Thursday, September 23 2021

A Day in the Life of a Cybersecurity Analyst

With globalization and the growth of the internet, the world has become a digitalized sphere. Due to rapid digitalization of sectors including government, healthcare and retail, cyberspace contains sensitive information and data. Cyberattacks are a regular occurrence, as hackers employ sophisticated techniques to breach security protocols and bypass systems and networks to access these sensitive data. Cybersecurity is needed to combat these cyberattacks and protect sensitive data, intellectual property, government and industry information, and healthcare information.

Who is a Cybersecurity Analyst?

Cybersecurity analysts are trained personnel who plan and implement security measures to keep cyber information safe and to protect systems and networks from hacking. With the continued increase in cyberattacks, the role of cybersecurity analysts is gaining in importance. They act as the gatekeepers who protect cyberspace from malicious attacks. They are responsible for the security of the systems and networks of organizations and government agencies, safeguarding vital digital assets from cybercrime.

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What Are the Responsibilities of a Cybersecurity Analyst?

Below are some of the duties of a cybersecurity analyst:

1. Monitoring Computer Networks for Security Issues: A cybersecurity analyst monitors the computer networks of the organizations, looking for any breaches in security. In doing this, they look out for any irregularities or suspicious activities and mark them for evaluation. Cybercriminals evolve new methods of cyberattacks on a regular basis, so it is important for cybersecurity analysts to be vigilant.

2. Investigate Breaches and Cybersecurity Issues: Cybersecurity analysts act on any suspicious activity they may find. This will involve fortifying the security system in place and combating any malware that may have been found. Cybersecurity analysts must investigate all potential breaches as many cyberattacks are well disguised, seeming to be part of the system. Such cyberattacks eventually lead to loss of vital information and system attacks if they are not addressed and removed from the computer network.

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3. Document Security Breaches: Cybersecurity analysts also document these security breaches and assess the damage to the networks and systems. Documenting the security breaches helps the organization to put in place firewalls and security measures to avoid future occurrences of such attacks. Assessing the damage to the system also ensures that proper corrections can be made to improve system functions.

4. Install Security Measures: Cybersecurity analysts are responsible for installing software and other security measures to protect the system from cyberattacks and to keep sensitive data safe. Data encryption programs and firewalls are put in place to mitigate any form of attack which may be launched against the computer systems and networks.

5. Simulating Cyberattacks: To ensure the integrity of the cybersecurity system, analysts stimulate cyberattacks, employing tactics that hackers would most likely employ. This allows them to identify network vulnerabilities and take steps to remedy them. With better awareness, cybersecurity analysts can refine security to maintain a high level of confidence.

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6. Make Recommendations to Management: Technology develops at a very fast pace, and with it comes new forms of attack. It is the job of cybersecurity analysts to stay apprised of the changes and make recommendations to management on the best measures to employ to strengthen the cybersecurity of the organization.

7. Educate the Entire Workforce: Cybersecurity analysts are responsible for installing security software on all the systems in the organization, while also educating the entire workforce on the best steps to take to ensure security from cyberattacks. Cybersecurity analysts also develop practices within the organization which are employed by everyone to ensure that networks, systems, and information are secure from cyberattacks.

Top Skills Every Cybersecurity Analyst Must Have

There are certain skills which every cybersecurity analyst should possess in order to deliver well on their job. Some of these skills are described below:

  • Technical Knowledge: As with every occupation, technical know-how is required to be a successful cybersecurity analyst. Technical skills which are needed in cybersecurity include the ability to configure a network, install a firewall, subnet and carry out a penetration test on a system.
  • Logical Reasoning: This involves putting your technical knowledge about cybersecurity into practice. It entails the ability to identify a cyberattack or security breach and determine the necessary steps to take to find a solution to this breach. Logical reasoning involves troubleshooting ability and comes with practice. Solving problems that come with cyberattacks requires employing the right solutions, as the problem can be made worse if care is not taken. The best cybersecurity analysts take time to identify a problem before properly outlining a suitable solution.
  • Technical Knowledge: As with every occupation, technical know-how is required to be a successful cybersecurity analyst. Technical skills which are needed in cybersecurity include the ability to configure a network, install a firewall, subnet and carry out a penetration test on a system.
  • Research: Technology advances at a rapid rate and the resources available to hackers become even more sophisticated. A good cybersecurity analyst must, therefore, be up to date on the advancements in technology, particularly in the cyberspace, to be able to identify threats and malware more easily and quickly.
  • Ability to Work Independently: Most times, cybersecurity analysts need to work independently to get results. There are not many instances where group work is needed, so you must be able to get things done without relying on others. That said, it is quite common to see an analyst leading certain projects within the organization, highlighting the need for leadership skills.
  • Communication Skills: An accomplished cybersecurity analyst can communicate clearly both verbally and in written form. Client service in the cybersecurity industry requires above-average communication skills, as customers rely on analysts’ reports and documentation for a clear understanding of their organization’s vulnerabilities, practices and policies, and return on their investment in security. Analysts are also charged with educating employees on the best security measures to employ.

Top Industries Where You Will Find Cybersecurity Analysts

While cybersecurity analysts work in virtually every industry, these five industries lead as sectors which employ cybersecurity analysts.

  • Financial Sector: Clearly, the financial sector requires the services of cybersecurity analysts. The regular flow of money makes it a goldmine for hackers, and several reputable organizations have experienced attacks. Some of these organizations are Lloyds Banking Group, Equifax, HBSC and more. In recent times, financial transactions have been digitalized, making it easy for hackers to gain access to systems and divert funds. Qualified cybersecurity analysts are needed to deal with the threat which these hackers pose and set up a security system that will be difficult to breach.
  • Healthcare: Cybersecurity analysts are needed in the healthcare sector, which often lack proper security systems protecting very sensitive patient information.
  • Retail: The retail industry is another sector which cybercriminals attack on a regular basis. Often, they attack these retail sites to illegally divert goods. To combat these incessant cyberattacks, most large-scale retail stores employ the services of cybersecurity analyst to put in place strict security measures on their websites.
  • Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry is subject to numerous forms of cyberattacks, as there are so many areas to target. Cybercriminals carry out industrial espionage, deploy drive-by downloads, deploy phishing emails, and attack the infrastructure of manufacturing firms. These attacks cause production downtime, loss of information, and even defective products which sometimes lead to injuries and death. Cybersecurity analysts are needed in manufacturing firms to protect company data, ensure that the production process runs smoothly, and the products that are manufactured are meeting quality standards.
  • Government: Government networks contain sensitive information that can disrupt economies, create national security risks, spark civil disruption or even ignite a war with another country. Government agencies such as the CIA, NSA, FDIC, and IRS have been breached leaking sensitive information. Breaches of these highly secure agencies raised awareness and the demand for the most skilled cybersecurity analysts. By acting as gatekeepers in governmental agencies, cybersecurity analysts do their part to defend the sovereignty of the state, protecting it from cyberattacks from within the country and from foreign sources.

We have described in detail the overall functions of cybersecurity analysts. A day in the life of a cybersecurity analyst can be described with one word: ‘’unpredictable”. They regularly face an array of cyberattacks. Despite the unpredictability, there are certain aspects of a cybersecurity analyst’s day that remain constant.

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