Defining Cybersecurity: 8 Technology Roles That Make a Difference

By Jim Johnson on February 2, 2023 at 5:00pm

By Jim Johnson, Senior Vice President, Robert Half

As companies increasingly rely on the cloud and other digital technology to conduct business, cybersecurity continues to be a top-tier concern. Not only is it essential to protect sensitive data and company assets, but a data breach or cyberattack can also have severe consequences for an organization’s business processes, reputation and bottom line.

For tech professionals, this emphasis on cybersecurity can open up a wide range of career opportunities. But it’s important to note that many important cybersecurity roles don’t have the word “security” in their job titles. Indeed, technology professionals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets play crucial roles in protecting companies from security events, including cybercrime.

A recent survey by Robert Half found that 64% of tech managers are planning to expand hiring in the first half of 2023 — and that security was proving to be one of the most challenging areas to staff. But what if some of the capabilities they need could be handled by other IT professionals? Could it be that employers and candidates would both benefit from expanding their definition of a security role? Here are eight very different IT jobs that can help solve cybersecurity challenges and protect a company’s assets.

1. Systems administrator

The systems administrator is a critical position on any IT team, responsible for keeping networks running smoothly. They are the go-to person for troubleshooting technical issues and making sure all systems are correctly configured. Furthermore, they play a vital role in cybersecurity, setting up firewalls, monitoring user accounts, implementing security protocols, overseeing patch management and installing security updates.

2. Network engineer

Crafting and managing computer networks is the network engineer’s specialty. They design, install, configure and maintain systems like routers, switches and firewalls to guarantee network performance — and security. Other security responsibilities include monitoring network traffic, troubleshooting issues, responding to incidents, installing and updating software, and implementing protective measures against malicious attacks, including user education.

3. Desktop support analyst

This role involves helping other employees with their desktop computer issues. As well as general troubleshooting, desktop support analysts monitor security updates and keep track of access rights to safeguard confidential information. They also advise and educate users on securing systems and data, making them one of the first lines of defense in an organization’s IT environment.

4. Systems engineer

The systems engineer designs and maintains a company’s IT infrastructure. They keep systems up and running with minimal downtime while maintaining optimal performance. Cybersecurity is a significant responsibility of a systems engineer, including implementing best practices for software development, data protection and patching systems; continuously monitoring for suspicious activity; and responding to incidents appropriately.

5. Software engineer

Software engineers code and test applications to support business objectives and meet customer needs and expectations. As the gatekeepers to sensitive user data, these IT professionals must help ensure that all applications, databases and networks adhere to established security protocols and secure development standards. By understanding the latest security trends and technologies, and collaborating with security, operations and infrastructure teams, software engineers can help organizations stay ahead of bad actors.

6. DevOps engineer

Bridging the gap between software development and IT operations, DevOps engineers work to facilitate the successful and timely deployment of software. They can also work to automate deployment processes to help reduce human error and minimize the risk of security breaches. In addition, they act as guardians of an organization’s cloud security, ensuring that its infrastructure is robust and reliable. The best DevOps engineers stay current on emerging cybersecurity threats to protect their employer's systems and data effectively.

7. Cloud architect

Cloud architects design and deploy cloud-based systems to meet organizational needs, as well as identify potential cost and improvement opportunities. Furthermore, they’re responsible for implementing cybersecurity measures to protect the cloud environment, including secure authentication, authorization and encryption standards and protocols, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, ISO 27001 and others. With their expertise, cloud architects keep organizations safe and connected.

8. Web developer

A web developer is responsible for building, testing and maintaining secure websites and web applications. As well as bringing a company’s products and services to life on the web, these IT professionals must make sure their applications are as hack-proof as possible by adhering to industry security standards. This includes regularly patching applications, testing for vulnerabilities and developing secure coding practices to further prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.

Don’t be limited by job titles

As you can see, cybersecurity is a team effort involving professionals with various skills and responsibilities. By hiring the right people, a company can effectively build its digital defenses from the ground up rather than putting out fires after things go wrong. And for tech professionals, understanding the larger scope of security within a department or organization can open up a range of career opportunities, even if they don't have “security” in their job titles.

If you're looking for a new IT role or trying to build a security-focused team, a talent solutions company like Robert Half is a valuable resource. We can connect you with candidates who place security at the heart of everything they do or with employers looking for well-rounded tech talent. So don't let job titles limit your search — the professionals a company needs in order to protect its assets may be more diverse and versatile than you think.

Follow Jim Johnson on LinkedIn.

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