Everything You Need to Know About Clearance and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity job availability has increased in direct proportion to the bad actor events that increasingly cause business and personal disruption. Today, there are 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions available around the world. There has been a 350% increase in cybersecurity jobs since 2013. The need isn’t going away anytime soon.

But do your employees need a security clearance to get into the cybersecurity field? We have answers, including what direction you should head if your candidate cannot pass government clearance.

Do You Need Security Clearance for a Cybersecurity Job?

The answer is: Maybe. Private sector jobs will not require government clearance, unless you’re working on a government-related project that requires it. Or, if you’re working for the government directly your employees will need to go through the clearance process. Interestingly, the jobs in the private sector that require clearance often pay more than those that don’t.

What Types of Security Clearance Will My Employees Need?

There are two primary types of security clearance for U.S. citizens:

  • Personal Security Clearance which allows access to restricted information
  • Facility Security Clearance which allows you access to restricted buildings

The federal government issues security clearance designations. Many come straight from the department of defense. You, as the hiring entity, initiates the security clearance process with the government.

Within the personal security clearance designation are three sublayers that designate the level of information you have access to:

  • Confidential clearance gives your employees the right to access data that could cause “measurable” damage to national security should it be leaked. This is the typical designation for military personnel. The background check for even this basic level is extensive; credit checks, family and associate interviews, and more are required.
  • Security clearance is the next level up. It gives your cybersecurity workers the right to access data that could cause “serious” damage to U.S. national security. Going through this background check includes the steps from a confidential clearance process. But it also is more detailed. Unpaid bills or criminal charges are what we most often see negatively affecting this process. This investigation can take up to a year to complete.
  • Top Secret clearance is the highest level your employees can attain because leaking this information could cause “disastrous” national security damage. Not only will your candidates have to undergo the same steps from the prior two clearance processes, but also a polygraph, and interviews with your neighbors, employers, coworkers (and more) are required.

What Happens When My Candidate Can’t Get Security Clearance?

If your candidate fails the security clearance process, you have several options. If you have other work the candidate could do that doesn’t require clearance, you can still make the hire. Also, many times candidates fail simply because they’ve filled out the paperwork wrong or left information missing. This is why it’s a good idea to work with a staffing agency experienced in the nuances of security clearance. That’s where Blackstone Talent Group can help your business. Not only do we have cybersecurity candidates already qualified for security-level work, we offer our expertise to help walk you through the process.

If your company is looking for cybersecurity talent, call on us. We can help.

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