IT leaders in all industries are having trouble finding talent, but state and local governments have their own challenges, naming the shortage of cybersecurity professionals as one of the top barriers to cybersecurity challenges.
“The market is hot,” says says Ricardo Lafosse, chief information security officer for Cook County, Ill.’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Would you want to work for the county or for Grub Hub? The government just isn’t sexy.”
Stanton Gatewood, CISO of the state of Georgia and head of the Georgia Technology Authority’s Office of Information, offered some tips for hiring and keeping cybersecurity professionals:
Include training, and show prospective employees where they can expect to go within the organization. In Georgia, individuals who start as security administrators can move up to be a security officer, and eventually a security engineer or agency CISO.
“It’s important that [future employees] see the value of public service, and that they’re making a difference to millions of Georgians,” Gatewood says.
New IT hires receive robust training, more than they might get at a private company. Although there’s always the risk that staff members could take that training and go elsewhere, Gatewood says the risk is worth it: “It’s very important for people to see that we’re willing to invest in them and keep them as long as we can.”
Learn more about how state and local governments are responding to cybersecurity challenges in our story "States and Localities Face Evolving Cybersecurity Threats."