A recent report from Mordor Intelligence said that the information security consulting market will grow at a CAGR of 13.4% from 2021 to 2026. This can be linked to the rise in the use of the Internet of Things (IoT), because of which an increasing number of gadgets are now connected to the internet. This gives hackers opportunities to get into more devices and steal data. In fact, with cyberattacks and security threats becoming a real concern across every industry, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. If that is a profession that interests you, then read on. This blog will guide you on how to become a cybersecurity consultant.
Overview of Cybersecurity
A cybersecurity consultant is in charge of identifying issues, analyzing security concerns, determining risks, and putting forward solutions to combat threats to a company’s computer network and system. They assess existing security measures and build several levels of defense.
Rather than working for one company full-time, a cybersecurity consultant is contracted by businesses to evaluate their current cybersecurity practices, provide recommendations for improvement, and implement those changes. These consultants can be called by various titles such as:
- Information security consultant
- Computer security consultant
- Database security consultant
- Network security consultant
No matter the job title, they use their extensive expertise to advise, coach, train and assist clients in implementing enhanced security measures.
What Does a Cybersecurity Consultant Do?
A cybersecurity consultant’s job role encompasses the following tasks:
- Determining the most effective defenses against potential intrusions and cyberattacks for devices, networks, software, data, and entire information systems
- Checking in with employees and department bosses about specific security challenges and problems
- Performing vulnerability testing, including risk analysis and security assessments, much like a white hat hacker would
- Researching the most recent authentication procedures, security standards, and systems
- Preparing cost estimates for military improvements and alerting IT and project managers about any potential integration problems
- Planning, investigating, and creating a comprehensive, strong security architecture for any IT project
- Delivering technical reports and white papers with all test results.
- Providing the internal security staff with expert oversight and direction.
- Creating, putting into effect, and upholding a suitable corporate security policy for the client’s company
- Responding to any security-related occurrences, and afterward, proving a full post-event study
- Continually reviewing and upgrading the client’s security systems
Top Cybersecurity Consultant Skills
A skilled cybersecurity specialist can effectively connect with both IT-related teams and non-technical individuals. To learn how to become a cybersecurity consultant, you should have some leadership qualities, since it would be your responsibility to put new policies and processes into place. Finally, you must be a skilled negotiator who can communicate effectively with people at various levels of the company hierarchy.
Each effective cybersecurity consultant must be proficient in these areas too:
- Testing for penetration: Acting like a hacker, the consultant needs to see how secure the system is and gauge the vulnerability of the client’s cyber programs and software
- Ethical coding and hacking techniques: This entails being familiar with threat modeling and configurations on a practical level, which is connected to the first point
- Persistent advanced threat management: Phishing, social engineering, and network access control are the topics covered by this expertise
- Firewall management and safety: This talent comprises protocols for breach detection and prevention, as well as fail-safe features and backups
- Knowledge of operating systems: That includes Windows, Linux, UNIX, and any future operating systems that are released
- Encryption techniques and capabilities: This expertise is used by cybersecurity professionals to send and receive data over the internet without being hacked
- Familiarity with compliance assessments: Take PCI, HIPAA, NIST, GLBA, and SOX as examples
The Best Way to Become a Cybersecurity Consultant
1. Improve Soft Skills
A cybersecurity consultant should have documentation skills. It is necessary that they have strong communication and analytical skills. The ability to adapt, be a leader, manage time effectively, and work well with others are requisites as well.
2. Master the Technical Skills
3. Gain Work Experience
After getting a degree or finishing a boot camp, it’s time to look for a job in cybersecurity at the entry level. You can start out with some of the following roles.
- IT auditor
- Penetration tester
- Incident responder
- Information security analyst
- Digital forensic examiner
Any of the above jobs for three to five years can help you learn more about cyber defense and improve your people skills. This will set you up to develop a strong CV to get independent work as a consultant.
4. Gain the Education Required
According to the Burning Glass Institute, a leading labor market analytics firm, at least a bachelor’s degree is needed for 44% of job postings for computer support specialists, such as cybersecurity consultants. You can get a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or in a related field like computer science or information technology.
Earn a Cybersecurity Certification:
Industry certifications show that you are a credible professional and give you an edge when applying for jobs. Also, they can help you earn more.
Certified Information Security Manager®, CISSP, and CISA are all popular certifications among network security experts with a lot of experience. Consultants are the only ones who can get other industry certifications, like the Certified Security Consultant (CSCSM) title.
The CSC certification shows that you have a lot of knowledge and are honest as a security consultant, according to the International Association of Professional Security Consultants. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a college that is recognized by the government. Candidates could also have a CISSP certification and four years of experience in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Consultant Jobs and Salary Outlook
The job outlook is bright for cybersecurity consultants. As cybercrimes increased 600% last year due to the pandemic, businesses have started realizing the importance of cybersecurity professionals. As a result, the demand for cybersecurity consultants has skyrocketed.
A cybersecurity consultant’s earnings depend on a number of factors, such as their responsibilities, the type of company or organization they work for, the industry they work in, their level of experience, and their location. Cyberseek says that the average annual salary for this job is $93,067 in the U.S., while PayScale indicates that salaries range from$62,000 to $134,000.
If you are keen to understand more about how to become a cybersecurity consultant, choose from the specially curated online cybersecurity courses on Emeritus to enhance your knowledge and skills. This will help you compete for the highest-paying and most challenging opportunities in the field of cybersecurity consulting.
By Riku Ghosh
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