Cyber Security: The Military Solution

By Steve Maguire – founding Director FCP (first published April 2017)

The furore over the ‘Wannacry’ attacks that affected the NHS recently, brought to the fore the need to tackle cyber-crime head on – given the devastating potential for it to strike right at the heart of our core infrastructure. The naivety of this threat by many organisations is creating a space for criminals to exploit; knowing that there is little that many companies can do to contain and eradicate an attack before it spreads to sometimes devastating effect.

Last year nearly half of all companies registered in the UK experienced at least one cyber-attack. Of those companies 45% did not have a Cyber-Security plan!

What is the future for recruitment within the cyber security industry? There’s no shortage of jobs out there, recruitment agencies should be rubbing their hands together; but increasingly many recruiters have accepted that they have reached peak supply. With the demand for personnel at breaking-point, why are recruiters still reticent to put forward candidates with the desired skills but no previous experience, despite the army of talent out there?

The Chicken and Egg Problem

Organisations worldwide are increasingly transitioning to information technology in order to keep up with the cut-and-thrust of the current market. This has created a huge number of vacancies within the cyber-security industry. With entry level salaries higher than most sectors right now, it comes as no surprise that many desire a career in cyber-security.

Herein lies the problem: a recent government paper on cyber-security predicted that there will be somewhere in the region of circa 300,000 vacancies in this sector by 2020. To put this into perspective, this is around double the workforce of the entire Barclays corporation. One of the main reasons of why this is happening right now, is that around 94% of hiring-managers insist that candidates have previous experience prior to placement.

The Military Solution

My personal journey into the cyber security industry took me from the military – to the police and finally into cyber security. My journey wasn’t an easy one, many CV’s were submitted, many times I was knocked back and many times I felt like giving up, but I didn’t. I believe my tenacity to succeed emanated from my time as a Paratrooper. It’s a well-known fact that the Parachute Regiment does not give up; values, including an insatiable desire to succeed, as well as integrity, diligence and professionalism finally got me to my destination. I do however wish there was somebody out there who specialised in mentoring veterans into this field; it could have built the bridges I required to traverse the choppy waters of recruitment, more easily.

The values that I espoused over the course of my military service are reflected throughout our military services. With over 15,000 leavers a year, there is a fantastic opportunity for organisations to take advantage of this pool of operational experts. With a wealth of transferable skills, fit for a sector that is crying out for people that are stoic under pressure; military personnel are just the kind of people that organisations need to reach out to.

All the ducks are in a row when it comes to military resettlement; compared to other careers the lucrative resettlement budgets boasted by the military, including funding for annual learning credits are helping to prepare military personnel for the challenge of civilian life. All this investment in military resettlement could go to waste, if demand continues to outstrip supply due to the current assumptions around recruitment.

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