Cyber security professionals might be our modern-day superheroes. Working in the field puts you at the forefront of global security, but as the need for cybersecurity jobs increases, the number of qualified professionals continues to fall dramatically short. According to Cyberseek, a project by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), Indiana alone has more than 4,500 open cybersecurity jobs right now.
The field is the perfect place to ensure your tech skills will be in high demand. Wondering what skills are needed for cybersecurity? Curious what it takes to get into the field? Pondering the eternal question, “Is cybersecurity hard?” While the technical know-how can be learned, successful cyber security professionals also bring the following characteristics to the table. In fact, you might even say that possessing these soft skills are the real requirements to learn cybersecurity.
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A company’s data is its lifeblood. Whether it’s customer orders or medical reports, easy access and preservation of this information is vitally important to every single department. So, what happens when the one third of the team entrusted to handle it feels isolated or not listened to? That’s what one recent survey found, as cybersecurity staff members routinely cited a lack of communication and organization as the biggest threat to data. Some of this comes from the top, as 44% said they struggle to effectively communicate the weight and danger of security risks to leadership. However, this is the job of cybersecurity; translating technical threats into easy-to-understand risk for those who may not speak their language.
Often this means explaining scenarios to individuals who don’t have a technical background. Being able to communicate the situation and provide regular updates and reports in clear, understandable terms is an important skill for success. According to a study by Deloitte, one of the most effective strategies is the ability to use metrics to measure risk, translate that risk into money, and then connect both back to the company itself. Cybersecurity pros are able to code switch and make compelling arguments on both sides of the coin.
Communication skills go hand-in-hand with solid customer service skills. Cyber security professionals work in a variety of environments, including in-house teams for large companies, government agencies, and consulting firms. But no matter the environment, customer service skills make a positive impact. Some of those skills that are best to bring to the table? Maintaining a good disposition—especially in challenging situations—patience, and listening to others.
57% of cybersecurity professionals say their biggest obstacle is simply communicating threats to an internal team. While the security actions, initiatives, and decision making process of a may seem simple to an IT professional, it’s important to keep in mind that non-technical employees may feel quite the opposite. This might mean employees ignoring, questioning, misunderstanding, or arguing the actions and communications of a security team. The Deloitte security communication study found that another effective approach was emphasizing collaboration between departments, such as sitting down with teams one at a time to discuss and defend policy.
Cybersecurity jobs require embracing teamwork to tackle the important tasks at hand. From designing networks to forensics tasks, large-scale projects are far from manageable without a cohesive team. You’ll need to be able to effectively communicate, build rapport, and problem-solve alongside your colleagues. And with a robust cybersecurity team, this could mean quite a few peers to work with.
An average team will fill most of these cybersecurity specialities.
- Security Analyst – Identifies vulnerabilities
- Security Engineer – Performs monitoring and data analysis
- Security Architect: – Assembles the major components of a security system
- Security Administrator – Installs and manages the organization- wide system after it’s designed
- Security Software Developer – Programs and writes special software for security needs
- Cryptographer/Cryptologist – Works in encrypting internal information or decoding malicious code
- Chief Information Security Officer – Manages entire security team
- Security Consultant/Specialist – Any specialized role a team cannot fill
Each one of these positions fills a unique role that fits in symbiotically with the others. The best cybersecurity professionals all know how to work with one another, who’s responsible for what, and why their job matters.
Being resilient is important for any tech field, and cyber security is no exception. Are you able to rise to the challenge and keep going when the obstacles keep coming? Self-motivation to keep going and not be easily defeated is key for a thriving career.
According to the Security for Business Innovation Council, there are 7 key actions all members of a cybersecurity team must aim for. These are:
- Information Risk Management
- Valuing Asset Inventory
- Managing Third-Party Risks:
- Threat Intelligence and Analysis
- Taking Advantage of Analytics:
- Data Management:
- Process Optimization and Agile Controls:
While all this work should not fall on one or two people, it’s a good idea for security professionals to keep these steps in mind and see where they can best make impacts on a daily basis.
A healthy dose of curiosity can get you far in cybersecurity jobs. Tech is constantly changing, which means your education is never done. Without a passion for learning and a genuine interest in understanding how and why things work, you’ll likely find your job even more challenging. An inquisitive nature will also aid in many of the day-to-day tasks, including the troubleshooting process or discovering network vulnerabilities.
One of the most essential activities of a successful cybersecurity team is moving from a reactive to a proactive security approach. This can be attained in a variety of ways, perhaps the most obvious is with vulnerability assessments. These go deeper than penetration testing; vulnerability assessments is a process of identifying all IT systems, locating all possible vulnerabilities, systematically ranking each risk, and finally prioritizing them all;. The goal is to make sure the team is addressing the most concerning issues, thanks to a system of measurement and documentation.
You Have the Willpower. Do You Have the Skillpower for Cybersecurity?
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