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TechieGen Career Guide

How To Become A Cyber-Security Analyst

TechieGen's Cyber Security career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in Cyber Security. The guide provides an in-depth overview of the skills you should learn, the best data training options, career paths in Cyber Security, how to become Cyber security analyst, and more.

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15 Minute Read

What Is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks. Also known as information technology (IT) security, cybersecurity measures are designed to combat threats against networked systems and applications, whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organization. In 2020, the average cost of a data breach was USD 3.86 million globally, and USD 8.64 million in the United States. These costs include the expenses of discovering and responding to the breach, the cost of downtime and lost revenue, and the long-term reputational damage to a business and its brand. Cybercriminals target customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) - names, addresses, national identification numbers (e.g., Social Security numbers in the U.S., fiscal codes in Italy), credit card information - and then sell these records in underground digital marketplaces. Compromised PII often leads to a loss of customer trust, regulatory fines, and even legal action.

Security system complexity, created by disparate technologies and a lack of in-house expertise, can amplify these costs. But organizations with a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, governed by best practices and automated using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, can fight cyber threats more effectively and reduce the lifecycle and impact of breaches when they occur. Although cybersecurity professionals work hard to close security gaps, attackers are always looking for new ways to escape IT notice, evade defense measures, and exploit emerging weaknesses. The latest cybersecurity threats are putting a new spin on “known” threats, taking advantage of work-from-home environments, remote access tools, and new cloud services. Given the rapidly evolving technological landscape and the fact that adoption of software is ever increasing across various sectors including finance, government, military, retail, hospitals, education, energy to name a few, more and more information is becoming digital and accessible through wireless and wired digital communication networks and across the omnipresent internet. All this highly sensitive information is of a great value to criminals and evil doers which is why it is important to protect it using a strong cyber security measures and processes. The importance of good cyber security strategies is evident in the recent high-profile security breaches of organizations such as Equifax, Yahoo, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who lost extremely sensitive user information that caused irreparable damage to both their finances and reputation. And as the trend suggests, the rate of cyber-attacks show no sign of slowing down. Companies, both large and small, are targeted everyday by attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause disruption of services.

The same evolving technological landscape also poses challenges in implementing effective cyber security strategies. Software constantly changes when its updated and modified which introduces new issues and vulnerabilities and opens it up for various cyber-attacks. Furthermore, IT infrastructure evolves as well with many of the companies already migrating their on-premise systems to the cloud which introduces a whole new set of design and implementation issues resulting in a new category of vulnerabilities. Companies are unaware of the various risks within their IT infrastructure and hence fail to have any cyber security countermeasures in place until it’s far too late.

Types of Cyber Security 

   

  • Application Security – Focuses on finding and fixing vulnerabilities in application codes to make apps more secure.

  • Network Security – Aims to prevent and protect corporate networks from intrusions such as malware or targeted attackers.

  • Operational Security – Includes the processes and decisions for protecting and managing data assets. It encompasses user permissions for network access and the procedures that dictate the way data should be stored and shared safely.

  • Information Security – Safeguards data integrity and privacy during its storage and transmission from one machine to another.

  • End-User Education – Anyone can unintentionally introduce a cybersecurity threat such as a virus by failing to follow safe security practices. Thus, educating end-users to delete suspicious emails, refrain from plugging in unidentified USB drives, and other essential lessons are vital for protecting corporate security.

  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity – It defines how an organization responds to a cybersecurity incident that causes data loss or service outage and how it will restore its information and operations to return to the same operating capacity as before the event. Business continuity is the plan a company will rely on while operating without specific resources.

While physical security protects facilities and objects in the real world, cybersecurity protects information systems and data. Cybersecurity is the practice of safeguarding servers, computers, electronic systems, networks, mobile devices, and data from malicious electronic attacks. It’s aimed to protect assets from malicious codes and logins and is applied in a broad range of contexts, from mobile computing to businesses.

 

What Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Do?

A cyber security analyst is primarily responsible for protecting a company’s network and systems from cyber-attacks. This involves researching upcoming IT trends, creating contingency plans, reviewing suspicious activities, reporting security breaches, and educating the rest of the company on security measures. 

Cyber security analysts are also responsible for implementing threat protection measures and security controls. They may even simulate security attacks to find out the potential vulnerabilities that exist within the organization. Since hackers are continually using new strategies and tools, cyber security analysts also need to stay informed about the various developments in their digital weapons.

A cyber security analyst prepares for and responds to cyber attacks. This process might differ between workplaces, companies, and sectors, but the general idea remains the same. Here are a few common cyber security analyst roles and responsibilities:

Manage Software

Install, manage, and update software on all the systems and networks in an organization, and ensure adequate security measures on all of them.

Monitor Networks

Monitor networks to stay informed of activities taking place within them, identify negative activity in incoming code and respond to them accordingly.

Develop Security Plans

Providing suggestions and best data security practices for employees and end users.

Reporting  

Compile ongoing safety reports, document security issues and measures taken to resolve them.

Research

Research upcoming trends in information technology and security, stay updated on potential threats and attacks, and come up with preventive strategies.

 

Skills for Cyber Security Analysts?

 

A cyber security analyst needs to have a broad range of skills to be able to handle malware and security breaches. The most important skills for a cyber security analyst are:

Scripting

Working knowledge of computer programming languages and scripts like Java or C++ is highly sought after. This enables cyber security analysts to understand encoded threats and rewrite software, if needed.

Hacking

Cyber security analysts need to think like a hacker to understand the hacking process. This will enable them to prepare for cyber attacks and prevent them before they even occur.

Networking

Cyber security analysts need to have a vast expertise in working with diverse networks and understand how each of these elements can impact the security of an organization.

Operating Systems

Cyber security analysts need to be comfortable working on all types of operating systems such as Linux, Windows, iOS, Android etc.

A diverse IT background

It takes more than dedicated cybersecurity training courses to excel in this field. You need to learn as much as you can about IT to get a sense of the systems and processes that form the foundation of the technology you will be securing. 

Diverse outside experience

That said, there is incredible value in diverse knowledge outside of technology. Potential cybersecurity roles are so broad that the field benefits from non-tech backgrounds such as psychology, project managementmarketing, and public relations. Soft skills are incredibly crucial for advocating for the security needs of the company and understanding the motives of cyber attackers.

Critical thinking

Cybersecurity will require you to analyze and prioritize complex situations. You'll need to be skilled at identifying what could go wrong and determining the company's best course of action based on its available capabilities and resources.

Attention to detail

Security pros are tasked with diving deep into technical issues and examining them. If you take on a security role, you'll need to pay careful attention to minute details to diagnose and assess security vulnerabilities accurately.

Communication

In this field, you will not just be working with your security team, you'll also need to advocate for the security needs of the company by clearly explaining your findings to those that are less tech-savvy. The ability to communicate highly technical concepts to a broad audience is critical for any successful cybersecurity professional. Other soft skills like leadership and public speaking are also essential, so take some online courses to brush up on those skills before your next interview. 

Python

Learning how to write scripts and applications in Python will be incredibly useful for automating tasks and creating tools that can be used to solve problems in the workplace. Python is also incredibly helpful in creating digital forensics tools that you can use to troubleshoot and investigate security vulnerabilities. Here are some other cool things Python can do.

Javascript

Javascript is widely used in web development to add dynamic and interactive elements to websites. By learning this programming language for cybersecurity, you can effectively study the malicious executables used by hackers to exploit web security vulnerabilities.

PHP

Anyone venturing into web security needs to understand PHP. This server-side programming language is used to extract data from a database to create dynamic web pages.

C and C++

You should learn these languages if you will be pursuing application security. Understanding lower-level languages will provide you with more significant insights into the underlying processes that hackers use to exploit applications and programs.

HTML

While HTML is technically a markup language and not a programming language, it pays to know this fundamental building block of the web. 

Certifications Required to Become a Cyber Security Analyst

1. CompTIA's Network+

This certification provides the base knowledge necessary for most cybersecurity jobs. The primary focus of the Network+ certification is to determine the candidate's knowledge and understanding of how networks and computers communicate as well as the awareness of cybersecurity protocols. Here are some other aspects of information technology that this certification teaches:

  • Tools used to troubleshoot issues within the network

  • Best practices for providing and ensuring network security

  • Understanding of how the network operates

  • Familiarity with infrastructures

Though this certification is rarely a requirement for earning employment, it can prove to be an asset when applying for positions. A cybersecurity analyst, also known as a CSA, shares many responsibilities with network analysts, making this a beneficial credential to possess.

Prerequisites: CompTIA doesn't impose any requirements to take this exam, however, it is geared toward individuals who have at least nine months of experience working with networking.

2. CompTIA's Security+

This certification is considered by many to be a vital cybersecurity certification and minimum qualification for this field because it provides such a foundational basis of understanding. Participants who complete this exam are provided an overview of vulnerabilities, risk management and cryptography. Students are taught the proper procedures for installing and configuring systems as well as how to secure networks, applications and devices. Additionally, you are trained on the protocols necessary to perform a threat analysis on said systems and techniques for lessening the impact of any threats.

Prerequisites: There are no specific requirements for taking this exam. However, it is recommended that candidates complete the Network+ certification and obtain at least two years of IT experience in administration beforehand.

3. CompTIACybersecurity Analyst

Initially known as the CSA+, this certification is ideal for IT professionals that would like to gain the skills necessary to become a security analyst. The focus of this certification is to equip IT staff with the tools necessary to detect cyber threats by both analyzing and identifying potential vulnerabilities and risks. Also, it teaches students the behavioral analytical skills necessary to identify malware and advanced persistent threats, also known as APTs, and how to combat them. In turn, this improves the overall visibility of potential threats to the network and systems. The CySA+ provides hands-on training and foundational knowledge for a role as a cybersecurity analyst. Furthermore, it is a credential that has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI. Also, certification teaches how to:

  • Protect and secure an organization's systems and applications

  • Develop and utilize threat-detection tools

  • Conduct data analysis and interpret the results to pinpoint an organization's risks, threats and vulnerabilities

  • Determine an incident's impact by examining threat data

  • Develop a threat assessment and reaction toolkit with established best practices, communication strategies and the appropriate forensic tools

  • Use data to recommend and implement identity and access security strategies while maintaining involvement in the Software Development Life Cycle, also known as the SDLC

Prerequisites: Though it's unnecessary for candidates to complete any specific prerequisites before taking the CySA+ certification, the program was designed to build off of the information learned in CompTIA's Network+ or Security+. However, the equivalent experience could also equip students with the necessary knowledge. This certification is considered an intermediate level and intended to act as the step between the CompTIA Security+, which provides general knowledge, and the CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner, or CASP, which is considered an advanced level exam.

4. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner

This certification is designed to provide advanced cybersecurity skills to practitioners through performance-based, hands-on training. Participants who pass the exam are prolific in integrating enterprise security, research and collaboration, the operations and architecture of enterprise security and risk management. Some of the other topics covered in the CASP+ exam are:

  • Expanding an enterprise security domain to meet requirements, techniques, architecture concepts and standard operations

  • Anticipating defensive needs to meet the organization's goals

  • Interpreting data to analyze risks

  • Providing security control and minimizing software vulnerability for all devices, including mobile

  • Implementing virtualization and cloud technologies into a secure enterprise architecture

  • Using cryptographic techniques, like mobile device encryption, cryptocurrency and blockchain

Prerequisites: Participants are suggested to have at least 10 years of IT administrative experience, including at least five years of experience in technical security, before attempting this certification.

5. CompTIA Security Analytics Expert certification

Once you have earned several CompTIA certifications, you can validate your expert-level mastery by taking the CompTIA Security Analytics Expert certification exam. This level of certification proves that you have the knowledge and skills to use data analytics to research and develop security solutions.

Prerequisites: To receive this certification, you must already have active certifications in Security+, CySA+ and CASP+.

6. The EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker Certification

The Certified Ethical Hacker certification, also referred to as the CEH or Certified Network Defense Architect for employees of the government, trains students on how to identify and patch the weaknesses in a network. This certification is great for enhancing your current professional skillset as it teaches you how to think like a hacker, allowing you to predict and protect against potential attacks. The training is hands-on, with participants using their own systems to learn about the five primary phases of hacking:

  1. Surveillance

  2. Establishing access

  3. Enumeration

  4. Keeping access

  5. Hiding the evidence

Prerequisites: Before taking this exam, participants are required to have at least two years of information technology industry experience. Though not specifically required, obtaining your Security+ certification can be extremely beneficial before attempting this certification.

7. Certified Security Analyst Training

This training program is intended to teach IT security professionals how to perform realistic penetration tests, also known as pen tests. Students are taught the methodologies, techniques and tools necessary for designing, securing and conducting comprehensive tests on an organization's networks. These tests are instrumental in identifying and mitigating any security risks to your infrastructure. Aside from learning how to identify and avoid hackers, this course also teaches you how to eliminate any threats.

Prerequisites: Though not required, it's recommended that participants first complete the Certified Ethical Hacker Certification.

8. The GIAC Information Security Fundamentals

The certifications offered by this organization provide a great foundation for anyone looking to begin a career in security analysis. This introductory credential validates a working knowledge of computer networking functions, security foundation, a basic understanding of cryptography and cybersecurity technologies. Those with a GISF certification will be able to:

  • Understand risks to information resources

  • Implement the best practices to protect a network against threats

  • Develop diversified protection strategies

Prerequisites: Though there are no specified prerequisites or requirements, experience and/or formal education will prove helpful before taking this exam.

9. The GIAC Security Essentials Certification

This intermediate-level certification goes beyond basic concepts and terminology. With this credential, IT professionals are demonstrating they have hands-on experience with both systems and security tasks. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Implementing security systems for the web, virtualization, cloud and endpoint

  • Developing contingency plans to manage threats

  • Conducting penetration testing

  • Scanning the networks for vulnerabilities

  • Developing active defense systems

  • Basic understanding and application of cryptography

Prerequisites: There are no standard requirements for this credential, but candidates are recommended to at least have some background working with networks and information systems.

10. Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)², offers this certification to provide cybersecurity professionals with training on how to mitigate vulnerabilities in web-based systems, professional ethics, investigating threats and concepts related to cryptography. The CISSP is an excellent addition to a resume and opens students up to career advancements.

Prerequisites: To take this certification, students must have at least five years of relevant experience in the industry as well as a familiarity with at least two domains in the Common Body of Knowledge.

ementing threat protection measures and security controls. They may even simulate security attacks to find out the potential vulnerabilities that exist within the organization. Since hackers are continually using new strategies and tools, cyber security analysts also need to stay informed about the various developments in their digital weapons.

 
 

Cyber Security Analyst Job Description 

As cyber attacks and threats become more frequent, the demand for cyber security analysts continue to grow. According to RiskBased Security, a shocking 7.9 billion records were exposed by data breaches in the first nine months of 2019. This was a 112% increase in the number of records exposed in 2018.

Cyber security analyst jobs are projected to grow upto 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than any other occupation. A job description for cyber security analysts may differ for different organizations and sectors. However, here are some common attributes found in every one of them:

  • Configure antivirus systems and consoles and take care of day-to-day operations and data structures

  • Conduct threat and risk analysis and provide viable solutions for them

  • Collect and analyze data to eliminate risk, performance and capacity issues

  • Create tools and actively take part in the security architecture reviews

  • Design and develop security features and procedures

  • Integrate and deploy security software solutions

  • Design secure principles and optimize new technology services

Cyber Security Roles & Salaries In India

1. Network Security Engineer

It’s a critical position in every organization. This individual is responsible for protecting the organization’s assets from threats and needs to possess astute organizational, technical, and communication skills.

The job responsibilities encompass a focus on quality control within the IT infrastructure, including designing, building, and protecting scalable, secure, and robust systems, assisting the company in understanding advanced cyber threats, working on operational data center systems and networks, and helping create robust strategies to protect the organizational structure. They also oversee the maintenance of routers, firewalls, switches, VPNs, and various network monitoring tools.

A network security engineer’s salary is in the range of INR 4 lakhs to 8 lakhs per annum.

2. Cyber Security Analyst

A cybersecurity analyst is also referred to as an IT security analyst, security analyst, information system security analyst, or data security analyst. The person is primarily responsible for planning, implementing, and upgrading security controls and measures. The job involves maintaining data, monitoring security access, and protecting information systems and digital files against unauthorized access, modification, and destruction. A security analyst is expected to manage a network, intrusion detection and prevention systems, conduct internal and external security audits, and analyze security breaches to determine their root cause. The individual is also responsible for defining, maintaining, and implementing corporate security policies and coordinate security plans with outside vendors. Further, the person is also responsible for training fellow employees in security procedures by following best practices to avoid security breaches.

 

The salary of a cybersecurity analyst starts from INR. 5 to 6 lakhs per annum.

3. Security Architect

A security architect plays a primary role in designing the computer and network security architecture for an organization. This person helps with researching, planning, and developing security elements. The individual creates a design based on the company’s needs and then works together with the programming team to make the final structure. Besides planning the architecture, a security analyst is expected to develop organizational procedures and policies regarding how employees should use the security systems and decide on the punitive actions in case of any lapses. Thus, the person is expected to know the business with an in-depth awareness of its technology and information needs.

The yearly salary of a security architect starts at INR. 17-22 lakhs.

4. Cyber Security Manager

A cybersecurity manager creates strategies to enhance Internet and network security related to various projects. This person is responsible for maintaining security protocols throughout the organization and manages a team of IT professionals to ensure the highest standards of data security are stringently maintained. The individual is expected to frequently review the existing security policies and make sure that the policies are based on new threats. Upskilling through courses in cyber security in India can help you become a manager quickly. Further, the person performs regular checks on all servers, routers, switches, and other connected devices to confirm that there are no loose ends or lapses in the security system. The person is also expected to hire new employees, prepare and oversee budgets, and evaluate and procure new security technologies and tools.

The average annual salary of a cybersecurity manager is INR. 12 lakhs. 

5. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Also referred to as CSO (Chief Security Executive), CISO is a C-level management executive. A report from PWC states that nowadays, 80+ percent of organizations have a CISO on the management team. A CISO oversees the operations of a company’s IT security department and related staff. This person is responsible for directing and managing operations, strategies, and budgets to safeguard the organization’s information assets. A CISO works with the team to identify, build, implement, and manage organization-wide processes to ensure there are no security breaches. The person is expected to respond to incidents and devise appropriate controls and standards to mitigate security risks maintaining the necessary business continuity.

The average annual salary of a CISO is Rs. 23 LPA.

6. Ethical Hackers

Ethical hackers are responsible for identifying vulnerabilities and security flaws and help businesses from malicious hackers. They work with the authorization of the organizations they work in to ensure that their hacking efforts are legal and legitimate. They are responsible for penetrating computer systems and networks to quickly find and fix computer security vulnerabilities, perform reverse engineering, application analysis, protocol analysis, malware analysis, and debugging. Some ethical hackers begin with IT experience and get Certified Ethical Hacker credentials provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants.

The annual salary of an ethical hacker ranges from INR 5 lakhs to 6 lakhs.

Cybersecurity professionals are in great demand. As you can see, there is an increase in cybercrimes every day. A career in cybersecurity is as rewarding as it is equally demanding. Cybersecurity professionals are wanted in large numbers worldwide because of the vast gap between the number of existing cybersecurity professionals and the cybersecurity challenges faced daily.  Yet another reason for the popularity of this domain of career is because the cybersecurity professionals are the ones who protect the data of the organization from being compromised. Being a cybersecurity professional, you are responsible for your organization’s data’s safety and security. There are various levels of roles that can be taken in the profession, from entry-level positions like Network Administrator to the advanced role like Cyber Security Architect.

Cybersecurity professionals are wanted in every organization because of their importance in data security. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is very high, and India provides a broader opportunity compared to other Asia-Pacific countries. The availability of skilled professionals who can tackle the cybersecurity issue is significantly less in India, thus opening many new doors for young Indians for a cybersecurity career. 

Having a college degree is the right way of starting a career in cybersecurity, but it is not the only way. 43% of cybersecurity professionals are certification holders, who got training besides the college degree. Having a proper training certificate in cybersecurity is an excellent way of starting a cybersecurity career.

 

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TechieGen's Cyber Security career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in Cyber Security. The guide provides an in-depth overview of the skills you should learn, the best data training options, career paths in Cyber Security, how to become Cyber security analyst, and more.