Recent ransomware attacks have proved that the United States is more vulnerable than we think. The Colonial Pipeline attack in May stemmed from hackers having access to an old virtual private network (VPN) that was not intended to be used. This seemingly innocuous letdown paralyzed gasoline and fuel delivery through the East Coast for nearly a week, triggering a surge in fuel prices and creating a run on gasoline not seen since the Arab oil embargo of 1973. When addressed, Colonial Pipeline's CEO mentioned the ransomware attack was caused by an oversight, signaling that this event could have been prevented. There's no room for error when the U.S. is facing a national security emergency against an enemy that hides in plain sight, yet is largely anonymous.

Attacks on JBS, the largest global meat producer, show that such hacks into a company's weak infrastructure can severely impact supply chains and affect millions of Americans and their ability to retrieve or utilize basic necessities. Ransomware attacks will continue to get
more sophisticated and organizations, both public and private, need to be prepared to protect their data against hackers and remain one step ahead of them.

If your organization has not defined their strategy for hiring cybersecurity talent just yet, now is the time to do so. Here are three important hires to consider when building out a cybersecurity team:

1. Security Engineer

If we think of an organization's networks and systems as a car's engine, security engineers are the technical experts that build, maintain, and fix that engine.

Their top priority is troubleshooting and testing security systems in an effort to prevent breaches and leaks associated with cybercrime. They will develop security protocols and policies that are aligned with emerging trends relevant to cybersecurity to ensure teams
within the company are keeping their networks safe.

Security engineers play a critical role in ensuring all networks are optimized, running smoothly, and, ultimately, your organization is protected from serious cyber attacks and threats. This may include deploying new security measures, hardware, and software, and investigating what caused previous hacks or breaches and presenting how to prevent it in the future.

2. Security Analyst

Following along with the car analogy, the security analysts are monitoring the output of the engine to spot potential trouble areas. Just as a mechanic can spot a deteriorating timing belt, so too can a security analyst uncover a potential weak spot in the network that, if left unchecked, can lead to potential vulnerabilities.

Identifying threats, malware, and weaknesses in a network's security system to prevent future breaches from happening is the security analyst's primary goal. Once an area of weakness is spotted, the analyst identifies the source of the problem and then works with the security engineers to fix or implement a solution.

To prevent future breaches or hacks from occurring, security analysts must ensure there are adequate security measures in place for all software used internally. They may also implement security plans that provide best practices to maintain data security.

3. Detection Scientist

Simply put, detection scientists are data scientists with a security background. The car's engine (an organization's networks and applications) produces a plethora of data that needs to be analyzed.

A detection scientist's priority is to make sense of the data and define which datasets are relevant or causing the organization to be vulnerable to hacks or leaks. Once identified, they are able to implement solutions via new algorithms or applications to secure all systems and prevent cyber threats from happening.

Ransomware attacks and data breaches are happening every day around the world. Cyber criminals aren't stopping any time soon. In fact, their operations will only continue to expand and become more elaborate. And businesses need to be prepared.

We've seen the significant effects it can have on disrupting business operations in any industry. If it continues, Americans' livelihood will be at-risk. This is a wakeup call to either hire the right mix of cybersecurity talent, or invest and retrain employees internally
to protect your company from cyberattacks.