Ensuring data protection and security is very important for organizations. This has created a surge in demand for professional cybersecurity analysts.
These professionals analyzing and monitoring computer networks to ensure sensitive information and proprietary data are shielded from cybercriminals.
As the field of cybersecurity keeps gaining popularity, a lot of people are interested in knowing how to become a cybersecurity analyst.
Who Is A Cyber Security Analyst?
A cybersecurity analyst is in charge of the protection of an organization’s websites, computer systems and networks from cyber threats such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, hacks, and viruses. Such an individual is responsible for the planning and execution of programs and other procedures, including the installation and application of software for data encryption and firewalls.
So, basically as a cybersecurity analyst, your job involves testing the efficiency of new and existing security measures of your organization’s software, hardware, and networks. It also involves finding and identifying flaws, if any, and making and implementing security recommendations to protect sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.
Why Is The Job Of a Cyber Security Analyst Important?
Government agencies, financial institutions, and private organizations need to protect their digital security. Cyber attacks can cause great losses of time, money and trust.
If hackers break into a government database, sensitive information may get into the wrong hands. Even small businesses need to ensure their customers’ personal data are secured to protect their brands.
Cyber hackers can illegally profit from unprotected information through means such as interception of a tax refund, theft of health insurance, etc. This means anyone can be their target.
Cybersecurity analysts prevent the theft of financial and personal information and block intruders from accessing and divulging proprietary data.
How Much Do Cyber Security Analysts Make?
Cybersecurity salary potential may depend on market conditions, geographic location, level of education and work experience.
According to PayScale, the average cybersecurity analyst salary as of 2019 is $66,981 per annum.
What Are The Job Requirements Of A Cyber Security Analyst?
Most organizations are looking to hire candidates with training in cybersecurity, certifications and at least 1-5 years of work experience.
If you don’t have any or much experience to qualify for some of the top positions in cybersecurity, you should consider getting a smaller role first.
Find an internship or cybersecurity entry-level position as a security analyst/administrator in order to gain experience, learn relevant skills and acquire great references.
To work with the government, you will be required to do background checks and obtain security clearances.
However, here is a list of the major job responsibilities of cybersecurity analysts:
- Design new, and improve the effectiveness of existing security measures and controls
- Establish protocols for the protection of digital data and information systems against unauthorized access, modification or destruction
- Review cyber breaches and identify root causes
- Design and execute plans and methods for the recovery of data and systems following a cyber attack
- Maintain data integrity
- Monitor security access
- Perform vulnerability testing, risk analysis exercises, and security assessments
- Conduct security audits internally and externally
- Reduce the possibility of incident and disasters with proactive strategies
- Define corporate security policies and ensure adherence
- Coordinate security plans with third-party vendors
- Deals with active security threats
- Keep all hardware and software up-to-date and document any changes or upgrades
- Document all security information
- Create incident response templates for breaches or attacks in case they occur
- Develop a cyber risk mitigation strategy
- Train staff on proper cybersecurity measures
What Education Do You Need To Be A Cyber Security Analyst
Although there are no rigid educational requirements for becoming a cybersecurity analyst, different organizations have their own guidelines for employment. Before applying for cybersecurity analyst positions, it is important to check the educational prerequisites of individual organizations.
However, it is recommended that you earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or a related field. This is the minimum educational requirement needed to get a cybersecurity analyst entry-level position, and it will provide you with a solid foundation for success.
Though a bachelor’s degree in computer science might suffice, there is a growing inclination towards undergraduate degree programs in the field of information security. This may soon become the favored choice of employers.
Some firms, particularly large organizations, prefer that job applicants have an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree in information systems or cybersecurity.
Some also look out for applicants with advanced cybersecurity training, industry certifications and work experience in similar roles.
Individuals that tick all these boxes are perceived to be cybersecurity experts. Having an advanced degree can increase your chances of securing the job and also improving your cybersecurity analyst salary.
Skills Needed for Success As A Cyber Security Analyst
In addition to having a bachelor’s degree in a field related to cybersecurity, there are some important technical skills you should possess if you want to become a cybersecurity analyst.
Although job descriptions of a cybersecurity analyst may differ across different industries, these cybersecurity skills can easily be transferred to any work environment.
Consider sharpening your technical skills in:
- C, C++, C#, Java or PHP programming languages
- DLP, anti-virus, and anti-malware
- IDS/IPS, penetration and vulnerability testing
- Cloud computing
- Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
- TCP/IP, computer networking, routing, and switching
- SaaS models
- Risk assessment and management
- Network protocols and packet analysis tools
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
- Project management
- Data analysis
- Artificial Intelligence
- Firewall and intrusion detection/prevention protocols
With expertise in these skills, you may be able to impress the recruiter or interviewer even without a degree in a cybersecurity-related field.
However, technical skills are not the only skills in demand. To succeed as a cybersecurity analyst, you need to possess soft skills like report writing, ability to work in a team, communication skills, etc.
You should also be a curious and creative thinker with a desire for learning and researching the latest security trends and tools.
As part of your job, you may need to draft policies, discuss issues with management staff and give the details of how your security strategies fit into the common goal of the organization.
Having this information security analyst skills will help you to advance your career as a cybersecurity specialist.
Common Certifications For Cyber Security Analysts
In addition to meeting the educational requirements for cybersecurity analysts, there are essential certifications that are recommended to advance one’s career in the field of cybersecurity. Let’s take a look at the top cybersecurity certifications 2019 and why they are beneficial.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
This is an independent information security certification granted by the International Information System Security Certificate Consortium, or (ISC) 2 to cybersecurity analysts.
CISSP is earned after.
This certification proves that you can design, implement, and manage a best-in-class cybersecurity program.
To earn the certification, you must have at least 5 years experience working as a security professional in one of these capacities:
- Asset Security
- Communications and Network Security
- Security Engineering
- Security and Risk Management
- Security Operations
- Security Assessment and Testing
- Security Operations
- Identity and Access Management
- Software Development Security
You must also pass the CISSP exam to become endorsed as a CISSP member.
Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE)
It is very crucial to recover evidence and analyze it appropriately following a cyber threat.
Since a cybersecurity analyst is responsible for breach response protocols, the job responsibility also includes investigation of the root cause.
This certification path teaches the skills required for the investigation of cyber threats, the performance of forensics on file systems, hard drives and networks, and also the legal and ethical issues needed to investigate forensics.
The CCFE training covers the following areas:
- Law, legal and ethical issues
- Computer forensics tools
- File system forensics
- Network and volatile memory forensics
- Investigation process
- Evidence analysis and correlation
- Hard disk evidence recovery and integrity
- Evidence recovery of Windows-based systems
- Digital device recovery and integrity
- Report writing
CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
CASP+ certification is a practical, performance-based certification for cybersecurity professionals.
The examination focuses on proving competency in risk management, technical integration of enterprise security operations, communications and business disciplines.
It also focuses on the implementation of solutions for policies and frameworks.
This cybersecurity analyst certification applies behavioral analytics to devices and networks, to prevent, detect and combat cybersecurity threats.
This certification employs performance-based questions that cover security analytics, intrusion detection and response.
The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
This certification is another great resource to earn for your career growth. The purpose of the CEH credential is to ensure that cybersecurity professionals meet the minimum standards for ethical hacking best practices.
To earn this certification, you’ll need to pass a 125-question exam via the EC-Council.
To train to become an ethical hacker, you will want to invest in an ethical hacking training course, where you can learn from the experts. With black-hat hackers always changing their tactics, you’ll want a course that stays current on new strategies.
If you are already working in the field of information technology, your employer or prospective employer may be willing to provide tuition assistance for your professional training or certification as a cybersecurity analyst.
Overall, to succeed as an information security analyst, you should constantly be up to date on the latest industry trends and cyber threats.
Ensure you research new security technologies and threats, and network with other cybersecurity experts.