In today’s world, businesses and companies are facing major cyber threats to their financial and customer data, and also their trade secrets. Well, this is when the superhero comes in with a cape to save the businesses from such situations.
It is the job of a cyber security specialist to protect the organizations and the general public from hackers, scammers and other online criminals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is an increasing demand of jobs in this category and it will keep increasing by 28% from 2016 to 2026, which is a much faster growth rate than any other occupation in the United States.
Who is a Cyber Security Specialist?
A cyber security specialist works with companies to keep their computer information systems safe and secure. They go through the information and give access to that information after much planning, coordination and implementation of security programs.
They tend to use a multi-layered approach, their expertise and up-to the minute knowledge to protect the business from Web threats which include cybercrime, malware, phishing, viruses, information warfare, hacking and denial of service attacks.
Importance of Cyber Security Specialists
Cyber criminals, using all their power, cause damage to businesses of all sizes, government agencies, financial institutions and military organizations across the world. Damage could be through interruption of service, theft of Intellectual Property (IT), data mining, financial and customer data theft and network viruses.
Using their expertise in analysis, forensics and reverse engineering, they diagnose these issues in a computer system and then make recommendations and give solutions such as improved hardware and software programs that help mitigate risk.
Knowing about what is happening in the cyber world and staying up to date is one of major aspects of a cyber security specialist’s job profile.
Roles & Responsibilities of Cyber Security Specialist
While a cyber security specialist is responsible for protecting IT infrastructure, networks and data, he/she is also responsible for prevention of any data or financial theft. Many of these specialists have an educational/job background as programmers or network administrators.
Even though they require skills of an IT security professional, they should also acquire qualities such as critical thinking, curiosity and a passion for learning and research. Hackers are creatively smart by nature, to outsmart them, security specialist need to have these qualities.
Here is a list of common tasks performed by Cyber Security Specialists on a daily basis.
- Protection of sensitive and personal information
- Identifying potential security risks
- Planning and implementing defensive systems against intruders
- Constant monitoring for unauthorized access, duplication or any destruction of information
- Finding solutions and running counteractive protocols
- Reporting damages on time
- Understanding the information to be protected
- Taking safe measures best suited for different kinds of information
- Sharing the measures with other employees in non-jargon language
- Evaluating defensive security strategies
- Fake attempt to break in in order to discover weaknesses
- Using hacking techniques to test the defensive systems
- Accessing information without using correct credentials
- Attempt to breakthrough firewalls and other security systems
- Making conclusive report bases on analysis and evaluation
- Development of new defensive strategies and systems
- Creation of upgraded multi-layers of protection
- Updating security systems
- Development of new protocols and defensive systems
- Granting access to legit and authorized users
- Running a diagnostic on the system in order to determine any unauthorized breach or damage
- Keeping up-to-date on intrusion methods of cyber criminals
- Analyzing new trends of online crime
- Taking necessary precautions
- Updating and fortifying defenses
Day to Day Tasks of Cyber Security Specialist
- Granting access to authorized users of the company
- Protecting information from any kind of damage
- Testing defensive systems for possible weak points
- Analysis of security measures
- Configuring security measures and tools
- Keeping defensive systems up to date
- Monitoring all the information at all times
- Identifying any potential risk or unusual activity in system
- Running defensive programs when any damage occurs
- Writing regular evaluation reports on system status
Types of Cyber Security Specialists
Here is a list of cyber security job titles, their roles and responsibilities, and how they are different from each other.
Information Security Analyst
According to the United States News Report, the job title of an Information Security Analyst comes at number five. It requires the employee to work for long hours and a hectic schedule at the mercy of security damages of the system.
Being a dynamic role, this job requires the analyst to protect sensitive business information and are also responsible for developing defensive programs, implementation of those programs and ensuring they are up to date, and at last monitoring the result and changing necessary protocols.
They are also asked to give cyber security training to other employees in a non-technical language.
Software Security Engineer
With expertise in coding and programming, software engineers are asked to develop firewalls and other breach detection systems for companies. They are required to have a combination of soft and hard skills including problem solving, relationship building, engineering and learning technology.
They need to adapt fast and keep up with the trends and new technologies.
A security architect’s job requires finding out the strengths and weaknesses of the security systems of a business. They must have a thinking capability of a hacker to identify the breach points and other weaknesses.
Not only this, they also prepare budget, allocate employees and resources, manage the IT teams and make reports for executive employees.
Their job profile is a level above a security engineer, therefore, their recommendations and put into practice by the engineers.
While a security architect is asked to think like a hacker, a pentester must act like one. They are hired to attempt hacking the security system of a business without being given proper credentials in order to evaluate where the system is lagging behind and to test all possibilities of breaches.
Their job also involves writing detailed reports.
With good connections and expertise in the cyber security world, one can be a successful security consultant. They are independent contractors offering their expertise to businesses about their defensive strategies and programs.
They possess skills such as technical, analytical, communication and computer skills and also are up to date with the new technology and security recommendations.
If you are looking for job opportunities in cybersecurity sector, above are all the points you need to keep in mind before applying for this job.
Even though it is just the beginning, this sector is rapidly growing in the United States. No business is immune to cybercrime, meaning that every company at some point of time will require and IT security professional to lead their way.