Cyber Security Analysts are professionals who are responsible for monitoring computer networks by adopting various technologies and processes, and ensuring that proper systems and safeguards are in place so as to protect the personal and sensitive information and data from cyber criminals. They shield networks, data, programs and websites from various cyber threats such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, hacks and viruses.
The focus of Cyber Security Analysts is a prevention of cyber-attacks more than post-incident response. They serve the purpose of providing immediate response to cyber alerts, derailing breaches before they even occur. Thus, techniques such as penetration testing and ethical hacking are acquired by these professionals to validate the proper functioning of security systems.
Importance of Security Analysis
Cyber Security Analysis helps prevent attacks, allows systems to work smoothly, prevents the theft of personal and crucial information, and mitigates risks pertaining to the loss of proprietary data.
This analysis is conducted by Cyber Security Analysts using the knowledge and expertise that they possess related to databases, networks, firewalls, hardware and encryption.
Some of the essential skills required by a Cyber Security Analyst include:
- Problem-solving skills
- Analytical bent of mind
- Understanding of security standards, government and industry rules and regulations and emerging security breaches in cyberspace
- Ability to identify risks and create, test and execute recovery plans and policies
- Expertise in firewall installation and other data encryption and security software
Educational Preparation/ Certifications
To become a Security Analyst, a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Cyber Security or a related field will work just fine.
These days, apart from degrees and experience, employers keenly look for professionals with relevant cyber security certification courses. Some of the popular cyber security certifications that provide expertise in cybersecurity analysis have been listed and briefed below:
- CEH – The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification validates your expertise in ethical and legitimate hacking techniques and technologies. The training course or the Certified Ethical Hacker Training Program makes you understand a hacker’s skills so that you think alike and become capable of mitigating and defending attacks.
- ECSA – The EC Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) certification demonstrates your expertise in applying a suitable methodology to execute a penetration test for an organization or a business. The ECSA exam is taken up upon earning a CEH credential. The ECSA training program introduces the candidates to a unique set of methodologies which cover various pentesting requirements across verticals.
- CISSP – The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, offered by (ISC)2, demonstrates a professional’s expertise in planning, designing and managing the security infrastructure or information security programs for an organization.
- CompTIA CySA+ – CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) Certification validates an individual’s skills in detecting, preventing and combating cybersecurity threats and weaknesses.
Job Opportunities and the Emerging Trend
No one has ever seen a better time to consider and invest in a cybersecurity career. As more and more crucial and personal information is getting stored online, the more important it has become to increase security.
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities for Information Security Analysts is estimated to grow by 28% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average taken for all occupations.
Numerous job opportunities for Cyber Security Analysts come across industries and sectors such as banks, retailers and government institutions and organizations.
The career path for a Security Analyst is as follows:
- Security Architect
- Security Engineer
- Security Manager
- Security Consultant
- Security Director
There are several other similar positions with job titles such as:
- Systems Analyst Specialist
- Senior Analyst
- Applications System Analyst
- Business Systems Analyst
- Systems Analyst
- Database Analyst
Looking at salaries offered to Cyber Security Analysts, you will be highly convinced of the bright career prospects that this profession is capable of offering you. As per PayScale, the average salary of a Cyber Security Analyst is $75,974 per year, which increases tremendously with the increase in experience.