Cerberus Sentinel: cybersecurity industry will grow in 2021
With over 25 years of experience and a wealth of industry knowledge in technology and sales, Bill Santos, President & COO of discusses the current cybersecurity landscape and his predictions for 2021.
Could you talk me through the current landscape for your industry as we count down the final weeks of 2020?
The current cyber security industry has accelerated, probably 5 years ahead of expectations. Recent information reports a 0 percent jobless rate in cyber since 2011, with 3.2 to 3.8M open jobs in the field. With the dramatic increase in home-based staff, questions now are, “is my data protected while accessing it?” and “what measures do we as a company put in place to protect our assets”. Prior, security was not the top of the list of to-do’s; it’s been a topic, but not a priority. Cyber in recent years was a buzz word and people knew it was out there, but not exactly what the different aspects of cyber. Over the next year it will be more of a learning curve of what Cyber experts can do or represent in the protection of organizations around the globe.
How have you seen your industry evolve this year?
Simply, there has been an overwhelming need and demand for services. Many requests have come through from organizations being hacked and have reached out to others to help them find the companies that can assist in incident response / forensics and then able to remediate the damage that may have been caused.
What technology and/or approaches have you seen emerge in the industry due to COVID-19? How do these compare to before the outbreak?
It has almost been an awakening in the country about how serious cyber is and the serious nature/issues to the companies it can affect. Reputation, name brand, time to repair, lost revenue from production and the companies all have a soft and hard cost. My opinion, the last few years people have felt it would never happen to them or their company. Now it’s “When” not “IF” it will happen. Awareness will only be greater over the next couple years as hackers / bad actors become more aggressive, incidents are up more than 300% from previous years. This will only get worse. Instead of getting out of high school and or college and going to get a job, today, just look at the huge jobless rate around the world and wonder do you get a job. Some take their learning or computer skills to work from home and figure hacking can make more than any salary, but at a criminal risk. You don’t need to pull out a gun and rob a house or bank, but do it from your couch or desk at home. Due to the nature of people being driven out of work and into their homes it has created more bad actors to join in the criminal ranks of Cyber.
What are your predictions for the industry in 2021 and beyond?
Cyber has 3.2M to 3.8M job openings to fill and it will grow even bigger over the next few years. It’s an old industry and over the last few years has become a popular job in both the public and government sector. There are schools who are teaching it and it is successful, but would you want a 15 to 20 year seasoned veteran special forces to assist in a conflict or someone out of boot camp.
It takes years of hands on experience to understand the nuances of our profession, we still learn new things every day that are created for nefarious purposes of getting data or breaching organizations. IT professionals are starting to take up Cyber, but IT and cyber are comparative of a Heart surgeon or a Generalist Family practice doctor. Both are needed, just different skill sets, which are vastly different.
What are the current challenges in the industry?
The biggest challenge today is there are not enough qualified people for Cyber security, nor will there be in the near future. Fulfilling the demand is limited by the qualified supply of people.
The second biggest challenge is the companies who move to cyber from other industries and portray the message of providing professional cyber security services. This is taking advantage of the hype and the market while it’s becoming a hotbed for an industry. This is a problem, I’d never try and dismantle a bomb that has been placed in a building or even try. Why, because I do not have the experience nor training and there could be a serious catastrophe event not doing it right. I’d get as far away with everyone with me, then let the bomb removal team come in and disarm it, the professionals.
Cyber has the same dangers if not trained. If you try and disable or fix a hackers breach, there could be the same result by setting off a chain of events that could disable or destroy more of the company's environment if not done properly. Always get the seasoned professionals.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.