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How Marvel’s Avengers inspire Pinsent Masons CISO to adapt cybersecurity hiring | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


Cybersecurity’s ongoing battle with a “skills shortage” has seen the sector lose its way regarding talent hiring and retention, says Christian Toon, CISO at London-based law firm Pinsent Masons. In an industry crying out for diversity and innovation, this year’s number one UK CSO 30 Awards winner says he takes inspiration from the Marvel Comics universe to challenge traditional HR approaches and more effectively recruit and keep security talent.

“We have what some describe as a war on talent, because you feel like you are fighting against the next organization for the greater good. I think we’ve kind of lost our way a little bit, both from a delegate or prospective employee perspective, but also from an employer’s perspective,” Toon says, speaking at the UK CSO 30 2022 Awards & Conference. The candidates are out there, he adds, but you have to change the traditional practices for hiring because if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you’ve always had.

Don’t hire you, hire the Avengers

Toon makes a point of trying not to hire and build a team that only looks and sounds like him. “That’s not bringing our best solution forward,” he says. Instead, he looks to the Marvel Avengers—a team of fictional superheroes brought together from vastly different walks of life to help fight evil and save the world.

No, he doesn’t hope that Spider-Man will web the latest cyber attacker or that the Black Panther will supercharge his patch management processes, but he does look to build the same diversity of skills and abilities into his own security team. “If you look across the Avengers, everyone is very different. They’ve all got a very different skill or capability that they bring to the fight. That’s how the security team should be.”

You won’t find Captain Marvel sitting on LinkedIn

However, you won’t typically find Captain Marvel sitting on LinkedIn waiting to hit easy apply for her next vacancy, Toon says. “You need to be very different in that approach because the media hype around the cybersecurity skills shortage has prompted a proliferation of recruitment businesses and people trying to place those individuals, which means your trust can often be misplaced as a hiring manager in today’s marketplace.”

It’s therefore about reviewing and adapting where and how you target your recruitment activities, Toon adds. “Working with trusted, forward-thinking partners is the first step, but a close second is getting into the community groups that are championing underrepresented groups. Hiring teams don’t realize there are hundreds out there, and you’re only a Google search away. You’ve also got to think outside of cybersecurity, there are so many sectors to consider where people will be looking to retrain.”

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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