The business world’s increasing reliance on technology has made data and network protection all the more critical in recent years. Consider that, according to IBM, the average cost of data breaches in 2022 was $4.35 million globally and $9.44 million in the U.S. alone. This has created a pressing need for cybersecurity in organizations across industries, leading to a high demand for cybersecurity analysts. So what does a cybersecurity analyst do to make it a highly sought-after career? Let’s answer that question as well as the skills required to succeed at this job.
What Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Do Daily?
So what does a cybersecurity analyst do on a day-to-day basis? Their responsibilities can vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization they work for, as well as the specific role they have. However, here are some common tasks they have to perform:
- Investigate security alerts and security breaches: They have to investigate and respond to security incidents such as attempted intrusions or data breaches; this may include collecting and analyzing data from affected systems, identifying the cause of the incident, and determining the appropriate course of action to mitigate the damage.
- Monitor networks: The need to track for suspicious activity by monitoring networks and systems using security tools such as intrusion detection systems, and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software.
- Conduct ethical hacking: Cybersecurity analysts conduct ethical hacking to detect vulnerabilities in organizations’ computer networks and systems that hackers can exploit, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.
- Develop and implement security protocols: A standard task is to develop and implement security protocols such as encryption, transmission control, multi-factor authentication, and access management to protect against data breaches.
- Technology research: A key part of staying relevant and effective in this role is to keep up to date with the latest security trends and vulnerabilities, and implement new security measures as needed.
- Install and operate security software: Install and enable security software to protect the organization’s systems against malicious attacks such as spam, virus, and malware.
Cybersecurity Analyst Skills
One of the fundamental goals of a cybersecurity analyst—as you will acknowledge after learning what does a cybersecurity analyst do—is protecting an organization’s computer networks and systems from cyber attacks. They are accountable for identifying and mitigating security threats, ensuring compliance with industry regulations, and implementing security measures to protect sensitive information. To be successful in this role, a cybersecurity analyst must possess a variety of hard and soft skills.
- Knowledge of various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS
- Expertise in data security, networking protocols, and technologies
- Knowledge of cybersecurity frameworks, including CIS, ISO, SOC2, and NIST
- Experience with security tools and technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software
- Familiarity with cloud technology
- Knowledge of endpoint management tools
- Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
- Ability to work well in a team and collaborate with other departments
- Attention to detail and ability to multitask
- Strong project management skills
Why Pursue a Career in Cybersecurity?
Now that you know what does a cybersecurity analyst do, here are a few reasons why you should consider pursuing a career in this field:
1. Cybersecurity Career Path
Cybersecurity is full of lucrative opportunities and career growth. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of 35% for information security analysts in the next ten years, making it one of the fastest-growing occupations.
2. Cybersecurity Job Prospects
According to McKinsey, at present, there are over 3.5 million cybersecurity job positions open worldwide. With the increasing reliance on technology in business, this demand for cybersecurity professionals is only going to grow in the future.
3. Cybersecurity Analyst Salary
The field of cybersecurity offers an abundance of exciting job opportunities for those with the right skills. According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a cybersecurity engineer in the U.S. is $99,250.
How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst
So far, we have covered what does a cybersecurity analyst do, the skills they need and a career overview. Now, let’s look at how to become a cybersecurity analyst.
Step 1: Apply for Jobs or Internships
To become a top candidate for such roles, cybersecurity analysts should have a strong understanding of the threat landscape and keep themselves up to date with the latest security trends and vulnerabilities. One of the best ways to enhance your knowledge in the field is to gain hands-on experience by interning, freelancing, and working in similar roles. Platforms such as LinkedIn, internships.com, or ZipRecruiter, can help you find great opportunities in the field.
Step 2: Learn the Basics of Cybersecurity
You can gain foundational knowledge and qualifications by obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, IT, systems engineering, or a related field.
Step 3: Get a Cybersecurity Certification
If you want to advance your career in this field, consider getting certifications in cybersecurity. A cybersecurity certification can give you a competitive edge, enhance your knowledge of the latest technologies, and equip you with the skills essential to secure organizational networks and services from cyber-attacks. Furthermore, a cybersecurity certification will boost your portfolio and indicate your expertise in the field.
Step 4: Develop Your Cybersecurity Skills
It is essential to advance your hard and soft skills to thrive in this highly specialized profession. Take stock of the skills and qualifications required for the role and the areas you need to work on for the position, and then work towards developing your skills through courses and certifications.
Do You Need a Degree to be a Cybersecurity Analyst?
Most companies prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, IT, and related fields. However, it is also possible to become a cybersecurity analyst by gaining experience and qualifications through an entry-level job in the related field and improving your portfolio. Additionally, you can consider taking online courses that equip you with the knowledge and skills required for the job role. To that end, you can explore these cybersecurity courses offered by Emeritus.
Top Companies Hiring Cybersecurity Analysts
While cybersecurity analysts are required by organizations across the board, according to Indeed, some of the top companies hiring cybersecurity analysts in the U.S. include Exelon, ManTech International Corporation, DISYS, ACI Federal and Marsh McLennan, among others.
Now that you have a good understanding of what does a cybersecurity analyst do and how you can become one, take the necessary steps, master your skills, and gain the required experience. Emeritus offers an expansive range of online cybersecurity courses —developed in collaboration with the world’s top universities—to help you become a pro cybersecurity analyst.
By Krati Joshi
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