Stock Options, IPOs and Acquisitions Accelerate Cybertalent Divide

Stock Options, IPOs and Acquisitions Accelerate Cybertalent Divide

LANSING – Everywhere you look, cybersecurity is booming.

There are the scary, dark sides of this story, with data breaches being reported almost daily, foreign actors trying to influence our elections and smart cities needing more protection.

But there are also huge professional success stories with companies and people working in cybersecurity that are making national headlines. Here are two examples that I want to highlight from just the past month:

Duo Security was founded in 2010 by Dug Song and Jonathan Oberheide and went on to raise $121.M through several rounds of funding. The company has 700 employees with offices throughout the United States and in London, though the company has remained headquartered in Ann Arbor. …”

I focus on these two examples because I happen to know Amit Yoran (CEO of Tenable), Dug Song and Jon Oberhide. I am not close friends with any of them, but I have done security work with each of them in a variety of different ways over the years. From speaking at conferences on the same panels, to meeting with their teams, to working on advisory boards together, I admire their hard work and business acumen.

While I did not profit personally from these great stories; nevertheless, I am really happy for them. Their companies will no doubt be studied in business schools around the world, and they are extremely talented individual leaders.

Nevertheless, there are many, many others succeeding in the private sector. A large percentage of those people are former federal, state and local government cyberleaders. I won’t start naming more names, but let’s just say that the list of those who have profited greatly in their careers working in cybersecurity is very long. While many celebrate this private-sector success, alarm bells are growing louder in public-sector circles.

This topic was recently highlighted by a Politico article which describes the FBI’s cybersecurity talent brain drain. Here’s a quote: “The bureau has lost about 20 top cybersecurity leaders to lucrative corporate jobs over the past five years, even as hacking threats multiply.”

CyberTalent Pay Gap: What Has Been Underreported Up Until Now

Yes, there is a wider story here. Add in the growth of many cyberstartup companies, Wall Street investments in security companies, new interest in security company takeovers, and it is not hard to see another important storyline developing. In fact, if you connect the dots going back several years, I admit that I underestimated the cybertalent pay gap storyline. Numerous articles talk about pay packages, bonuses and medical benefit differences, but few analysts are talking about the stock market (gold at the end of the rainbow) aspects of some private-sector cyberjobs.

This blog is an attempt to highlight that very important missing piece and to provide some further thoughts on what may be coming next regarding attracting and retaining public- and private-sector cybertalent. Indeed, if these trends continue, the cyberservices market will need to drive an acceleration in government’s partnering (or “outsourcing” or “co-sourcing”) of cyberjobs with the private sector as we head into the 2020s.

While the hard work, accomplishments and successes of Amit Yoran, Dug Song and Jon Oberhide are truly extraordinary, the benefits of stock ownership for a long list of people cannot be underestimated. Remember, hundreds of others at Duo Security and Tenable and other cybercompanies have received stock grants and options leading to very big paydays when acquisitions or IPOs take place.

To read the rest of Dan Lohrmann’s Column, click on http://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/stock-options-ipos-and-acquisitions-accelerate-cyber-talent-divide.html

By |2018-08-17T12:40:52+00:00August 17th, 2018|Cyber Defense, Guest Columns|

About the Author:

Dan Lohrmann is the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor. He is an author, blogger, and global keynote speaker on security and technology topics. While serving in Michigan government, he was named SC Magazine CSO of the Year, Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year, and Computerworld Magazine Premier 100 IT Leader. He can be reached on Twitter @govcso

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