Many business owners wear more hats than can usually be considered safe. They are often managers, supervisors, trainers, accountants, bookkeepers, maintenance, drivers, and all too often IT support. There’s an old adage that goes: “he who is a Jack of all trades is a master of none” and that holds especially true in the IT support and security world.
Becoming a network security specialist isn’t something you can do by reading a book or taking a seminar. It takes years of training and experience and constant reading to keep abreast of all the issues they face daily. As an example, let’s follow a typical computer security specialist’s career progression.
After graduating from high school a computer or network security specialist will go to college and study computer or software engineering. They will spend a minimum of two years in college but typically they will complete a bachelor’s degree in their discipline.
While going to college most will hold down part-time, or even full-time, jobs working as tech support specialists or some other entry level position so they can develop experience dealing with customer issues. The lucky students get to hold down internships with an IT firm and are exposed to more technical issues and hands on maintenance and repair.
Positions like this teach the specialist how to work with people. They learn how to listen to a customer complain about what is going wrong and they learn how to communicate with them in such a way as to talk them through resolving the problem. This invaluable experience prepares them for dealing with customers when trouble shooting network and computer system troubles later in their career.
Upon graduation, these up-and-coming consultants will look for their first full time jobs. They may spend years working for others as they develop the experience necessary to go out on their own as consultants. This experience prepares them for dealing with any problem which may arise. Often, they will move from a job with one type of firm to another specialty, broadening their experience as they go.
Finally, when they feel they have amassed enough experience to consult others on the best way to protect and maintain their computer and network systems, these eager individuals will open their own computer and network security consulting firms.
With years of experience and tens of thousands of dollars of education behind them, they gently wade into the network security industry and open the flood gates. This is when the start to learn what they don’t know and the reading begins. As fast as they learn the newest technologies and trends, changes happen and they must learn all over again. Long hours at work taking care of the needs of their customers are often followed by long hours of reading and research after work.
Your IT/Network Security Consultant does all of this so he can provide you the protection you deserve on your business network systems.
So, when you are deciding whether you should contract a security specialist or managed services provider, ask yourself if you have the preparation necessary to go it alone. Have you developed the knowledge and experience they have? Is your business worth providing the proper protection for? Can you, in just a few hours of reading, learn enough to provide for the security of your systems? And then ask yourself one more question… should you hire a network security or managed services provider to make sure your business systems are protected properly?
ACS Staff Writer