What a security career will look like in five years

Get ready for ‘BISOs’ in the business, security positions on the customer experience team, and AI taking over cyber jobs – but in a good way.

When it comes to protecting the growing infrastructure at Polaris Alpha, CISO Eric Schlesinger believes in a people-and-processes approach over a tools-based approach.  But five years from now, those priorities will likely shift.

“I believe that machine learning and AI are the future to security operations. An ‘artificial analyst’ can replace one or two full-time employees in the long run because it will make decisions based on patterns on the network… and take action for you,” Schlesinger says.  The company has already invested in several “cutting edge” machine learning security tools in anticipation of these new capabilities, he says.

Those cyber professionals replaced by AI tools will likely move on to bigger challenges. At many companies, they’ll be retrained in more technical cyber skills to tackle threats from cloud platforms, IoT connectivity and the ransomware epidemic.

AI is just one of many factors reshaping cybersecurity careers in the next five years. While the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions will continue to increase – an estimated 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2022, according to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education – those positions, and cybersecurity careers in general, will look different five years from now. 

For starters, cybersecurity careers will become more scientifically based as sophisticated attackers pursue more deceptive channels, such as adversarial machine learning, subtle deepfakes, or small changes in training set data that intentionally bias algorithms, according to Steven Weber, director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at the University of California - Berkeley.

The proliferation of interconnected devices will require IT security teams to combine knowledge with operational teams, and enterprise digital transformations will require security positions to reside throughout the organization — on product development and customer experience teams.

Cybersecurity researchers and consultants offer snapshots of what the future holds for security careers.

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