The future of cyber security work. Is it freelance?

The future of work in cyber security. Is it freelance?

The future of work is changing. And, whether it’s freelance or not, you had better be ready.

If you are, you’ll ride the next great wave of change. If you’re not you’ll loose out and get left behind. Obviously this is your choice. But, I believe we’re entering the next revolution and a break with the past as significant as that in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Let me share my insight.

Technology is transforming everything, particularly the way we work. This is evident in what we do, where we do it, how we do it and when we do it. We’re working longer hours, communicating with more people, in different countries via more “tools” and the workplace is rapidly seeping into our homes. The boundaries are fuzzing.

In cyber security we see this before most as we’re securing these new technologies and ways of working.

We are lucky. You are lucky. For you have an opportunity to be ready. Let me explain.

In 70 years, from 1760 to 1830 there occurred a fundamental and irreversible shift in the way that we, in the UK, worked. The industrial revolution was born and became so significant that it spread across the world, first into Europe and then into North America. We moved from inefficient craft-based, artisan activities to more efficient production and manufacturing methods.

Now, when true innovation occurs in production it’s typically the result of a desire for more, or an improved life. And, a capacity to uncover new sources of energy or to apply existing sources in a more radical efficient way is needed. This is exactly what happened.

When the industrial revolution began it transformed many people’s lives. However, the artisan remained the primary source of productive activity. As time went on, however, confidence grew. This enabled freedom. Freedom to be creative, and as a result innovation began to thrive.

As ideas of organisational and technology restructuring emerged the engineering class was born and with it steam, which integrated into the productive process. Work became more efficient, regimented and specialised. Structures changed too and became hierarchical and compartmentalised. Workers were devalued. They became a cog in the wheel – productised and dispensary, just likes the components of the machines they were operating.

Today, this is being reversed and it makes me happy to witness this.

We’re now seeing collaboration, connection, individualism and specialised mastery. Creativity is being valued. More people are aware of their worth, are fed up of being stick beaten and are choosing to work on their terms. Many are entering the world as entrepreneurs, freelancers or contractors.

Large companies are breaking down or rapidly trying to adopt new, improved cultures to keep them. All of a sudden they’re interested in the happiness of their workers for they know that if they don’t adjust their ways, revenues will fall and their future will be at risk.

So, back to my post headline – the future of cyber security work. Is it freelance?

Let’s not stop there.

Is it the end of big teams, hierarchical management, offices and commutes? Are people loyal to their art and skill, not to their employer? Are suppliers becoming just as important as clients and customers? Is the balance shifting? Is the future of our work freelance?

I believe it is.

A few months ago I took a ride with Uber, the taxi company. I wasn’t burled over by the convenience of the service, like most have been, although I thought it good. Instead, this is what left me excited. At the end of the taxi ride both the passenger (the customer) and the taxi driver (the supplier) had to rate each other’s experience. If they scored under 3.5 they were in trouble and could no longer experience the service.

To me this was phenomenal. It was revolutionary, for it surreptitiously shifted the power balance and approach that we’ve been brought up to accept:

The client is king.

Now, both parties matter. Each is integral, intertwined and valued.

The rules of business have changed and just like a network, we need to operate together. No one element is more important than the other. Now, we each have a place and the ability to decide how we work, when we work, with whom we work.

Work is on our terms.

We have choice.

We no longer have to live in fear of being replaced. We have reclaimed our power. All of us – the client and the supplier. The entrepreneur and the worker.

In the workplace management is flattening. The days of building large teams in-house are gone. Employers don’t want big permanent teams any more. They want optimisation. Production is moving up a gear.

They want flexibility, agility and the opportunity to expand and contract fast. They want a dynamic and intelligent approach. They don’t want to be paying for slack (pardon the term) – holidays, sickness, maternity, paternity leave, white space, bench time etc.

Workers want flexibility, not a one size fits all approach. They want to be involved in more enjoyable, meaningful work. They want to work full-time, part-time, flexitime and have more options on the table. Mothers want to be able to work and be there for their children. Fathers want this too.

This is why I believe that the future of work is changing. It’s freelance, contractual and entrepreneurial. And, I believe that the best way to respond to this is through project based work, a very specific brief and seeking specialised skills that are readily available in the global market.

And this is nothing new. Dame Steve Shirley started a software company in the early 60s called Freelancers International where 98% of the workforce was female, working around family and kids. Surprisingly, when technology first started it was a well represented female domain.

The changing model also solves the perceived skills shortage problem that’s being hyped by the media and those who have vested interests. Most of you will be aware that we’re apparently short of 1.5m cyber security professionals by 2020.

Whilst cybercrime is growing and more of us are more cyber aware than ever before, I don’t believe the problem is as bad as this. Instead I believe we have an issue of efficiency. The skills are there but we’re not looking hard enough to find them.

As you know, I’ve been in cyber security for a long time. Furthermore, that I believe passionately in our industry and entrepreneurship. I believe that if we can mobilise a workforce by creating a mechanism that offers speed and agility so that good cyber security work can be done more businesses can be protected and entrepreneurship can prosper.

I believe that the only way we can do this is through collaboration and I know that no business that stands alone can protect itself fully. Only by working together as a community can this be achieved.

Now I want to hear from you…

Tell me in the comments below or in a private email:

  • How do you believe the cyber security workforce is changing?

Please share your stories and experiences here, and if you’ve got a question, just pop it down here. If you want to contact me to discuss how you can improve business development for you or your team click here.

PS. The big favour ask…

I’m on a mission. I believe passionately in entrepreneurship and cyber security. I want to see more survive and thrive so more businesses can be protected. If you want to help and share my beliefs, please just share my posts.

Jane Frankland
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Jane Frankland

Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security technology entrepreneur, author, speaker, business consultant, and Board Advisor for ClubCISO. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own company and at several large PLCs, she now provides forward thinking cyber security organisations with strategic business development solutions.
Jane Frankland
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