Top five ways to boost your cyber security credentials

In Information Security ByTeam Acumin / 8th August 2014

If you work in information security, then you will doubtless be keen to acquire the best possible set of security credentials.

There are a number of options that you could consider, especially in this ever-changing branch of the IT profession, so here are five suggested ways to get started:

Get national security clearance

UK government security clearance is the gateway to a good selection of roles. More to the point, a security clearance stamp will look impressive on your CV, and will immediately convey to any recruiter that you are someone to be trusted.

There are around four key types of security clearance, but a good starting point is Baseline security clearance, which incorporates the BPSS (Baseline personnel security standard) and the EBS (Basic Check+, formerly known as the Enhanced Basic Check).

Baseline clearance will open the door to a range of roles in the public sector and armed forces.

Professional qualifications and certificates

IT security professionals are spoilt for choice when it comes to certifications. However, perhaps one of the most respected is the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). The CISSP is overseen by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)2, which was established around 25 years ago.

The CISSP is a prestigious qualification, requiring at least five years’ experience (or two for associate level accreditations) in IT security and endorsement from a fellow professional. The curriculum covers a wide range of IT security subject domains, including Access Control, Security Architecture and Design, and Telecommunications and Network Security. The process culminates in a challenging 6-hour exam, which demands a 70% pass rate.

However, many will testify that the CISSP is very much worth the effort. Job roles being performed by CISSPs include: Chief Information Security Officer, Director of Security, and Security Architect. These roles will be unlikely to be trivially remunerated, and a CISSP qualification might well help you get that crucial first interview.

Consider a higher education qualification

Sometimes a course of higher education might suit some candidates, and at times could be preferred to the CISSP. For instance, London’s City University offers an MSc in Cyber Security.

Furthermore, with an MSc on your CV, you will be demonstrating to an employer that you have the stamina and perseverance to stick out a lengthy process.

Get into Corporate Governance

Governance is a subject that is somewhat on the fringes of the hard-core IT security world. However, CEOs and CTOs are becoming increasingly aware of its importance.

Knowing  the relevant international standards (e.g., ISO/IEC 27001:2013) and how they can be related to effective corporate governance will help to give you boardroom clout, while also indicating that you are ready for a more over-arching, senior role.

Get networking

One of the best ways of boosting your IT security credentials is simply to ‘be there’. Show your face at networking events like the RANT Forum, where you will get a chance to meet fellow professionals. You need to gain a reputation as someone who takes their industry seriously and striving for continuous education, but is also an engaging, affable human being.

Finally, delivering a conference paper is perhaps one of the most effective career moves of all.