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What Uber’s Chief Security Officer Hiring Means for IT Startups

What Uber’s Chief Security Officer Hiring Means for IT Startups

A quarter of organizations report there's a shortage of IT security professionals, which can present opportunities and challenges for InfoSec consultants.

Friday, April 17, 2015/Categories: consulting

According to the Washington Post, Uber has hired a CSO (chief security officer) to oversee the mobile app's data security and privacy issues. This hiring is relevant to IT contractors and tech professionals for two main reasons:

  1. Security is in demand, and IT consultants looking to get more business should consider expanding into the data security market.
  2. CSOs and security experts are rare at smaller companies because of a lack of resources.

The Good and Bad of the Security Shortage

NetworkWorld reports that 25 percent of all organizations surveyed found that there was a troubling shortage of data security and InfoSec personnel. The shortage was most apparent for cloud security professionals – 41 percent don't have the personnel they need to protect sensitive data.

For an IT consultant, this shortage could signify a potential growth opportunity if you start offering security services. The additional training to build your data security résumé might be worth the ROI. After all, security professionals might be able to get higher wages, thanks to the demand. Check out our article "Boost Your Cyber Security Skills for Bigger Paydays" for more about capitalizing on this high-demand market.

Why So Few Startups Take Security Seriously

It almost goes without saying that Uber's move is a better-late-than-never gesture. The company has had a series of infamous privacy scandals and the hiring will certainly help assuage nervous users. The newly installed CSO Joe Sullivan has held the same position at eBay and Facebook and even worked for the Department of Justice as a cyber crimes prosecutor. He comes with quite the track record.

While hiring Sullivan may go a long way to improve Uber's sketchy security reputation, it's rather typical of the approach that too many startups take to data security. The startup culture prioritizes marketing, functionality, and most of all, generating buzz that will lead to major investments. The idea is to get money first and worry about security later. Now that Uber has made some money, it decided to fix its security.

However, there are some signs that this tide may be turning as expectations increase for mobile startups. In our article "Zirx: Parking Perks, Data Security that Works," we discussed how one mobile startup addressed security issues from day one and has successfully marketed its business's security.

Learn From Uber's Security Problems: Get In the Game

There's one clean takeaway from Uber's security hire: you need to get in the game. Whether that means getting your clients to invest more in security, offering additional cyber security services, or marketing your IT business's security offerings, you can't afford to stay on the sidelines.

Of course, anytime you expand your business, talk with your insurance agent and make sure your IT Errors and Omission Insurance is suitable to cover your lawsuit risk.

The benefit of working with TechInsurance is that our agents know IT Errors and Omissions risks. We can answer your questions about liability issues, policies, and how to get a good deal on your small business insurance. 

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