Background Checks on Cyber Security Hires

Thu, April 15th, 2010 - 6:16 am - By Gordon Basichis

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Everyone is afraid of being hacked.    The government is afraid of cyber-war and is doing its utmost to bolster its defenses against invasions of its more sensitive military systems, as well as public utilities, satellite and communications systems.  In other words, anything that can disrupt military operations and communications in time of a national crisis.    The military and various intelligence and assorted government agencies are also developing strategies to fend off the ever frequent cyber attacks from both other countries and individuals.

Employers and businesses companies, large and even small are developing defenses against cyber-attacks.  Defense against cyber-attacks is a big business.  It is one of the few true growth industries.   Demand is growing for experience cyber-security personnel.   The government alone will spend some $55 billion in cyber-security investments int he next five years.  According to the article in SF Gate, for awhile, anyway, supply will fall short of demand until new candidates are sufficiently educated and trained in this relatively new field.

Obviously, if it is the government that is hiring, anyone applying for employment will have a very comprehensive background check.   Security clearance is mandated.  But for private business concerns, the issue may be a little different.  On one hand, the recruiting may be pretty straight forward.   Aside from the fact that you are competing with the government, which is willing to pay high salaries for quality personnel,  there are considerations regarding who you are hiring for such a sensitive position.  Simply put, you want to run certain background checks that help assure you are not bringing a fox into the hen house.

At this level, and if an employer has sensitive databases and proprietary information,  there is a concern for compromise.  If an employer has invested large resources time and manpower into projects in research and development, then the last thing they need is to set themselves up for inside theft.   This may seem trivial, but given the levels of corporate espionage and accessibility to information that once compromised could be damaging or even ruinous to a company, an employer should conduct sweeping background checks on cyber-security employees.

Besides conducting the usual criminal background searches, the employer is advised to run education verification and employment verification searches.    Professional reference verification searches should also be mandated.    The recruiting and interview process should occur on multiple levels and should be rigorous and detailed at least in its final stages.  When given a prospective employee access to your most sensitive data and proprietary information, it is foolish to scrimp on the cost of background screening.   For the relatively nominal cost of a few extra bucks for a wider range of background checks, the employer may avert potential disaster.

Cyb-Security employees will be hired both for the public and private sector.  Cyber-attacks are something  that will only increase.   They surely aren’t going away.  So be prudent and address your security issues before you are confronted with intrusions that result in serious damage.    Whether they be in-house employees or third party vendors, be sure to check them out before you hire.

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