Looking for that next step in your IT career? Consider getting an IT or a cybersecurity certification, and validate your expertise in the field to your peers and managers.

Two-thirds of organizations admit that they lack an adequate number of security professionals to address current threats.

2017 Global Information Security Workforce (GISW) study

The Importance of IT Certifications

Cybersecurity has become an integral aspect of almost every IT position across industries. From emerging threats to changing compliance requirements, businesses and organizations are dealing with more security challenges than ever before.

For IT professionals, it’s a time of unprecedented opportunity

Certifications are available in a broad range of disciplines relating to security, compliance, privacy and technology, and the job market is wide open to anyone with the right skills and credentials.

Cyber Crime 2018: The Biggest Breaches

In August of 2018, Forbes announced that the cybersecurity industry was facing a labor “crisis.” Over 3.5 million positions are expected to be open but unfilled by 2021, and more than 300,000 were already open in early 2018. In a 2017 Global Information Security Workforce (GISW) study, two-thirds of respondents said their organizations lacked an adequate number of security professionals to address current threats.

Despite the obvious need for more professionals in all areas of cybersecurity, most high school students have never been told of the career options in the field, and IT professionals already in established careers are scrambling to keep up with emerging threats and new data protection and privacy laws. As a result, businesses and organizations are left without the guidance they need to address cybersecurity concerns. Becoming certified in one or more cybersecurity disciplines gives you the expertise to help fill the gaps in the IT workforce.

Breaches, Hacks and Insider Threats

A study out of the University of Maryland found one cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, and McAfee reports 780,000 records were lost to hacking every day in 2017. In the U.S. alone, 1,013 breaches occurred in 2018, putting the country at the top of the list globally for breaches that year.

Insider threats are of increasing concern for businesses and organizations. Seventy-four percent of firms believe they’re at risk for an insider threat, and 49 percent express concerns regarding malicious insiders. The 2017 Insider Threat Report shows these concerns could be well-founded, since insider threat remediation can cost anywhere from $100,000 to over $1 million, and the average annual cost of insider threats may top $8 million. Sixty-seven percent of all incidents originating with insiders are the result of phishing scams, and 11 percent of the most “serious incidents” involve insiders. Even prominent companies like Coca-Cola and Tesla aren’t immune from such threats.

These statistics point to the need for better internal security and stronger identity and access management policies, both of which can be provided by certified cybersecurity professionals. 

Addressing Today’s Threat Landscape

A successful IT career requires knowledge of cybersecurity trends and new methods being used by hackers. As ransomware decreases in popularity, more sophisticated attack methods are taking its place. Spear phishing, malware and social engineering tactics are all on the rise, and the prevalence of new technologies like IoT has enabled hackers to spread malicious programs quickly across multiple vectors. Certification ensures IT professionals are aware of and have the skills to address these emerging security concerns.

Top 5 Cybersecurity Certifications

1. CISSP

Becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional equips you to address digital security concerns by engineering and designing new security systems. A CISSP also handles implementation to arm businesses and organizations with the right tools to address the unique challenges of maintaining security in the modern digital landscape. To pursue this certification, you must have five or more years of experience in at least two of the eight domains covered by the CISSP common body of knowledge, such as risk and security management, identity and access management and software development security.

2. CCSP

Cloud platforms, applications and services are becoming ubiquitous as businesses and organizations migrate from legacy systems and expensive onsite hardware configurations to cloud-based tools. These systems cost less and enable a greater level of user mobility but come with their own security concerns.

That’s where the Certified Cloud Security Professional comes in. A CCSP understands the ins and outs of security in the cloud and has a solid grasp of cloud architecture and design. Earning this certification equips you to address the constantly shifting security landscape in cloud environments and handle the day-to-day security needs associated with using cloud applications.

3. CIPPC/US and CIPM

When you consider the nearly obsessive focus on user privacy in the modern security landscape, it makes sense to pursue these two certifications together. Dual credentials making you a Certified Information Privacy Professional in Canada/United States and a Certified Information Privacy manager show employers you’re equipped to:

• Understand and address issues pertaining to U.S. privacy laws
• Handle the challenges of establishing and maintaining workplace privacy
• Help meet and maintain compliance requirements
• Manage daily privacy concerns

The CIPP is considered the gold standard in the industry, and earning it along with a CIPM gives you a set of skills currently in high demand among businesses and organizations struggling with privacy issues and unsure of how to satisfy changing compliance regulations.

4. CSX

Offered by the ISACA’s Cybersecurity Nexus, CSX certification is comprised of a number of cybersecurity credentials:

  • Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate
  • Technical Foundations
  • CSX Practitioner (CSXP)

Each certification is geared toward a different level of cybersecurity and IT experience. If you’re just starting out in the field, the Fundamentals option provides a knowledge base on which you can build future skills. Those who complete Fundamentals or who already have some grasp of cybersecurity can move on to the Technical Foundations certification.

Cybersecurity professionals seeking global certification focused on building both skills and knowledge can pursue CSXP and show employers they have what it takes to apply core cybersecurity concepts in real-world scenarios.

5. CIPT

As a Certified Information Privacy Technologist, you’ll help businesses “build … privacy structures from the ground up.” This involves putting privacy structures in place during the development of systems instead of trying to implement remedial procedures once systems are in place. Professionals in IT, security, engineering, data management, auditing and many other positions can take advantage of this certification to become familiar with the particular privacy needs in networks incorporating a variety of new and emerging technologies. With a better understanding of privacy practices and requirements, you’ll be equipped to discuss privacy needs and establish policies to protect users and data in complex modern networks.

In conclusion, becoming a certified cybersecurity professional is one of the best steps you can take if you want to advance your IT career this year. With hundreds of thousands of job openings available in the cybersecurity sector and employers across industries recognizing the need for a robust approach to security, there’s no better time to pursue new opportunities. 

Research available certifications,  and choose the best training options to benefit you in your current job or open the door to jobs with other companies and organizations. Multiple certifications provide more prospects for growth and give you the skills today’s employers are looking for in IT professionals.

Ready to explore your options? Talk to one of our certified training consultants to start planning.

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Need more reason to get certified this year? Well, we’ve got 10 to convince you and your team of the importance of cybersecurity certifications here: