Now is the time for a career in cyber security
Cyber security is a rapidly growing field and as the demand for digitalisation increases within organisations, as does the need for skilled cyber security specialists to help protect digital assets and environments.
It is an exciting time to be considering a career within cyber security, with plenty of opportunities for those looking to secure their first role in the industry, or professionals already working within the sector to take a different career path.
If you’re interested in embarking on a career in cyber security and wondering how to break into the field, or if you’re just curious about what a role in cyber security can offer you, read about our Security Solutions Specialist, Ricky Phillips’ journey to his role in cyber security at Phoenix.
What did you do before you became a security solutions specialist?
I worked for the Bank of England as an auditor and then most recently as a project manager.
What appealed to you about cyber security?
We did some training with an ethical hacker and I was fascinated at the lengths an attacker would go to breach an organisation, and all the different methods someone would use to either gain access to an area of a building or someone’s data. From there, I started to explore career options in cyber security.
What path did you take into cyber security?
Working at the bank, I was very aware of the security challenges organisations face. There was still a heavy focus on physical security during my time there as cyber security was still a relatively new thing at the time, but I became interested in how organisations can become vulnerable to cyber attacks and what they can do to mitigate the threat. What interested me the most was how security attacks had started to move away from what we all recognised into the modern world of hacking as we now know it.
What does your role at Phoenix entail?
My role is to understand our customer’s cyber security issues and suggest solutions that meet their needs. As part of my role, I must not only understand current requirements, but also assess future needs and provide solutions that suit both, while always keeping in mind their overall goals and considerations, such as budget.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I work closely with both our suppliers and our customers, so a typical day for me involves liaising with both sides to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the progress and approach of the projects we’re undertaking. I help customers understand their options and navigating the ever-changing landscape of solution providers out to find the right solution for them that will secure them both now and in the future.
How did Phoenix support you to get the role you wanted?
I first started my career at Phoenix as a funded head for a specific supplier, but I soon decided that I wanted to be more agnostic in my conversations. Phoenix enabled this change by encouraging me to be comfortable talking to customers through training. I was encouraged to talk solution first instead of on individual product level and pride myself on ensuring that anyone I advise is confident that I am interested in a solution to their issue, as opposed to pushing a product set they don’t need or want. Our approach at Phoenix is outcome focused and that was instilled in me from the very beginning.
How has the cyber security landscape changed over your years in the industry?
The biggest change within the industry was the evolution of cyber security attacks from both a technical standpoint and the techniques used to extract data. The significant progress and popularity of social media has resulted in a rise in the amount of personal data that is easily accessible within the public domain, and this has led to an increase in social engineering attacks, which tend to be prevented through personal training rather than technology. While the days of standard ransomware attacks via email are still very prevalent, general knowledge and awareness of these types of attacks has also improved, causing attackers to change their tactics and become even smarter.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start a career in cyber security?
Research the industry, the career progression opportunities and jobs available, and familiarise yourself with which area within cyber security is interesting to you. Cyber security is vast and varied field, ranging from GRC services through to SOC analysists. A good place to start is by considering whether it’s prevention or remediation that you most identify with.
What kind of progression and opportunities are available in cyber security?
As mentioned, the opportunities within cyber security are wide-ranging. Junior analysts can progress through to tier four SOC analysts managing the environments of large organisations, so I would use your time as a junior to understand what part of the cyber security world is best suited to you and your career goals – the sky’s the limit!
Inspired by a career in cyber security? Check out our career opportunities.