Competition for Cyber Security Talent Intensifies

June 22, 2015 – Executive recruiters are reporting that high profile data breaches at well-known companies have induced demand for cyber security talent, namely chief information security officers (CISO), at a time when IT security executives are being elevated to the C-suite. “This convergence is a highly visible response to what is now seen as a highly visible issue,” said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media. “Competition for cyber security experts is tighter than ever.”

JPMorgan Chase, Anthem, eBay, Home Depot, Sony, and Staples are among the many companies reeling from recent ruptures to their digital security.

“Security breaches are a C-level problem,” said cyber security recruiting specialist Joyce Brocaglia of Flemington, NJ-based Alta Associates. “I’ve been in the business since the inception of the CISO role and I have never seen it as active as it is now.”

Bringing digital expertise to the highest levels of management is now a strategic imperative, say recruiters. Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) launched a digital transformation search practice two years ago and the sector now underpins the firm’s overall leadership solutions service offering to clients. RRA is widely considered a leader in the space along with rivals Egon Zehnder, Korn Ferry, Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stuart. But a number of boutique search specialists, like Alta Associates and others, including 680 Partners, ZRG Partners, The Lenzer Group, SI Placement, The Buller Group, LH International, and L.J. Kushner & Associates have also joined the hunt for cyber security leaders.

Executive recruiting firm B.E. Smith recently placed Thomas August as chief information security officer of John Muir Health in Walnut Creek, CA. A skilled information security executive with more than 20 years of experience, Mr. August previously served as director of information security at Sharp HealthCare. He also held IT security leadership positions at Sony Corporation of America (SCA) and Pacific Life Insurance Company.

“Thomas is a highly collaborative leader who brings a proven track record of developing strategic IT risk management plans,” said Jon Russell, senior vice president and chief information officer at John Muir Health. “We are pleased to have someone with his extensive IT experience and regulatory knowledge joining our executive team.”

Mick Ruel, vice president of executive search for B. E. Smith who conducted the search, said that John Muir Health was seeking an information security leader “with a history of successfully leading system-wide risk assessment and security awareness programs.” John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit healthcare organization near San Francisco that includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care & specialty physicians, with more than 5,500 employees.

The healthcare sector is one of dozens of industries in need of bolstering their defenses in the face of security breaches. Banking, hedge funds, insurance, entertainment, utilities, retail, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and government concerns have all come calling to search firms as the need for security, data and risk experts intensifies. “All of these sectors now recognize that information security is the ultimate competitive advantage,” said Mr. Scanlon.

Contributed by Christopher W. Hunt, Executive Editor / Publisher, Hunt Scanlon Media

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