emergence of cloud computing technologies and prevalent mobile device usage, he says there is the diminishing effectiveness of traditional cyber security approaches such as perimeter defence, intrusion detection and infrastructure hardening.

Read more: The top cyber risks for NZ in an interconnected world

“The goal is to create tools that will allow everyone to have capability to get back to business or address a security problem as easy as it is to send an SMS.”

Next: The modern CISO

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Tags leadershipcybersecurityConstellation Researchskills shortageSteve Wilsonstrategyuniversity of waikatochief information security officersGlobal Information Security Survey 2015Dr Ryan Ko

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