By June RamliTweet
Cyberattacks are on the rise and in fact, Australian and New Zealand organisations have reported an average of 890 cyberattacks per week in the past six months according to Check Point’s Threat Intelligence report in the region.
One factor contributing to businesses falling short in protecting their operations is the shortage of security talent available to help manage security for these organisations.
This gap is such that the 2022-23 Federal Budget included high-level investments in the national cybersecurity and intelligence agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). Over the next four years, ASD will get around $4 billion to support cyber capabilities.
The shortage of qualified cybersecurity experts is pushing their salaries well into six figures, an outcome of the lack of the talent pool for these roles.
Check Point Software, a cybersecurity solution globally is calling for recent graduates, young professionals and Australians to consider a career in the cybersecurity sphere to help close the gap of cybersecurity skill shortages.
The company recently completed a round of its Young Professionals Program, which provides career paths and opportunities for young professionals to work across various teams from security engineering, sales and marketing to develop their careers in the sector.
In this exclusive interview with DailyStraits.com, Check Point Software‘s Cybersecurity Evangelist Ashwin Ram (pictured above) tells us firsthand how interested graduates or mid-career executives can pivot into the industry.
Tell us a little about your career background in cybersecurity.
My career started in a technical support role for an internet service provider and then a global roaming service provider. Looking back, I think this is where I learnt the art of breaking down complex problems to identify root causes quickly. I then moved into a professional services role with a security integrator before landing a role at Check Point as a Professional Services Consultant.
A few years later I moved across to the presales team, which was a huge mind shift change – from post-sales to pre-sales. In my current role, I’m part of the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as a Cyber Security Evangelist.
What is the salary range for cybersecurity experts in Australia from the junior, mid to top tier levels?
Several factors impact the salary range for cybersecurity experts depending on your previous experience, cybersecurity qualifications and expertise. For professionals, the key thing to ensure is that your values are aligned with the organisation you’re looking to join.
As such, the 2022-23 Federal Budget included high-level investments in the national cybersecurity and intelligence agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). Over the next four years, ASD will receive approximately $4 billion to support cyber capabilities. The shortage of qualified cybersecurity experts is pushing their salaries well into six figures, an outcome of the lack of the talent pool for these roles.
How does one pivot into the industry if one is a mid-career and from another industry?
Firstly, there is a huge shortage of cyber security skillset, so now is the right time to step into the cybersecurity industry regardless of lack of deep experience. There are lots of transferable skills that one can bring from a different industry, so don’t limit yourself from seeking out cyber-related opportunities. For anyone looking to move into a cyber-executive role or a decision-making role, foundational cyber security knowledge is crucial. In addition, cyber executives must understand cyber risks and the impact of cyber threats on their organisation will be different for different sectors. Being able to articulate the impact of cyberattacks on key business goals is one of the fundamental roles of a cyber-executive. I recommend enrolling in courses that will assist in being able to design and articulate cyber resilience strategies to the C-suite and the Board. The ability to communicate with impact at the boardroom can make or break your journey into cyber as an executive as well.
Can you tell us a typical day and life of a cybersecurity expert?
As a resource available to the entire Australia and New Zealand Check Point team, no two days are the same. I engage with Check Point clients, partners and internal teams to provide insights and recommendations on many different cyber initiatives daily. When working with businesses, each customer is unique as different organisations have different security challenges. Therefore, the conversation can be very different and often there is a lot of planning and research that goes in before I engage with organisations.
As part of the Office of the CTO, I deliver talks at cyber security conferences, engage with media, and provide threat trend updates to the industry.
Being part of a global company means I have to be flexible with my working hours. I do occasionally jump on meetings after 5 pm and sometimes even have late-night calls to accommodate different time zones. Working for a cybersecurity vendor means there are ebbs and flows of busy periods, so finding a routine can be tricky at times.
Why is it important for organisations to help close the skill shortage gap?
Cyberattacks are on the rise; in fact, Australian and New Zealand organisations have experienced an average of 890 cyberattacks per week in the last six months according to Check Point’s Threat Intelligence report on ANZ. One factor contributing to businesses falling short in protecting their operations is the shortage of security talent to help manage security for the organisations.
With the escalating development of new technologies, especially in the last few years, it is vital to close this skills gap as these digital systems are essential to run our businesses and lives, and an irreplaceable part of the way business is run. Businesses unable to secure properly skilled cybersecurity personnel can sometimes face challenges with growth and expansion.
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June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli