We’re living and working in a time of big data. Data is the world’s most valuable resource and can give companies a lot of power. We’re also living in an age of remote working and an increased reliance on tech, with a rise in digitally native businesses and many more seeking to embrace digitisation. All of these combined means that companies are more at risk from hackers and cybersecurity breaches. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Cyber Security is top of mind for almost every company with a digital presence right now.
It’s common knowledge that any computer connected to the internet is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. These attacks are growing more sophisticated as our knowledge of, and dependence on technology increases. We’re all more reliant on online databases, digital data management, online shopping and even cloud storage which means cyber-attacks can have devastating impacts in today’s culture compared to even five years ago.
As hackers and cybercriminals become more knowledgeable and businesses from all industries are moving into digital spaces, cybersecurity specialists are becoming the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector. In fact, the role came 10th on LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report for 2020.
It’s clear that businesses need to protect both themselves and their customers from a constant threat of online attack, more so now than ever. As we’ve seen many times in the past cyber-attacks can have devastating effects that cost millions and cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation when personal data is involved. Hiring professionals in cybersecurity is one of the simplest but most effective solutions to this threat.
But what exactly is a cybersecurity analyst, and how can they help your organisation as you scale?
What is a Cyber Security Analyst?
A Cyber Security Analyst helps protect an organisation from cyber threats by using various technologies and methodologies. It is their job to protect the IT infrastructure of an organisation and monitor systems, detect any weaknesses and identify threats. They must resolve any issues and try to strengthen all networks, hardware and software to prevent attacks.
What does a Cyber Security Analyst do?
As tech becomes a more imperative element of our working lives and business operations, the role of a Cyber Security Analyst is becoming one of the most crucial in any organisation.
A Cyber Security Analyst must keep up to date with the latest security and technology developments as well as evaluate any emerging cybersecurity threats so that they can be managed effectively.
They must continuously monitor for attacks, intrusions and unusual, unauthorised activity within networks. Using analytic tools, a cybersecurity analyst can determine threat patterns and vulnerabilities. They should also create a plan for disaster recovery and contingency plans in preparation for any security breaches. Sometimes, cybersecurity analysts will simulate security breaches to test their system.
A cybersecurity analyst is responsible for the safety of an organisation in a digital world, and therefore they must be prepared to report to stakeholders, make recommendations and help to train the broader team on issues of cybersecurity. They must regularly audit systems and ensure they stay secure and be on hand to investigate threats, phishing emails and other security alerts.
Can Cyber Security Analysts specialise?
As technology becomes more complex, cybersecurity has matured into a diverse set of functions. In large corporations there can be up to eight functional areas of cybersecurity, but in smaller, scaling companies one or two employees can cover most of these areas.
A cybersecurity professional may want to specialise in one of the following areas if they wish to progress in their career, but for scaling tech businesses, it’s more beneficial to hire someone who can cover all bases well.
· Architecture and Policy – design security architectures which translate into processes, frameworks and internal policies
· Data Loss Prevention – malware detection, updating antivirus software, monitoring GDPR compliance
· Governance, Risk and Compliance – measure and quantify risk and perform internal audits.
· Identity and Access Management – manage identification and permissions
· Incident Response and Forensic Analysis – responding to attacks
· Penetration Testing – intentionally attack systems to test weaknesses
· Secure DevOps – install, configure and operate systems like firewalls and HSMs
· Secure Software Development – develop security systems to sell as products
What industries do Cyber Security Analysts work in?
As with many emerging tech roles, as more businesses new become digitally-native or more established names embrace digital transformation, there is a growing need for Cyber Security Analysts in all industries. As we’re all working remotely, saving information to cloud-based networks and even as businesses move online, cybersecurity threats are everywhere.
If your business relies on tech or handles large amounts of personal data, chances are you’ll need to hire a Cyber Security Analyst sooner rather than later.
However, there are some industries which handle vast amounts of confidential information. In these industries, cybersecurity is a prime concern, and it’s where many tech professionals can find themselves working as a result.
Healthcare is an industry that handles a lot of personal data and highly sensitive information, making it a massive target for hackers. Hospitals and medical organisations have patient records which include names, addresses, health records and even financial details; therefore, a cyber-attack can have devastating consequences. Previously they’ve been known to bring the entire NHS to a halt. Hospital networks are still under unique pressure, and current hospital needs have caused security practices to change rapidly.
Cybersecurity professionals working in healthcare need to be able to master encryption, antivirus software and firewalls, and the hospitals, own security protocols. For example, to keep personal data safe most hospital management platforms and EHRs are not compatible with personal mobile devices. They also need to be prepared to train staff from doctors and nurses to administrative staff on matters of cybersecurity to reduce chances of risk.
When any business sells products online, they become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Online retailers are usually the first to be targeted by cyber-attacks, as they hold valuable customer data and financial information that could be valuable to hackers.
Cybersecurity professionals working in eCommerce must help raise awareness of threats amongst employees and continuously monitor and improve preventative measures. From implementing firewalls to stock hackers to using HTTPS to ensure the website is secure, cybersecurity professionals working in eCommerce must ensure customer transactions are safe to instil confidence in the brand.
Banking and Finance
Fintech companies, banks and other financial corporations are obviously an excellent target for hackers. They hold information about millions of people’s identities, financial details and private information. But most of all, they allow hackers to access money. Banks and financial companies must protect their customers’ data, especially as banking becomes increasingly reliant on online and digital technologies.
Studies show that more than 25% of all cyberattacks aim at financial institutions, so their cybersecurity professionals are vital; they have to ensure maximum online security which instils customer confidence and protects all parties.
Educational institutions are also targeted by hackers frequently. Schools, colleges and universities are easy targets for cyber attacks, as there are so many individuals logging into networks. They often fall victim to phishing emails or having malicious code on websites students and staff frequently visit. This means hackers can access personal information of students, staff and can also hack into valuable research that universities are in the middle of.
It’s up to Education’s cybersecurity specialists to protect sensitive information, increase awareness of threats and develop stricter protocols for the software and hardware used.
You also often find cybersecurity teams working for the government, airlines, and any company that collates large amounts of data.
However, scaling tech businesses (as they rely solely on technology to function) find that a knowledge of cybersecurity is vital for their company. Minimising customers’ risk puts their minds at ease when shopping with a new company or using relatively new software. Prioritising security can prevent any cracks in their reputation as they scale, as a malware attack could prove fatal to a tech startup.
What qualities should you look for when hiring a Cyber Security Analyst?
It comes as no surprise that a Cyber Security Specialist needs to have a technical background and strong IT skills. Many have backgrounds in computer science or maths and have some experience working in software development or maintaining IT systems. They will also need specialist knowledge and qualifications within cybersecurity including ISO 27001 (the international standard for information security), CISMP, NCSC and basic GDPR training.
A good Cyber Security Analyst will be exceptionally detail orientated, not letting any network vulnerabilities go unnoticed. They should use logic and reasoning to assess IT systems’ strength and take an almost forensic approach to their work.
Cyber Security Analysts also need to be able to think like a hacker. By this, we mean to have a great understanding of how they work and the latest developments in the world of cybercriminals. They need to be one step ahead, ready to fight off attacks with the latest security systems.
Talent Works specialise in finding top tech talent to help companies grow and innovate. Through direct sourcing, digital recruitment marketing and attraction strategies, and building employer brands that cut through the noise and resonate with the tech market. To find out how we could help your business find and connect with leading Cyber Security Security professionals to keep your business safe as you scale, contact us.