With so many resources and such emphasis placed on the importance of cybersecurity departments in the public and private sphere, it’s important to know how these types of groups are structured and the skills needed to operate them.
Safe usage of the internet and protection of confidential data against constant attacks is now a core business need – as a result, cybersecurity teams are at the frontline.
So what does it take to become a part of one of these cybersecurity teams, and what training and education is required?
The structure of a cybersecurity team can depend on the information or data it is tasked with protecting.
For instance, a cybersecurity team protecting a large, multinational department store that only asks for credit card information will need different resources and structure than a government contractor that has access to state secrets and classified information.
However, there are many common roles that appear in teams no matter their size or purpose:
· Analysts: Assesses threats and recommends the best way to counter them – often assists in testing or creating solutions.
· Engineers: Monitors security, conducts analysis and investigates new processes and techniques to secure information.
· Architects: Designs entire security systems and may help administer them.
· Software developers/coders: Creates software tools to help monitor threats and helps administer security solutions across a network. Many developers help with penetration testing.
Additionally, other roles may appear as necessary. For instance, a network engineer may be specialized with protecting a particularly sensitive network and the devices that connect to it.
Incident handlers may also be present to deal with particularly large attacks, stopping them from disrupting normal business activities and conducting post-event analysis to stop them from happening again.
As the importance of security rises and becomes more integrated with all aspects of business, more organizations now also hire Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) to help guide their in-house cybersecurity teams, and help translate opaque security issues to the rest of the business.
What Skills Do You Need?
The skills needed for different roles will typically differ based on seniority. For example, a CISO will need to understand and apply business-critical issues more than an analyst. However, they share common traits.
The ability to think like an attacker is key. Analysts, engineers and network architects all need to understand the latest techniques used by hackers and their motivations.
Additionally, cybersecurity professionals need to think critically, understanding where the flaws might be in their own networks and constantly question their approach. Questions they may need to ask include where their unprotected areas are, and how could they constantly improve them?
Rapid analysis is important: which threats are the most dangerous, and how should the business respond to make sure everything operates effectively?
Cybersecurity teams also need to be swift, making decisions quickly. Those decisions need to be based on information and data recorded by the team itself, so an understanding of analytics and data management is key.
Additionally, as cybersecurity becomes more integrated with critical business issues, it helps if teams defending against cyber crime are able to understand their context within the overall business and understand what relevance their work has to the strategic vision of the company. Being able to communicate that importance to people outside their team is another important ability.
Moving Up the Ladder
There is a clear career progression within these teams, allowing cybersecurity professionals a lucrative and long-term path forward. Many lower-level analysts spend time learning advanced critical skills including threat analysis and data management, then spend time working up to a more specialized role such as a network engineer or architect.
More senior roles, such as an administrator or team manager, may have spent time in cybersecurity training, earning a specialized degree to round out their knowledge.
One key to advancing for professionals is to understand the role of security in the overall business, and improve their communication skills – many CISOs spend time explaining complex security issues to those outside the team who may not understand them fully.
Become an integral part of your cybersecurity team with an advanced education and start scaling the cybersecurity career ladder today.