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How To Start A Career In Cyber Security

Starting a career in cybersecurity requires a lot beyond getting behind the computer and trying to keep some accounts and profiles safe. This context explains in detail what measures to be put in place for anyone considering a career in cybersecurity.

What is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity simply covers the protection of internet-connected systems like software, hardware, and data from cyber-threats. This practice is often used by individuals and enterprises for the protection of their data against unauthorized access to data centers and other computerized systems.

The aim of implementing cybersecurity also extends to the provision of good security posture for servers, computers, mobile devices, network,s and the data stored on these devices from attackers with hazardous intent. Cyber-attacks can be designed to delete, access, or extort an organization’s or user’s sensitive data; thereby making cybersecurity vital. Government, Medical, Corporate and financial organizations, may all hold vital personal information on an individual or their workers for instance.

Cybersecurity is a constantly changing field, with the recent development of technologies that open up new avenues for cyberattacks. In addition, although significant security breaches are the ones that usually get publicized, small organizations still have to bother themselves with concerns of security breaches, as they may often be the target of phishing and viruses.

Understanding that Cyber security entails the practice of defending servers, computers, electronic systems, mobile devices, networks, and data from malicious attacks. This is also known as electronic information security or information technology security. The term applies in a huge number of contexts ranging from mobile computing to business, and can further be divided into a few common categories.

  • Network security refers to the practice of keeping a computer network secured from intruders, whether opportunistic malware or targeted attackers.
  • Application security centralizes on keeping devices and software free of threats. A compromised application could give access to the data which it is designed to protect. Successful security commences in the design stage, just right before a device or program is deployed.
  • Information security duly protects the privacy and integrity of data, both in transit and in storage.
  • Operational security covers the decisions and processes for handling and protecting data assets. All the permissions users have when they access a network as well as the procedures that determine where and how data may be shared or stored all fall under this umbrella.
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity truly define how an organization responds to an incident of cyber-security or any other event which can cause the loss of data or operations. Disaster recovery policies dictate how the organization goes about restoring its information and operations back to the same operating capacity as it was before the incident. Business continuity is the plan which an organization falls back on while it is trying to operate without certain resources.
  • End-user education talks about the most unpredictable cyber-security factor i.e., people. Anyone can, by accident, introduce a virus to an otherwise secure system when they fail to follow good security practices. Teaching users to delete email attachments they find suspicious, not plug in unidentified USB drives, and many other important lessons is integral for the security of any organization.

Courses and Disciplines Needed to Become a Cyber Security Personnel

As more sensitive information becomes available online and hackers are becoming more savvy, cyber-attacks become more widespread across the globe. These attacks usually take place when cyber criminals with malicious intentions find flaws in the security of websites, and collect data that they should not have access to.

Some notable cyber attacks have hit headlines recently, like that of GitHub, which suffered from a huge denial of service attack. In July 2017, a major credit rating agency Equifax and some of its customers were exposed to a massive data breach, which gave hackers access to series of personal and financial information for about 150 million people. These are just a bit examples of major cyber attacks that clearly demonstrate the core need for more tight cyber security through highly skilled cyber security personnel.

If you are ready to get started in the exciting and exploring world of cyber security, the next step is to find the best cyber security courses that duly match your career goals, aims, and goals. There are many cyber security training courses to choose from, however some of the top cyber security courses offered include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The only match for a highly-skilled hacker? Someone who is just as (if not more so) trained. When you become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), you learn to think just like one of those cyber criminals, which is as essential as putting a stop to cyber attacks.  By enrolling in a cyber security course that teaches the same techniques that cyber criminal masterminds utilize as their modus operandi, you will be many steps closer to becoming a Certified Ethical Hacker.

Prospective students can as well enroll in Simplilearn’s CEH v10 Certification Course, here they can learn the skills that are required to become certified, like reverse engineering and virus code writing.

For CEH certification and training, there is really no specific eligibility criteria, however, it is recommended that you should have a basic knowledge of TCP/IP.

Once you become certified, you may qualify for a series of exciting roles, for instance, security manager, intrusion analyst, CND auditor, and a lot more. In general, the annual salary for someone with this kind of certification usually ranges from $24,760 to $111,502 USD, according to Infosec Institute. While that is a very wide range, it is crucial to keep in mind that after you have some experience, it is very unlikely that your salary will be on the lower end of the spectrum.

  • CompTIA Security+

A CompTIA Security+ course will typically enlighten and teach students the skills they need for configuring and installing systems to secure applications, networks, and devices. Students also learn to perform a good number of threat analyses cum respond with appropriate mitigation techniques, and may also have the opportunity to participate in some risk mitigation activities while operating with an awareness of applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

If your intentions are to build a strong IT foundation and learn the fundamentals from the ground up, this cyber security course can be a very good option. Always keep in mind that although it is a cyber security course that teaches the basics, it does not in any way mean you will not learn a significant amount of important information. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense made it mandatory that all of their employees earn a CompTIA Security+ certification.

Once you receive your CompTIA Security+ certification, you will also have a good number of career options, like security manager,  security specialist, and administrator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals in these roles usually earn not less than $86,000 USD each year on average.

For some people, however, getting CompTIA Security+ certified does not necessarily mean they want to pursue a career in cyber security. In fact, PC support analysts, marketers, application developers, as well as other technology professionals can all benefit from the knowledge they receive via a CompTIA Security+ course since their jobs are still somehow related to internet security.

Prior to taking the Security+ SYO-501 certification and training exam, it is recommended (although not of high requirement) that those interested in pursuing CompTIA Security+ certification must first become Network+ certified.

  • Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)

If you are having intentions of breaking into the field of network security, the Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) is yet another education program you should consider. In fact, a lot of IT departments classify this type of certification as a minimum requirement.

Simplilearn’s CISSP Certification Training is duly aligned to the (ISC) CBK 2018 requirements. This cyber security course trains individuals in the industry’s best practices, which can also increase your chances of passing the exam on your very first attempt. The certification helps you develop the needed level of expertise in defining the architecture cum in the build, design, and maintenance of a secured business environment for your organization, all these via the use of globally approved information security standards.

If you are looking forward to working as an IT security manager, system engineer, or analyst, this certification can help give you an edge over the competition. If you are already working in the cyber security industry, this certification can help you grow in your career, which can also imply a better role with a higher salary. In fact, if your ultimate goal is to work in the role of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), this certification is a must.

This certification is not for beginners, as it requires not less than five years of professional full-time work experience in about two or more of the eight domains of the CISSP – CBK 2018. Anyone lacking this experience will rather receive an ISC2 associate title, which will be eventually replaced with the CISSP certificate once you have enough experience.

On average, the annual salary for a CISSP professional usually ranges from $73,627 to $119,184 USD, according to Infosec Institute.

Why Should You Choose Cyber Security as a Career?

Cyber security jobs are very much in high demand with the evolution of technology, this does not seem to be changing anytime soon. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports just how fast the information security field, in general, has grown, which is projected to be at a 37 percent growth rate from the years 2012 to 2022, which is also way higher growth rate, unlike other industries.

Industry watchdog CyberSeek also went ahead and estimated that as of 2018, that there were more than 300,000 available cyber security jobs across the United States. In addition to that, the research from Markets and Markets revealed that by the year 2023, the cyber security market is expected to be worth not less than $248.26 billion.

All these numbers have proved that when it comes to job security, you cannot really go wrong if you have successfully completed your cyber security training certification. If salary is also a huge motivator for you, consider the fact that depending on the specific training, cyber security professionals can always make as much as $243,610 annually.

Global Importance of Cyber Security

In today’s interconnected world, virtually everyone benefits from diverse advanced cyber defense programs. At an individual level, a cybersecurity related attack can result in everything ranging from extortion attempts, to identity theft, to the loss of important data like family photos and more. A lot of people rely on critical infrastructure like hospitals, power plants, and financial service companies. Securing these and many other organizations is a key to keeping our society running and functioning.

Also, everyone benefits from the work of cyber threat researchers, like that of the team of 250 threat researchers at Talos, who investigated new and emerging cyber attacks and threats strategies. They revealed new vulnerabilities, educate the public on the significant importance of cybersecurity, and also strengthen open source tools. Their work makes the internet a safe haven for everyone.

Cyber security is also an integral part of our society because the military, government, financial, corporate, and medical organizations collect, process, and store huge amounts of data on computers and many other devices. A good portion of that data can be regarded as sensitive information, whether that be financial data, intellectual property, personal information, or other types of data for which unauthorized exposure or access could have negative consequences.

Many organizations transmit sensitive data across several networks as well as to other devices in the course of doing business, and cyber security duly explains the discipline dedicated to protecting all that information cum the systems used to store or process it. As the sophistication and volume of cyber attacks grow, organizations and companies, especially those that are tasked with safeguarding the information that relates to health, national security, or financial records, need to take notable steps to protect their sensitive personnel and business information. In the early moments of March 2013, some top intelligence officials cautioned that digital spying and cyber attacks are the top threat to national security thereby eclipsing even terrorism.

Skill-set Necessary for Cyber Security Personnel

The cyber security industry seems to be having an increased workload, however, this does not mean it is not opened to a new workforce. After duly reading and understanding what cyber security entails, aside from the certification, you need some skills to put you up on the same scale and even better than those you look up to in the industry. Interestingly, some of these skills are what you already possess, while you will have to work on some.

  • Creative thinking
  • Critical analysis
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Computer literacy
  • Good programming and coding skills
  • Patience
  • Multitasking skills

Elements of Cybersecurity

To ensure cybersecurity, you need the coordination of security efforts which is made throughout an information system, including:

  • Application security
  • Information security
  • Network security
  • Disaster recovery/business continuity planning
  • Operational security
  • End-user education

Keeping up with the changing and evolving security risks can be somewhat challenging in cyber security. Usually, the approach has been to place focus on resources that make up the crucial components of the system and protect them against the biggest and most known threats (this means you have to leave components undefended and not trying to protect these systems against some less dangerous risks).

In a bid to deal with the current environment, advisory organizations are thereby promoting a more adaptive and proactive and approach. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for instance, already issued updated guidelines in its risk assessment framework which recommend a shift towards progressive monitoring and real-time assessments.

That being said, version 1.1 of the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure was released in April 2018. The voluntary cybersecurity framework (which was developed for use in the communications, banking, energy and defense industries), can be adopted by all sectors as well, not leaving out state and federal governments. President Donald Trump also issued an executive order which mandates that federal agencies adopt the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) in May 2017.

As a result of security risks, all investments in cybersecurity technologies and services are also increasing. In the past, Gartner also predicted that worldwide spending on information security products and services would grow to $114 billion in 2018, and another 8.7% increase to $124 billion in 2019. Later, in 2019, Gartner had predicted spending in enterprise risk and security management to grow 11% in 2020 regarding the Middle East and North Africa.

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Job Role and Opportunities for a Cyber Security Personnel

While the increased rate of cyber attacks is really not good news for any of us, there is a silver lining: this seems to be the best time to consider a career path in cyber security.

Information security analysts and Cyber security professionals possess a wide range of responsibilities, however, the crux of their job is to protect online data from being corrupted and compromised. As more of our personal information is saved online, the more important it becomes to step up this form of security.

Although, Cyber security careers are complex as many roles can be found with retailers, banks, and government organizations. The good news is that on the job, you can expect to safeguard an organization’s network and file, create security plans, install firewalls, and monitor activity. If a breach occurs, you will be solely responsible for identifying the problem and also finding a solution very quickly.

Due to the frequency of cyber attacks, careers are varied and qualified professionals are in high demand. If you are ready to get started in this fast-growing career, start exploring cyber careers now. Below is a good number of job roles you can expect as a cyber security personnel.

  • Security Specialist -An entry-level role with huge potentials
  • Incident Responder -protect and prevent against threats
  • Security Administrator -Keep security systems running smoothly each day
  • Vulnerability Assessor -Spot system vulnerabilities and make solutions
  • Cryptographer -Write the code that hackers cannot crack
  • Security Manager -Keeping systems secure with significant help from an expert team
  • Security Architect -Outsmart online criminals by designing tough-to-crack security systems
  • Chief Information Security Officer -Expertise in computer security and business acumen will take you far as a CISO
  • Security Analyst -Plan and execute lots of flawless security measures
  • Security Auditor -Find the weak spots in a security system before intruders do
  • Security Director -Make the rules and solve complex problems
  • Forensic Expert -Protect the cyber world and give help to law enforcement agents
  • Penetration Tester -protect and hack computer systems for good
  • Security Consultant -Implement and advise security solutions
  • Security Engineer -Build IT security systems for your organization
  • Source Code Auditor -Ensure code safety and accuracy prior to release.

With this content, you are expected to be well equipped for the daunting, tasking but rewarding cybersecurity career you would be settling for.

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