Is it better to join cyber companies consulting orgs (Mandiant, CrowdStrike, Fireeye) or Big 4/ACN for long term career growth?

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Cyber consulting orgs. I don't think big 4 is known for cyber. Mandiant, crowdstrike are leading cyber companies and it's what they do 24/7

likesmart

Join the internal cyber security team of any organization instead of joining a service based organization

likesmart

Curious how G1 thinks companies fork out $1B to just 1 of the Big4 in US each year in cyber just to do PM and PPTs. Because they don’t since there is a huge shortage in talent and Big4 has some of the better technical talent to deliver major Identity Cloud Security and other technical global implementations. Also to say product companies do better is not the case when those product companies have major alliances with Big4 to do what technical implementations and providing more value consulting through a program than just installing their piece of software and calling it a day. Even the product companies that have their own consulting they aren’t doing massive engagements from a program level and they’ll put a good bit of their RFPs to their consulting partners.

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Big4! Bigger exposure and a wide range of cyber engagements. Cyber is huge at Big4 and are leaders in the industry. Crowdstrike and Avanade for example are both specific to the software and products they offer, it’s niche. Not bad by any means, just know that the big4 have a wider range and that includes Accenture too.

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The responses you received above are oversimplifications. The question is, do you know what field in cybersecurity do you want to be in? Do you want to be a technician (eg Security Architect, pen tester), or do you want to be a strategist (risk and compliance)? Begin there.

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Definitely real cyber security companies (mandiant, crowd strike, etc).

Those companies will teach you deep technical skills. You can always do a quick 2 year stint at big 4 / Accenture to round out your skills later on

likesmart

The answers here are incredibly biased....you asked a bunch of consultants what they think.

I recommend hitting reddit or one of the cyber security slack channels and ask those people for their thoughts

Being on both sides ...consultants are very good at project planning, kickoff decks and building something related to nist.

But if I actually want to secure something or test something...I'm calling the niche security firms.

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lol and you’re not being biased? To think consultants are only good at project planning kick off decks and building nist related items is just ignorant imo. Google btw spends a ton on Cyber with big 4 and it’s not just those items. Same with a ton of Fortune 500 companies. Don’t get me wrong niche Cyber companies can be great but to make that kind of generalization in of itself makes your post bias. The very thing you say everyone else is doing. You also commented earlier and didn’t say anything to the likes but only after my comment which was not biased by any means you then comment about everyone being bias. Each has its pros and cons.

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Depends what you'd like to do.

If you want to be knee deep in cybersecurity, technical work, etc, then go with cyber consulting firms.

If you want a more overarching view of how cyber works with a business, more focused on maturity and capability developments, then go big 4.

I'd say that chances are big 4 is better for overall career growth, however a lot of times organizations would prefer someone from a cyber consulting firm, as they are garnered as more knowledgeable.

For me, my end goal is to not necessarily be only cyber focused, so I'd say big 4 or tech consulting firms. But I'd say take a look at your career goals and then plan from there

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I personally did a small boutique then moved into the big 4 with experience. I'm admittedly slightly behind the normal big 4 progression but it gave me a really solid technical base and understanding of real operations. I love the risk and strategy portion so it was a perfect path for me. I'd say I connect with our clients on a much more fundamental level and they consider me more of an expert than my peers because of it.

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I’ve worked for both cyber centric firms and. Big4. What everyone has said is only one piece to the puzzle though those saying what you want to get out of it are right in forming what may work best for you. Deloitte has the #1 global revenue for cyber services and has for last 6+ years. So Big4 is known for doing cyber. We’re in majority of Fortune 500 doing cyber work across every domain. Business and technical. Big4 is a solid spot to do cyber especially if D or PwC. Ton of variety since we do everything under the sun and not a specific niche. There are opportunities to do very technical work and be hands on tons of different technologies. You become SMEs in your domains and can easily exit to high level roles in industry. If you wanted however more focus niche area then a cyber focused company may be better since it’s very specific to that domain offering potential for deeper expertise. All depends on what you want to focus on or do. Tbh both can get you deep knowledge and skills for the future. Consulting has a way better defined career path upwards to leadership and potentially better exits if you want Manager/Leader roles. If you stay in consulting payout is there at PPMD but could also hit the right cyber company that is public and does really well from stock perspective. Either way there isn’t a bad option just will depend on type of work you want to do and making sure you get into the right area in Big4 since we do everything vs applying to on companies that do what you want.

likeuplifting

If you want to work on strategy or assessments, I would recommend Big4.

If you want more technical work, go with Mandiant, Crowdstrike, etc.

The good clients don't hire Big4 for cybersecurity projects.

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The best people from the big 4....usually spent a good amount of time at cyber security specialty companies.

Their tech skills and experience is what makes them valuable to the big 4

likesmart

Thanks everyone for your inputs! Very helpful

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👀

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The honest answer will depend on if you want to continously work in cyber or cyber focused projects. Coming from a person that started in a smaller company and moved to a Big 4, I preferred the former. Working at a Big 4 does not guarantee that you will remain in cyber, that isn't how the consultant brand works at a Big 4 and I am not sure why no one has pointed that out yet.

Perhaps you may be fortunate and either land a longterm cyber project or have cyber projects / contracts lined up and available for you. But that is the gamble at working at a Big 4 that you do not have to deal with if you specifically go to a company geared for cyber.

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This is a solid point as it could happen but depending on which group you’re in and network this risk can be minimized. Lots of our technical folks in cyber at D only do that type of work. Their not put on something outside their group. But know some groups in cyber where you could get staff on more of an audit like engagement. Just depends but worth mentioning. If you have the right group and network though you can get onto the projects you want.

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The answer also depends on the level and skill set. I’m based on out Canada at an Associate level and have been focused on maturity assessments, target operating model design. Nothing too technical per se.

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I've worked at both and it really depends as others mentioned. First you need to decide what you want to do in cyber. I'd say if your already at a Big 4 your doing good already. The skills you learn as a consultant will serve you 10x at any company. A big 4 wants people that can communicate, handle pressure, build decks, project management, etc. Also, if tech you do that work for clients also. A lot of cyber focused companies have you dedicated to specific tech roles and jobs and at the junior levels you aren't always exposed to a lot items you do at a big 4. Having all of these skill sets will really set you up for long term career growth with skills you see in more senior staff.

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I think the perfect combo is to have experience in both roles

That's the sweet spot

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So I've got experience at both. Big 4 didn't have a lot of hands on technical stuff, the fact you can be pulled from the bench for other random things, etc. Didn't seem to be the right fit.

Security company consulting, more hands on, more width and depth of knowledge. Overall a more enjoyable experience.

Security company without consulting, that's going to be your best bet for long term career growth in my opinion.

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I would recommend the pure cyber consulting companies. ACN security is glued together by acquisitions. There isn’t any real action on training to gain deep technical skills. You’re on your own at ACN.

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Doesn’t matter. You’ll learn valuable skills at either. Both will require you to be client facing if you do want to grow so there’s travel involved either way

Not always the case, we have a ton of IR and offsec consultants that will never travel or speak with a client. Just depends on your role of course.

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