WHY BECOME A CERTIFIED ETHICAL HACKER (CEH)?
Since the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, regulations have forced financial institutions to reconsider how they manage cybersecurity. Consequently, new job opportunities have become available for ethical hackers. The financial services sector, for example, is now hiring cybersecurity professionals at rates never seen before.
The demand for ethical hackers exceeds the supply, which means that salaries and benefits are generous. Most employers require an ethical hacking certification (CEH), for a position as an ethical hacker. Certification tests ensure that the hacker not only understands the technology but also the ethical responsibilities of the job. Since many employers do not have the expertise to evaluate applicants for these jobs technically, a certification assures them that the candidate is qualified.
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What is an Ethical Hacker?
Although ethical hackers use the same methods to test and bypass security defenses as their less principled counterparts, they are sanctioned to find vulnerabilities. They do this so that companies can document what was found and fix those vulnerabilities as soon as possible to improve security. Ethical hackers also provide individual services to help people recover data, email, and documents that may become inaccessible.
Ethical Hacking Jobs
Most companies purchase the services of cybersecurity firms that specialize in security compliance and testing. These companies hire professionals that will investigate the root cause of the breach, perform penetration testing, deliver a report of their findings, and provide recommended mitigations. Cybersecurity firms accumulate talent and market themselves to the industry.
Many of these cybersecurity service firms are small companies started by entrepreneurs. The advantage of working for a small company is that they can be more ambitious in the type of work they accept.
Another avenue for finding jobs as an ethical hacker is to work with firms that contract to the federal government. Ever since the data breach from the Office of Personnel Management, executive branch agencies have been mandated to conduct independent security assessments of their systems. Contractors are having a difficult time finding and hiring qualified, ethical hackers.
When looking for cybersecurity jobs that are associated with the federal government, you may require active security clearances or the ability to qualify for approval. Government security clearances need employees to be citizens of the United States and undergo background checks. Certified ethical hackers looking to fulfill their career in public service can work directly for the federal government. Agencies like the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence agencies, and the Department of Defense all use ethical hackers for various tasks.
If working for the government is not a priority, look at large network service providers like Amazon Web Services and Verizon. With network access as their primary business, cloud and other services providers have their in-house ethical hackers to help maintain security.
Freelancing as an Ethical Hacker
Ethical hackers who want to set their schedules or work on a variety of projects may decide to be freelancers. As freelancers, ethical hackers will have to hustle their own contracts, support their own business, and manage their own benefits—and will have the flexibility to work when and where they want.
Finding contract work has become more comfortable with social networking sites for professionals looking for people who need their services. Two sites like Neighborhood Hacker and the Ethical Hacker Search Engine allow ethical hackers with certifications to advertise their services—and those looking for their services to find a professional. Both sites are responsive as brokers and help manage disputes between ethical hackers and clients.
Other excellent sources for finding clients are general sites for independent freelance consultants also. Two of the top sites for finding this are UpWork and Freelancer.com. These sites combine job listings with project management tools for both the client and the ethical hacker to manage the relationship.
The cost of a data breach is rising. In 2018, the price increased a staggering 6.4 percent, averaging a cost of $3.86 million for each breach. With an average of 196 days to discover a data breach, the need for certified ethical hackers is growing exponentially. There is no shortage of opportunities for the certified ethical hacking professional, but certification, skill, and solid ethics are key for anyone looking to build a successful career.
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