Cybersecurity Awareness Month: These Carlsbad Companies Have Improved Cyber Defenses While Retaining Top Talent

October 31, 2022

On the last day of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we are talking about cyberattacks, which are on the rise in the United States. In 2021, Americans were hit by an unprecedented increase in cyberattacks and malicious cyber activity, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received a record number of 847,376 complaints, which was up 7% from 2020, with combined potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. These cyberattacks compromised businesses in a variety of sectors as well as the American public.

With cyberattacks on the rise, so too, is the demand for cybersecurity jobs. Nevertheless, many jobs remain unfilled due to a global cybersecurity worker shortage, according to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, a leading researcher for the global cyber economy.

Over an eight-year period tracked by Cybersecurity Ventures, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs grew by 350 percent, from 1 million positions in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021. The same number of openings is expected in 2025. 

Because the demand for cybersecurity workers is only going to increase, businesses that have low retention rates will struggle even more. In recognition of October being Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we are highlighting two of the top Carlsbad companies working to improve cyber defenses while retaining cybersecurity workers: Proficio and Viasat.

Carlsbad-based Proficio is a cybersecurity managed security services provider. (Credit: Andy King Photography)

Proficio is a cybersecurity managed security services provider based in Carlsbad with offices across the globe. The company detects threats and responds to them for its customers around the world.

In the past 24 months, Proficio has seen more than a 200% increase in the number of attacks on its customers and over a 65% increase in new customer sales, CEO Brad Taylor said.

“There are simply not enough cybersecurity professionals to meet the job demands globally,” Taylor said. “We are working with all the local Southern California and often global universities with cybersecurity education programs to bring interns into our security operations centers for training and potential new hires when they graduate.”

Not only are there not enough cybersecurity professionals, but companies are also having a difficult time retaining workers. Taylor said Proficio’s customers often experience a turnover rate above 30% for their security employees.

“Recruiters are calling everyone with security in their title offering more pay and remote work opportunities,” Taylor said. “Our turnover rate is below 20% primarily because we are fortunate to provide a tremendous opportunity to learn and practice all aspects of cybersecurity threat detection and response as well as fast track for promotions and leadership. Our people are also very motivated by our mission and feel they are doing something meaningful every day.”

Proficio has an internal recruiting team and works with external recruiters. The company also regularly hires interns from other IT disciplines, universities, and military service off-boarding programs. Also, Proficio is looking to continue to tap into local talent sources to keep up with demand. 

“We have an extensive training and mentoring program for cybersecurity professionals,” Taylor said. “We also always have to provide a great place to work and grow, since the word is out about our great teams, and our staff gets hit up by recruiters all the time.”

The company is currently hiring, with open positions for security operations center analysts and marketing professionals. Carlsbad is a “unique place” to attract, develop and retain cybersecurity talent, Taylor said.

“We have several universities with high-quality cybersecurity education programs, and we have all branches of the military located in our area,” he said. “One of (our) secrets is we have a high percentage of military veterans working at Proficio. Veterans are process oriented, mission driven, and focused on success. These are perfect traits for great cybersecurity professionals. Being in north San Diego County also allows us to draw talent from Orange County.” 

Carlsbad-based Viasat is a global communications company. (Credit: Viasat)

The team at Viasat, a global communications company headquartered in Carlsbad, agreed that the City is a great place to recruit and retain cybersecurity talent.

“Carlsbad’s relative proximity to Silicon Valley talent, combined with lifestyle perks including being one of the top-rated public-school districts in the country, the stunning weather and beaches, and annual events such as the Carlsbad Flower Fields, all add up to make Carlsbad a premier choice to do business,” a Viasat spokesperson said.

For more than 35 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments, and militaries around the world communicate. Therefore, the global communications network the company is developing needs to power secure connections. That’s why Viasat works to retain its cybersecurity team members through the company’s culture, benefits, competitive compensation, and professional development and promotion opportunities, according to the company’s talent acquisition managers.

It’s not hard to find talent in Carlsbad or recruit talented workers to the area, a Viasat spokesperson said. 

“The local military and defense community has deep connections in the local market,” the spokesperson said. “With a high number of United States Department of Defense (DoD) contractors operating locally in Carlsbad and increasingly focused on cybersecurity, this creates a natural talent density in the region.

“Additionally, the strength of early career talent from the University of California, San Diego, one of the best public universities in the country, and the relative ease of recruiting talent to beautiful Carlsbad all contribute to making the City a premier destination to recruit talent to,” the spokesperson added.

Carlsbad is a perfect place to recruit top cybersecurity talent because the City is ideally located near the military and defense community and top-rated universities. Plus, the City offers an unparalleled work-life balance. Carlsbad companies are also able to retain in-demand workers while improving cyber defenses by creating a positive work environment that includes competitive benefits, professional development and an upward career path.

“Carlsbad provides so many advantages for companies to recruit and retain the best cybersecurity professionals as well as create and maintain a wonderful work environment,” said Matt Sanford, economic development manager for the City of Carlsbad.

Learn more about the career opportunities at Proficio and Viasat.