While demand for IT experts is high all over the world, one area of the field which is especially sought after is in cybersecurity. As reports of hacking continue to hit the headlines, both public and private institutions have a lot to lose if their IT systems are anything less than extremely secure. While it is never possible to be 100% safe, billions of dollars (and pounds, yen, etc.) are spent annually to try to get as close as possible. While hacking and anti-hacking activities are by nature something of an arms race, one factor that organisations can control is the people they employ. For this reason, obtaining work in cybersecurity will mean going through stringent background checks.
While most people have heard of the terms “cyber attack” and “hacking”, perhaps not so many realise the scale of these attacks, and how costly they can be. A worldwide report recently revealed that this cost rose to six trillion dollars in one year. This price is spread across a large range of institutions, from airports to stock markets and even hospitals. In financial terms, the cost comes to more than the value of Japan’s entire yearly economic output.
For those of a criminal persuasion, cyber attacks represent a way of either obtaining money or gaining some other advantage without getting caught. Unlike robbing a bank, for instance, hacking a computer system can be done from anywhere in the world, without anyone noticing. Some national governments also favour hacking as it is a cheap way of conducting “asymmetric” warfare; causing harm to rival nations without physically having to carry out military operations. The costs for those on the end of the attacks come from replacing lost records, installing new systems and, quite often, paying out huge insurance claims.
High Demand for Cybersecurity
Nation states, big business and many other organizations are becoming aware of just how important securing their IT system is. For this reason, recruitment in cybersecurity is one of the most active sectors in the global jobs market. In 2021, that demand was reported to amount to 3.5 million worldwide. For those with the skills, aptitude and access to appropriate training, this could be a career for life; and one which is very well rewarded. It is certainly true that the cybersecurity field has a non existent unemployment rate. Also, as this is an activity which can theoretically be carried out from anywhere, relocation is often not an issue.
Need for Background Checks
Recruiting cybersecurity professionals comes with risks. Much like the phrase “set a thief to catch a thief”, those with the expertise to detect hacking are the very people who would make the best hackers. This has led to the black hat / grey hat / white hat scenario, where cyber experts can fit into any category. Recruiters, for their part, need to be sure they employ the latter section of the workforce; the white hat, or “good guy” professionals. The best way to ensure this is by carrying out criminal record checks, through the trusted system provided by CRB Direct. This used the UK’s DBS vetting service, which falls into three broad categories; basic, standard and enhanced disclosure.
Both standard and enhanced searches report any and all convictions against a person’s name, plus any police cautions, reprimands or final warnings. While most jobs have to fulfil certain criteria before standard and enhanced checks are carried out, as yet there is no government guidance in the field of cybersecurity. This means that it is likely that any employer will request at least a standard DBS check before taking on a cybersecurity professional. They may choose to go one step further and apply for an enhanced check; these include any added details on arrests the police see fit to include.
Transferable ACRO Checks
CRB Direct provides a very useful background check service, thanks to the ACRO system. This is based on DBS procedures, and can be used to work almost anywhere. As work in cybersecurity could mean being employed by businesses or public institutions almost anywhere in the world, having this type of security clearance on hand can be very useful. Even if physically relocating is not necessary, any country will have its own criminal records requirements for employees. The ACRO clearance is acceptable to a very wide range of national administrations, and could make the difference between taking up a cybersecurity job quickly or losing out.