The need for highly-qualified cybersecurity professionals has never been higher: vulnerabilities abound in cyberspace, malicious actors operate from across the globe and threaten critical infrastructure, and the risk of cybercrime has grown significantly. These threats, if not thwarted, could cause serious disruption to business, industry, and government institutions. It's for these reasons that strategic information security experts are being sought out to work in virtually every sector and industry, to help anticipate, mitigate, and prevent cybercrime at an operational level.
Organizations are looking for information security professionals who are adept in both the strategic and the tactical aspects of information security - that is, they are equally skilled in both the planning and responding functions of the field. These professionals must be able to examine incidents and responses contextually, with a systems-level perspective.
If you have a solid set of IT security skills but are looking to take your career to the next level, here are the critical information security analyst skills that today's employers are looking for, and that will help you become a well-rounded, advanced information security professional.
Top Information Security Skills
The ability to identify vulnerabilities within an enterprise system, as well as to propose and implement effective remediations and responses to those vulnerabilities.
Knowledge of how malware operates and infects systems, as well as how to recover from a malware infestation.
Risk Assessment Analysis
The ability to identify risks, and determine appropriate mediations for those risks.
Attack Vector Knowledge
An understanding of current attack vectors - from both the standpoint of what's happening today, and on an ongoing basis - and anticipate what may surface in the future.
Enterprise Security Skills
The ability to plan and implement information security strategies to protect the enterprise, its critical information, and its assets.
Strategic and Tactical Information Security Skills
The ability to bridge the gap between policy-driven information assurance and technical implementation in order to increase operator and administrator effectiveness and organizational agility.
Contextual and Systematic Security Analysis
The ability to go beyond the individual component and area perspective to develop a more holistic and contextual view of information security that incorporates networks, systems, and human-oriented processes.
How to Develop Advanced Information Security Skills
If you're an IT professional with an interest in the information security field - whether you're a system or network engineer, a system administration, a technical manager, a data and systems analyst, or a technical lead - pursuing an advanced information security or cybersecurity operations role might be the right next step for your career.
The best way to build your cybersecurity skills and create a successful career in cybersecurity is to pursue a degree or training program that will help you grow the skills listed above and develop you into a highly qualified information security professional with the ability to protect today's organizations, regardless of sector or size. While you'll need a technical degree (such as a cybersecurity bachelor's degree), at a minimum, the advanced information security skills listed above can be gained through a master's degree in cybersecurity or information security. These programs are available across the country, both in on-campus and online formats, meaning you can find one that fits your needs and allows you to continue to work while you pursue your degree if you so choose.
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