Top in-demand cyber security contractor roles

5 min
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To say that technology has evolved exponentially in recent years would be a huge understatement. It’s obvious to many, but what isn’t so abundantly clear is that with technology’s continued evolution, the risks and threats of cyber attacks grow increasingly high.

Organisations are facing a continued uphill battle to safeguard their digital assets, which has prompted an increased demand for skilled cyber security experts to bolster their defences. As a flexible and adaptable alternative to sourcing in-house managed services from top cyber security enterprises, aspiring contractors now have a tremendous opportunity to capitalise on this gap in the market.

For IT contractors, finding a role in cyber security boils down to developing a specialised skill set and leveraging a range of technical tools and processes to help your clients secure their data, as they continue to scale and navigate the complex digital terrain. 

In this article, we'll delve into the challenges that companies face in maintaining flexibility while enhancing their security posture, and how contractors can add value. We’ll also explore some of the most sought-after cyber security contractor roles, shedding light on the skills and responsibilities associated with each position. 

Agility and security challenges faced by organisations 

Digital transformation has unlocked plenty of new opportunities and challenges for organisations. With an ever-evolving threat landscape, one of the most formidable hurdles these organisations face in their pursuit of growth is achieving the balance between the necessities of being adaptive, agile, and innovative, while maintaining the ability to keep robust cyber security practices firmly in place.

Keeping pace with unfolding threat vectors, attack methods, and technology used by cybercriminals can be a real struggle. Attackers are continuously developing new techniques to exploit vulnerabilities, which in turn present persistent challenges for in-house security teams to stay ahead of the curve, avoid falling behind, and prevent succumbing to alert fatigue.

Additionally, the shortage of skilled cyber security professionals exacerbates the challenge. Companies often find themselves competing for talent in a niche and small talent pool, making it difficult to build and maintain robust internal security teams.

Skilled cyber security contractors and freelancers offer a proactive workaround to these challenges. By leveraging specialised expertise and flexibility, companies can bolster their security posture quickly and impactfully, without the headaches, time, and costs associated with enrolling full-time employees into their teams. Contracts can provide the adaptability needed to help companies respond to emerging threats, safeguard systems and networks, and patch, monitor, and contain devices while helping to bridge the skills gap within the organisation.

Furthermore, IT and cyber security contractors bring fresh perspectives and ideas that empower organisations to leverage best practices across multiple projects and industries.

1. Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analysts and Incident Responders

SOC Analysts and Incident Responders play a crucial role at the frontlines of a company’s cyber defences. These experts are responsible for monitoring data traffic, detecting potential breaches, and responding to security incidents. 

Their responsibilities include:

  • Constant vigilance over network and system activity

  • Triaging and investigating security events as they happen

  • Identifying and containing potential threats in real-time

There are typically three levels of SOC Analysts, ranging from entry-level traffic monitoring to advanced incident response. As organisations establish in-house SOCs, the demand for Level 2 and Level 3 analysts has surged, presenting opportunities for experienced contractors.

2. SIEM and SOAR engineers

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) systems have become crucial components of modern cyber security. 

These platforms enable companies to streamline breach monitoring, incident response, and automation. IT contractors who are proficient in deploying, integrating, and configuring these systems have become highly sought after in recent years.

SIEM and SOAR Engineers will be typically responsible for:

  • Implementing and configuring SIEM and SOAR solutions

  • Monitoring and investigating security incidents

  • Automating incident response processes

  • Ensuring seamless integration with incumbent security tools

3. Cyber Security Consultants

As technology advances rapidly, organisations often lack the internal expertise to align their cyber security strategy accordingly. 

Enter Cyber Security Consultants – experts who provide invaluable guidance and peace of mind as companies begin implementing more technology solutions and embrace digital transformation even further.

Skilled Cyber Security Consultants possess the following skills:

  • Deep understanding of cyber threats and information security controls

  • Ability to align security measures with in-house procedures

  • Foresight to identify and mitigate potential risks and pitfalls

Their role involves collaborating with stakeholders, categorising and assessing risks, and ensuring all processes adhere to in-house and regulatory policies.

4. Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) consultants

In highly regulated sectors like finance, healthcare, and insurance, CTI Consultants have become a vital asset. These consultants work closely with underwriters and actuaries, advising clients on emerging threats and enabling proactive risk management strategies.

CTI Consultants will typically be responsible for:

  • Monitoring and analysing the cyber threat landscape using open-source libraries like the OWASP Top 10

  • Producing actionable threat intelligence reports for stakeholders

  • Enabling informed decision-making based on the company’s risk exposure

These consultants’ expertise empowers business leaders to stay one step ahead of malicious actors and make data-driven decisions to safeguard their operations before the worst happens.

5. Operational Technology (OT) security consultants

As IT and OT become more closely intertwined, the need to secure critical infrastructure and systems grows more important. OT Security Consultants specialise in assessing, planning, implementing, and managing security measures for these hybrid environments.

Their core responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • Managing and containing risks to critical infrastructure and assets

  • Conducting risk and vulnerability assessments

  • Implementing patch management processes and compliance measures

The demand for OT Security Consultants has surged given the potential for devastating consequences following a large-scale data breach. Contractors, while dealing with high-risk assets, have an opportunity to improve and contribute to critical (and often national) operations.

Embrace new opportunities with Free-Work

Each of the above skills has a profound impact on improving operations and agility for organisations and, by extension, those that they deal with. The collective evolution of these skills has created a highly profitable, rewarding, and fulfilling career path for aspiring contractors with technical skills and specialist knowledge. 

Currently, however, cyber security is at a critical point as the demand for cyber security experts far outweighs the number of professionals available for work. At Free-Work, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities faced by IT contractors and hiring organisations, and we want to bridge this pervasive skills gap in any way possible.

Our aggregated placements are designed to connect you with organisations seeking specialised cyber security personnel. Whether you're looking for short- or long-term projects, we can help you find the right cyber security vacancies to showcase your talents and make a valuable difference.

Explore the IT and tech vacancies on Free-Work today and discover the exciting possibilities that await you as a cyber security contractor. 

Written by

Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is an experienced freelance writer, who specialises in business and lifestyle topics ranging from digital trends to photography, sustainability and travel. She regularly contributes her insights and knowledge to a variety of digital publications.

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