The six skills that make an excellent cyber-security candidate


We’re living in a time of phishing scams, cyber-breaches and malware. Regardless of sector, business size or services sold, no organisation or individual is immune from cyber-security threats. Without due diligence, expertise and a plan in place, companies’ data will be ripe for the taking – and an attack can cost more than just its reputation.

With customers, profits and consumer trust all on the line, it’s more imperative than ever that brands confront the growing threat head-on. The best way to achieve this is by hiring a brilliant security professional; however, knowing what skills to look for in a candidate can be a bit trickier.

cyber security

Fortunately, in an article published earlier this week, CIO shared a list of essential traits that make for an unmissable candidate. So, keep an eye out for these six skills the next time you’re handed a CV:

Security tools know-how

Begin with the basics: employers should look for candidates who know their way around security information and event management (SIEM) tools. They should be well-versed in cloud implementation and skilled at identifying vulnerabilities at a macrocosmic and granular level.

Experts in analytics

The tools are just the start; candidates must understand both the wider strategy and how data gained through the tools should be utilised. They need to know how to single out problem areas (for instance, are breaches usually caused by users?) as well as how to fix them. Data scientists are particularly proficient in this.

Project management skills

IT project managers are perpetually sought after in the hiring world, but when those management skills are combined with cyber-security savoir-faire, you get a candidate that managers will scramble over. As a word of advice, if you find a candidate who can run multiple, month-long projects in alignment with the system as a whole, snap them up. They’re worth their weight in gold.

Responsive and proactive

As cyber-security cannot be manually maintained, candidates should be experienced in automation and tools such as Splunk, which is used to quickly identify and resolve cyber breaches. Candidates must be expert trouble-shooters, and have an aptitude for processing and acting on large quantities of data.

Development skills

Given that the threat of cyber-security is constantly evolving, so too must corporate governance systems and policies. It’s not enough to implement a programme and leave it; the best candidates are incessant tinkerers and developers who regularly adapt and update their programmes and scripts.


Beware the anti-social tech geek stereotype. Ideal candidates are communicative, collaborative and have minds suited to critical thinking. Moreover, empathy is very helpful because, after all, a little psychology will make it easier to get into the minds of cyber-criminals.

According to IQuda, an IT consultant firm, 65% of larger companies admit that they had been attacked in the last year. Each breach costs a company as much as £36,500, yet just 29% have a written cyber-security policy in place. By hiring candidates with the critical skills we’ve just listed, businesses will be able to protect both themselves and their customers. Get in touch with Big Red today to get access to our bank of talented cyber-security candidates.