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Edge Articles

01:45 PM
Joan Goodchild
Joan Goodchild
Edge Articles

Which InfoSec Jobs Will Best Survive a Recession?

With COVID-19 making a mess of the global economy, companies are seeking to cut corners - and some boardrooms still see security as a "cost center." Are infosec careers vulnerable now?


Managed Security Services May Get Boost

While security will still be essential, organizations may be forced to cut what they can while preserving as much security posture and maturity as possible. Theresa Lanowitz, director of cybersecurity communications with AT&T Cybersecurity, thinks the move to a managed security services (MSS) provider might make sense for some organizations that need to build a program within their budget and can't afford an internal team. 

"Organizations of all types want and need to be able to innovate safely and deliver value for its customers," she says. "As business models shift and change, this need for innovation of core competencies will become a mandate. Another mandate will be the need to reduce the complexity and cost of fighting cybercrime. Marrying these two mandates means that security practices and functions will move to an MSS model."

The Skills in Highest (and Lowest) Demand
But even amid cost-cutting, Beam says he can’t imagine how difficult it will be to hire infosec pros once the economy normalizes if companies lay off in that division now.

"If we can keep them, I will have a team that’s more loyal in the future,” Beam says. “And I am not hunting like the rest of the world. I know it’s a difficult balance if a company doesn’t have liquidity, but it will come out stronger on other side.”

And amid digital transformation and other technology investments, he thinks security professionals with cloud security expertise will be particularly hard to find. John Dickson, a principal with The Denim Group, an application security firm, echoes Beam’s statement.

"Below the surface, I see an acceleration of the trend favoring more technical security expertise, particularly involving cloud and DevOps, at the expense of softer security skills like security policy and compliance,” Dickson says.

Valmiki Mukherjee, chairman and founder of Cyber Future Foundation, a nonprofit focused on collaboration among industry, public agencies, and academia in cybersecurity.

"With so many in the industry going through digital transformation, someone well-versed in cloud security fundamentals will do very well," he says. "Every organization is now going into full-swing digital transformation. COVID-19 accelerated that. How can we secure the journey? How can we enable the journey? With cloud security platforms."

Whatever the immediate future brings, those in security who are motivated to stay relevant or, if laid off, be rehired quickly may be well-served to make the best of their downtime with education, Dickson says.

"I see companies making decisions more on performance at this point – getting rid of their 'C players,'" he says. "On an individual basis, this is an ideal time to knock out a certification or plus-up on a technical skill that you’ve been meaning to address for a long time."

While security is seen as a cost center in many organizations, it will still be a people issue when it comes down to deciding where to cut costs, Mukherjee says.

"When somebody gets fired or laid off, who goes? Those who are not trainable. They are not essential workers because they cannot flexible," he says. "If you are not a team player, you will be vulnerable."

(Continued on final page: Is infosec
more important than ever?)


Joan Goodchild is a veteran journalist, editor, and writer who has been covering security for more than a decade. She has written for several publications and previously served as editor-in-chief for CSO Online. View Full Bio
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