With the ISACA, a non-profit information security advocacy group, predicting a global shortage of two million cyber security professionals by 2019, perhaps now is the time to think about a career in cyber security. Whether you are just starting out or looking to change career paths, here are some insights from Erik Rasmussen, Managing Director and North American Cyber Practice Leader for Kroll’s Cyber Security and Investigations practice.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in cyber security?
In actuality, it was a bit serendipitous. While I was working as Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service doing general investigation work, I was able to take training courses in computer crimes investigations. I continued to build my skills in this discipline, investigating criminal violations of everything from access device fraud and wire fraud to distributed denial of service attacks and botnet attacks.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of the work you do today?
While it may sound a little cliché, facing a different set of challenges every day is what motivates me. And within each set of challenges, there are two components that you are managing: the people aspect and the casework itself. As someone who did not come from a consulting background, recognizing and understanding my role in relating to clients is hugely important. Not everything you do is technical. While there are very detailed reports to analyze, oftentimes I’m giving classic advice on how to approach problem-solving.
Q: What advice would you give to individuals in pursuing a career in cyber security?
For someone who is just starting his or her career, I recommend being a sponge – latch onto as much information as possible. Understanding the technical aspects of cyber security, building and honing technical skills like digital forensics or coding, and enhancing client-facing consulting skills are the keys to success. And if you’re already heading down a career path outside of cyber security but want to switch gears, don’t be afraid to apply your prior experience. Breadth of experience and training is very helpful, and different fields lend to alternative perspectives that can be very helpful, particularly for the problem-solving aspect of cyber security.