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4 must-have skills for budding cybersecurity analysts | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


The modern-day cybersecurity analyst needs a well-rounded skillset if they want to advance in this highly competitive sector.

Broadly defined, cybersecurity analysts are responsible for overseeing and protecting an organisation’s computer systems, network and data from harmful security breaches. 

But in an ever-changing landscape, the scope of a cybersecurity analyst’s duties is growing, to mitigate the effects of cybercrime and the repeated exposure of vulnerable operating systems, as seen with the the increase in cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, such as against the UK defence ministry and Ireland’s HSE.

Today, cybersecurity analysts have a tough job on their hands to stay ahead of industry demands, but there are a number of skills that are crucial to the sector and key to acquire for budding cybersecurity analysts. 

Ethical hacking

Ethical hacking is an indispensable tactic deployed by cybersecurity analysts to expose their organisation’s weaknesses and points of vulnerability. 

An outside, unbiased perspective often proves invaluable when evaluating a company’s safety protocols. Ethical hackers fulfil this role by identifying weaknesses within an organisation’s systems, deploying security assessment scenarios and providing a detailed description of how they expertly hacked the network, to prevent genuine hackers from exploiting loose ends. 

There are a number of tools commonly used by ethical hackers. For example, network scanning and mapping tool Nmap, and Intruder, an automated scanner that roots out cybersecurity weaknesses, explaining the risks and how to properly address them. 

Ethical hackers have to possess a high-degree of knowledge and skill with a constant commitment to further education, for that reason, those that fall into this category can find themselves in high demand. 

Cloud management

Cost-effective cloud services have enabled organisations and institutions to dramatically expand their capabilities, but the growth has also left them vulnerable to cyberattacks. 

Around-the-clock access to our data, on any device, no matter where we are, is truly convenient, particularly in the post-pandemic era where more people than ever are remote or hybrid workers. But the cloud is vulnerable to hackers looking to ransom company documentation, steal information or spread malware. Cybersecurity analysts need to understand how their company utilises cloud services, routinely monitor activity and comply with data privacy regulations. 

Also, in the event that there is a serious data breach or attack on the cloud, cybersecurity analysts should have recent and protected data backups to minimise damage and loss of crucial information. 

Cryptography

Cryptography is one of the old-school skills that makes a job in cybersecurity analytics look like a career out of a spy movie. It is the process of coding information so that it can only be understood by the person it was meant for. 

Professionals skilled in this area can create and analyse protocols that, if they were to fall into the hands of outside parties, would be indecipherable and effectively useless. 

Cryptography holds the sender and receiver accountable and can be used to prove that data was not interfered with prior to being sent, nor while waiting for the receiver to open it. It is a lifeline for companies that routinely handle sensitive information.

Incident response

Cyberattacks, to some degree, are unfortunately inevitable and cybersecurity analysts need to be alert and ready to respond effectively when it happens. A significant part of an analyst’s role is tied up in preventing attacks but critical knowledge of how to respond to an incident is vital. 

An industry professional should have the tools to identify key areas of concern, assess the severity of the situation, stop active threats, minimise the damage and restore any affected systems to a level that exceeds their previous security status. 

Once the immediate threats have been dealt with, analysts should ensure that they fully understand how the breach occurred, so they can prevent a recurrence and bolster the weaker points of operation. 

Technical skills are a major factor in the success and longevity of a career within cybersecurity, but as with every position, soft skills are crucial as they balance out your overall skillset. Cybersecurity analysts may find that, when dealing with a crisis or serious incident, they are using their soft skills, such as communication, deadline management, extreme adaptability and critical thinking, among others.  

Whether in cybersecurity or another industry, employers are constantly looking for the next expert who possesses a skill they hadn’t previously thought of applying to the role, so don’t disregard your own talents, nurture them. 

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

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National Cyber Security

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