Cybersecurity is both proactive and defensive. To keep their data and digital assets safe, large organizations need to both enact security measures that keep out intruders and respond when breaches do occur.
That’s where cybersecurity analysts come into play. By studying their own systems and staying current on trends, cybersecurity analysts ensure that the digital assets and data that they protect stay out of the hands of nefarious hackers.
Want to learn more about what a cybersecurity analyst does and how to become one? Then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out what cybersecurity is, what’s in a cybersecurity analyst job description, and how you can start your path to becoming a cybersecurity analyst today.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity, broadly speaking, describes the efforts to protect digital information and assets. Cyber safety measures defend organizations from breaches, hackers, viruses, and additional hazards. Large organizations and companies can’t solely rely on out-of-the-box cyber security solutions like antivirus software and firewalls, as cybercriminals can increasingly bypass these. Bespoke solutions are thus needed, and that’s where cybersecurity analysts come into play.
What Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Do?
A cybersecurity analyst evaluates computer systems, networks, software, and other technologies in order to detect weaknesses in security, protect sensitive information, and implement modifications to strengthen security measures. In the event of a cyber attack, they quickly work to mitigate the situation and ensure no confidential data is left vulnerable.
Cybersecurity Hard Skills
Cybersecurity analysts can work in various industries, so their daily duties can vary. Usually, the tasks that analysts perform can be divided into these categories: monitoring networks, managing software, testing security systems, reporting findings and developing plans, and researching security trends. Here’s what all of that entails:
When unauthorized access occurs, analysts also monitor that activity to identify the cause of the breaches in security. A cybersecurity analyst must have a comprehensive understanding of the various aspects of a network so that they can target a cyber attack and the security strategies to prevent such attacks in the future.
To manage software, analysts install, control, and update security software, like encryptions and firewalls. An analyst must be exhaustively familiar with the various information technology fundamentals for a range of operating systems, such as Windows, iOS, and Linux. Analysts also see to it that all software has effective security measures in place.
To test security systems, analysts perform vulnerability testing and risk analysis to appraise current security measures and determine where improvements could be made. They also do penetration tests and simulate attacks to see a network’s susceptibility, administer internal and external security investigations, and assess the organization’s compliance with industry regulations.
When breaches do occur, cybersecurity analysts report on what happened and make recommendations to avoid breaches in the future. Furthermore, to strengthen security, they establish guidelines and training for an organization’s employees concerning cybersecurity best practices, and deliberate with management and IT security teams on system weaknesses and improvements.
Stay Current on Trends
Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, and to stay up to date, cybersecurity analysts have to continue learning. By keeping track of advancements and cultivating an understanding of current standards in cybersecurity, cybersecurity analysts can help keep their organizations safe from evolving threats.
Cybersecurity Soft Skills
Working with any technology within an organized business model demands certain skills, and the role of cybersecurity analyst is no exception.
Because cybersecurity analysts are required to safeguard copious amounts of data, their work is sometimes cross-departmental, and it is common for them to work with a team of IT security professionals. It helps if they have strong interpersonal and communication skills to collaborate and cultivate a good rapport with their team members and employer.
Analysts must possess both verbal and written communication skills, as they must explain with great clarity any security issues and potential threats to clients, employers, and nontechnical stakeholders.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail and critical thinking abilities are also important because they enable analysts to identify information security risks and threats hidden within complex codes and software. From there, they must understand the problem and troubleshoot it with speed and efficiency.
How To Become a Cybersecurity Analyst
There are a couple of ways to become a cybersecurity analyst. Here are two of the most common paths:
If you’re going the higher education route, then you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Or, you can get a computer science degree with a minor in cybersecurity. The problem with a college degree, however, is the time and cost associated with it. Not to worry—if you don’t have those resources available to you, there’s another way to land a job as a cybersecurity analyst.
An online program, such as UMass Global’s Online Cyber Security Bootcamp, can get you job-ready in a matter of months, not years. You’ll learn essential cybersecurity skills, such as network monitoring, scripting, and white hat hacking, and you’ll also receive a thorough knowledge of operating systems.
Why Do a Bootcamp?
Courses like this one from UMass Global are seeing a huge influx in popularity because they are entirely web-based and a credible alternative to a bachelor’s degree. Bootcamps are much, much more affordable than a traditional degree, and also offer more flexible scheduling options too. You can study on your own terms with the support of a student advisor, expert mentor, and career coach, and with the UMass Global program, there is even an online community to participate in conversation with other bootcamp students. You will learn how to build a resume for the field, gain invaluable insight into the job interview process, and be prepared for the CompTIA Security+ exam to get your certification.
How Does a Bootcamp Work?
The UMass Global course contains twenty-one teaching units, including eleven technical units, one capstone project, nine units focused on career preparation, and more. Even if you are coming from a completely different field of study, there are no prerequisites except to pass a quick screening that ensures you have a baseline of skills centered on communication, motivation, professionalism, a commitment to learning, and an analytical mindset.
Learn the fundamental cybersecurity skills with UMass Global’s bootcamp, and empower yourself to be a successful analyst in an exciting and growing industry.