Case Study
Leveraging CyberSN's Talent Matching Service: Zions Bancorporation Fills 10 Cyber Roles with Only 45 Candidates
Filling leadership and critical cyber roles quickly while enhancing diversity within their cybersecurity workforce. 
CyberSN’s Talent Matching Service
10 Successful Hires from 45 Candidates
$236,875 Cost Savings
100+ Hours in Time Savings
80% of Hires Retained Over 3 Years


Established in 1873, Zions Bancorporation stands as one of the nation's premier financial services companies, boasting a 2023 net revenue of $3.1 billion and approximately $87 billion in total assets. Now in its 150th year, Zions Bancorporation operates under local management teams and distinct brands in 11 western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Zions Bancorporation is a national leader in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending and public finance advisory services, and is a consistent top recipient of Greenwich Excellence awards in banking. In addition, Zions Bancorporation is included in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Financial 100 indices.

A Robust Internal Talent Team 

Notably, they have the largest Utah-based cybershop, and they’ve cultivated a strong internal recruitment team led by Kevin Welch, IT Recruiting Manager that fills the majority of open cybersecurity positions with the support from Dave Stirling, EVP and Chief Information Security Officer. Their organization's size places them in an ideal position for fostering a highly effective internal recruitment process, characterized by a strong relationship between the two departments. Hiring managers typically liaise with a designated senior recruiter, working together to facilitate internal pipeline development.
Zions Bancorporation adheres to a 30-60 day internal timeframe for filling open cybersecurity roles, depending on the position's criticality. When considering external staffing assistance, the decision hinges on three key factors: 1) the status of the candidate pipeline, 2) the duration the position has remained open, and 3) the urgency or necessity.


With the vast amount of cybersecurity disciplines and the risk of leaving critical cyber roles open, especially leadership positions, Zions Bancorporation had the challenge of filling leadership and critical individual contributor roles quickly while cultivating a diverse team that can protect against diverse attackers. 

The Risk of Having Cyber Roles Open

Within Dave's network of security leaders, there is a shared sense of empathy and common experiences, particularly concerning the challenges faced when hiring cybersecurity professionals. The hunt for certain types of cyber specialists proved exceptionally difficult and time consuming, leading to significant burnout among current team members. “83% of IT security professionals admit that they or someone in their department have made errors due to burnout that resulted in a security breach. And 39% reported having seen this more than once,” according to Devo and Wakefield’s Research Survey. Moreover, the risks associated with leaving critical cybersecurity roles open escalated following the Target breach in 2013 and the Equifax breach in 2017.
The primary challenge faced by Zions Bancorporation's internal recruitment team was difficulty in hiring, particularly for leadership positions. With only 26 employees in the cybersecurity department in 2017, the team was significantly understaffed. Additionally, their dependance on a retained search agency was ineffective, leading to prolonged vacancies and excessive time spent filtering through unqualified candidates. The urgency of their needs meant they couldn’t afford to wait for qualified candidates; they required them in days, not weeks or months.

How Can You Protect Your Organization from Diverse Attackers If Your Team Isn’t Diverse?

The subsequent challenge was the department’s lack of diversity, particularly the underrepresentation of female leaders within the cybersecurity team. When Dave assumed his role, only three out of the 26 individuals in the workforce were female. He also served as the co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council at Zions Bancorporation.
Dave advocates for a broader approach to recruitment, emphasizing that success in cybersecurity isn’t confined to those following a traditional career path or holding specific degrees.
When you look at the labor shortage in cyber, there is a need to look at people from different backgrounds. Understanding that people can do those skills without cyber degrees has helped with my hiring. There’s room for everyone in the tent.
- Dave


Empowering the Internal Talent Team at Zions Bancorporation

CyberSN’s Talent Matching Service empowered Zions Bancorporation’s hiring managers and internal talent team to boost their efficiency in recruiting cybersecurity professionals. CyberSN matched highly qualified and interested cybersecurity professionals to open roles in 30 days or less at a significantly reduced cost, ranging from 50% to 75% less than traditional staffing fees, all backed by a 100% money-back guarantee. This proposition was an obvious choice for Zions Bancorporation. Dave noted, "You were half the cost, and you had a network of cyber-specific folks." Collaborating with Zions Bancorporation's internal talent team, CyberSN discussed their job openings, their budget constraints, and built custom job descriptions.
You’ve done not only the work to make sure they’re qualified and the skills match, but they’re also open to opportunities and interested in engagement.
- Kevin
For each role, CyberSN delivered vetted, qualified, and interested cybersecurity professionals matched to Zions Bancorporation's job responsibilities, compensation expectations, citizenship status, location, degrees, and certification criteria. The quality of candidates surpassed those from other traditional staffing firms, ensuring a selection of five strong candidates matching the job profile each time. “The key with CyberSN is you weren’t just shooting over resumes,” said Dave. 
After receiving the qualified cyber professionals, Zions Bancorporation's internal recruitment team took charge of the remaining hiring process. This solution proved so valuable that the business relationship was redefined internally, leading to a formal CyberSN contract. This strategic move facilitated seamless sign offs, ensuring a continuous and efficient collaboration between the internal talent team and security leadership team without any bottlenecks.

THE Results

Time and Cost Savings, Talent Retention, and Cyber Resilience

From 2017-2022, CyberSN worked on matching professionals to 9 different roles at Zions Bancorporation, 5 of which were leadership positions. They had a 1 in 5 candidate success ratio, for every 5 vetted, qualified, and interested candidates prepared by CyberSN, Zions Bancorporation successfully hired 1, demonstrating the effectiveness and cost savings of the talent matching service aligned with internal recruiting teams. In the case of the Incident Responder roles, they saved even more money, as 2 of the 5 cyber professionals that CyberSN matched were hired. Resulting in 10 cybersecurity roles being filled at Zions Bancorporation from only 45 candidates.

Roles Filled

Director of Security
Director of Information Security - Risk
Sr. Manager, Cyber Defense Continuous Assurance
Manager of Cyber Incident Response
Security Manager
IAM Engineer
Incident Responder (X2)
Cyber Resilience Security Analyst
Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst
CyberSN was able to quickly and accurately match cybersecurity professionals to Zions Bancorporation’s open roles by utilizing their proprietary job matching platform powered by a cybersecurity common language job taxonomy aligned and extended upon the NICE Framework. CyberSN's Taxonomy clearly defines cybersecurity projects and tasks, supporting easy matching of candidate profiles to job descriptions. This accurate matching not only cut the acquisition costs significantly it also resulted in 8 out of 10 hires still being retained today by Zions Bancorporation. 
Zions Bancorporation exclusively utilized CyberSN’s Talent Matching Service for recruiting cyber leaders and individual contributors, while also emphasizing diversity. The first hire through this process was a female Director of Security, who contributed for two years before moving on to become CISO at another company. This strategic approach led to a substantial increase in the representation of women within the cybersecurity team, growing from 11.5% of the 26 employees in 2017 to 33% of the 110-member team in 2022. Together, they built out a team of leaders who are now the hiring managers that work with the internal talent team. 
Zions Bancorporation had an estimated $236,875 in cost savings through their partnership with CyberSN. Beyond the financial benefits, Zions Bancorporation’s recruitment process resulted in significant time savings, eliminating the need for time-consuming tasks such as resume screening, conducting multiple interview rounds, organizing post-interview notes, and sharing feedback within the organization. With CyberSN's delivery of 45 candidates, the hiring managers saved approximately 90 hours on interviews alone, not to mention an additional 10-20 hours previously spent on resume screening by the internal talent team. This efficient approach enabled all positions to be filled within a 30-day period, contributing to a reduction in cyber risk. The culmination of these efforts in 2020 marked a pivotal moment for Zions Bancorporation, effectively closing the gaps in their cybersecurity workforce.

Enhanced Collaboration Between Hiring Managers and Internal Talent Team

By partnering with CyberSN, Zions Bancorporation nurtured a strengthened bond between hiring managers and the internal talent team. Initially taking on the role of hiring manager, Dave subsequently delegated responsibilities to the directors he had hired, while Kevin served as the primary recruiter contact for all nine roles handled by CyberSN. 
Dave adopted a clear and intentional approach with his recruiting team, emphasizing that CyberSN's involvement was a supplementary process, providing a valuable resource for everyone. This approach quickly garnered the team's approval, with recruiters expressing that CyberSN was the best firm they’ve worked with. “I get 20-30 recruiters a month who want to work with me, and I don’t respond to them. My recruitment team likes working with you better,” said Dave. Kevin noted that everyone from a senior leadership perspective knows CyberSN is a valuable partner.
It is nice that amongst the leaders, when I have a conversation about needing to hire someone quickly, there’s no outside noise where we need to push back, or they need to push back.
- Kevin


Zions Bancorporation demonstrates a strategic approach to cybersecurity talent acquisition, with close collaboration between Dave Stirling’s senior leadership team and Kevin Welch’s internal talent department. Leveraging CyberSN's Talent Matching Service, Zions Bancorporation has enhanced its recruitment efficiency, empowering hiring managers and the internal talent team to effectively source and onboard cybersecurity professionals in a short amount of time, while also fostering diversity.
Furthermore, Dave and Kevin appreciate the advantage of paying a flat fee for a specified number of matches, allowing them access to valuable cyber professionals at a reduced cost and exposure to individuals from diverse backgrounds. Every time they’ve worked with CyberSN, their roles have been matched with five qualified cyber professionals and had success filling these open roles. 
For support in empowering your internal talent team and filling cyber roles quickly at a lower cost, get in touch to learn more about CyberSN’s Talent Matching Service.
Empower your Internal Talent Team to Fill Cyber Roles Quickly at a Lower Cost with CyberSN’s Talent Matching Service
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