Take a quick around yourself to gauge how deeply technology and the internet have penetrated our lives and how much of our life is lived in cyberspace. From your private conversations and vacation photographs to your business's confidential data and financial statements, everything is connected and accessible through the internet.
 
New technologies like the Cloud have made centralizing information in one place even more effortless and efficient. This means that you can access your data from anywhere and at any time. As easy and efficient as this technology has made our lives and businesses, it's a double-edged sword.
 
Cyber threats and cyberattacks now rank high among the top threats faced by nations, organizations, and people. Every day, hackers are modifying technology to breach the security systems of governments, organizations, banks, and individuals. Some of the most common cyber-attacks include-
 
  • Ransomware attacks
  • Internet of Things attacks
  • Cloud attacks
  • Phishing attacks
  • Software vulnerabilities
These tactics, along with many others, are used by hackers to steal sensitive and valuable data and corrupt important data of organizations. This is where cybersecurity comes in.
 
In this article, we will discuss what is cybersecurity, who are cybersecurity analysts, what's their job and responsibilities, what are the skills required to become a cybersecurity analyst, and how to become one. Let's get started!

 

What is cybersecurity?

Our systems, networks, sensitive and confidential data needs protection from cyber-attacks and hackers, and they are protected through the practice of cybersecurity.

But you may wonder, whose job is to maintain cybersecurity and ensure that our systems are secure against cyber-attacks? It's the job of cybersecurity analysts.
 

Who is a cybersecurity analyst?

Cybersecurity analysts are professionals who are responsible for the protection of an organization's systems and networks from nefarious activities of hackers. They are also called IT analysts sometimes.

Keeping the confidential data of an organization safe is the utmost priority of a cybersecurity analyst. They work across departments to detect and identify any flaws or weak link in the security system, networks, and programs of an organization. In case they find any flaws that the hackers can exploit to breach the company's system, they recommend measures to increase the company's network safety.
 

What do cybersecurity analysts do?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cybersecurity analysts plan the necessary security measures and then execute them to protect a company's computer networks and systems.

Their primary job is to protect an organization's data from being stolen, manipulated, held at ransom, and corrupted by hackers. Considering how technology is evolving, hackers come up with a new method of breaching networks. This keeps cybersecurity analysts on their toes as they have to be constantly on the lookout for any breach in the system or network.
 
The process of maintaining the safety of networks and systems of a company requires cybersecurity analysts to make contingency plans. Companies use these plans in case a cyberattack is successful. These are preventive measures against any possible cyber-attacks.
 
Cybersecurity analysts also perform other critical functions like-
  • Maintaining network safety
  • Installing software and encryption
  • Informing the company about cybersecurity
  • Educating the employees about digital best practices to ensure network safety
  • Reporting the network breaches
  • Researching the trends in the field of IT
  • Running security attack simulations to find out any potential weak spots in the system
They also inform the organization members about the best practices to follow to keep the networks safe.
 

Job role

As a cybersecurity analyst, here's a list of things that you'd be doing-

  • Develop security plans
  • Monitoring security access, networks and systems
  • Conducting vulnerability testing and risk analysis
  • Report on the dangers, intrusions, and alarms
  • Protecting IT infrastructure like networks, hardware, and software from criminal activity
  • Keeping the incident response and disaster recovery plans of the company updated
  • Verifying the security of any third-party vendors that are working with the company
  • Identify security threats. Analyzing these threats if there's any alarming activity, analyze and assess them
 

Skills required to become a cybersecurity analyst

To become a cybersecurity analyst, you need certain technical skills. In order to do your job well, you'll also need to constantly update your skills as the technology and hackers' tools and methods also keep on changing. Some of the technical skills that are required to become a cybersecurity analyst are:

Information systems

Linux

Network security

Python

Project management

Information assurance

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Penetration testing

Cryptograph

 

  • Security incident handling and response- As a cybersecurity analyst, you'll be required to handle the threats like malware and ransomware to an organization's network security.
  • SIEM management: You must know how to manage and analyze the Security Information and Event Management tools and services.
  • Audit and compliance: You must be well-versed in reviewing whether the organization adheres to regulations guidelines like HIP AA and FISMA or not.
  • Firewall/ IDS/ IPS skills: You should be good at filtering and controlling the network traffic to stop hackers from accessing the network. For this, you need to be skilled in controlling the firewall. Knowledge of Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) is also helpful.
  • Application security development: You must be able to find and fix any weak points in the application to improve security.
  • Ethical hacking: Its goal is to show any vulnerabilities in the system, if any. 
  • Computer forensics: Through the help of computer forensics, security analysts can prevent crime. It aids the security analysts in collecting, analyzing, and reporting in case of data breach or theft.
  • Detection of intrusion: You should be able to operate the Intrusion Detection Systems and detect any kind of questionable traffic on the network.
  • Reverse engineering: It helps the analyst patch a bug or analyze malware.
  • Advanced malware preventions: Identifying APTs or Advanced Persistent Threats that can evade anti-virus and firewalls is an important part of a cybersecurity analyst's job.
Here are some soft skills that you'd require to become an efficient cybersecurity analyst:

 

Strong analytical skills

Strong diagnostic skills

Enthusiasm

Adaptability

Great presentation skills

Communication skills

Active listening skills

Time management

Teamwork

How to become a cybersecurity analyst?

To start a career in any field, you need a good education, to begin with. Then eventually, you can move to acquire the necessary skills and techniques. The field of cybersecurity is no different. However, since it's relatively new in IT, there isn't a path set in stone that you can follow to become a cybersecurity analyst.
 
To become a cybersecurity analyst, most professionals start in general IT roles and later move into the realm of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity analysts should have a background in the operations of computer systems and networks.
 
Here are some steps that you can follow for a career as a cybersecurity analyst:
 
Education: Every professional requires you to either have a degree, a certification, or some form of valid education. The same goes for cybersecurity analysts too. However, unlike fields like medicine and law, you don't need to follow a path set in stone to become a cybersecurity analyst. There are many ways through which you can get the education required to become a cybersecurity professional. A lot also depends on where you are in your life too. If you have just completed your school education, you can opt for a college degree to get the skills and knowledge required to become a cybersecurity analyst. Some such subjects include math, engineering, and computer science.
 
However, suppose you are a working professional looking to transition into the field of cybersecurity and cannot afford to go back to university. In that case, you can opt for non-traditional education options like online courses, boot camps, and certifications.
 
Numerous online platforms provide affordable and sometimes free cybersecurity courses. We at Koenig Solutions offer the CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) Certification Training Course.
 
Certifications: The field of cybersecurity values certifications. You can find a plethora of entry-level and mid-career-level certifications available. Being certified validates your level of skills. It indicates to the employer that you are proficient in a particular skill.
 
Some top certifications for cybersecurity analysts are:
 
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NCSF)
 
  • Network: Networking is an integral part of every profession. Connect with your peers and become a part of a professional network of security analysts. This way, you can stay up to date with the industry trends and open opportunities.The demand for cybersecurity analysts is on the rise. The job not only pays well but also has massive growth potential. The more our world becomes digitized, the importance of cybersecurity is also increasing.
 
You can refer to the above information to get started as a cybersecurity professional.
Armin Vans
Pradeep is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and a Cyber Security professional with rich experience in Vulnerability Assessment, Penetration Testing, and Security Management. I deliver training to corporate clients on IT Security, Cybersecurity, Advanced Penetration Testing, CCISO, CCNA, CCNP, Firewall, AD, Linux, ISO, CEH, ECSA, CHFI, and several other customized courses of IT Security.

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