Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz
Cyber Security Analysts help protect companies against security breaches such as viruses and hacking attempts. Businesses increasingly rely on IT solutions for their daily operations, creating the need for dedicated security experts who can monitor networks for suspicious behavior and stop threats. Cyber Security Analysts perform a wide range of duties, including installing firewalls, analyzing networks for vulnerabilities, and developing contingency plans for responding to cyberattacks.
Due to the technical nature of this job, Cyber Security Analysts often need a college degree and may require industry certifications. However, this field also offers many career opportunities.
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Table of contents
Cyber Security Analysts
Cyber Security Analysts help improve the security of IT networks and systems to reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Cyber Security Analysts monitor networks, respond to breaches, and develop more secure networks.
What they do
Monitor Networks for Potential Security Breaches
Cyber Security Analysts monitor IT networks and systems to detect security breaches. Cyber Security Analysts cannot actively monitor all traffic on IT networks within a large organization, requiring them to use alerts. They may use software or write scripts to alert them to potential breaches or suspicious traffic on the network.
Install Firewalls and Software to Protect Data and Networks
Along with monitoring networks, Cyber Security Analysts attempt to improve the security of networks. They install the latest firewalls and software to protect against cyberattacks. They also configure settings and review procedures for ensuring that data and networks are secure.
Respond to Cyberattacks and Security Breaches
Cyber Security Analysts are often part of the team that responds to cyberattacks and other security breaches. Criminal hacking is the leading cause of security breaches. It often involves cracking passwords to gain access to an organization’s data, which the hackers may then hold for ransom or sell on the black market.
Responding to an active cyber attack may require the Cyber Security Analyst to shut down the IT network or turn off specific components to isolate the threat. If the affected systems are essential for business operations, the company may experience downtime until the threat is resolved.
Human error is the second-leading cause of security breaches. For example, staff may send sensitive information to the wrong recipient. IT staff can also make mistakes that result in security breaches. For example, a Network Security Technician or Database Administrator may misconfigure a database and leave it vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Malware is also a threat to IT networks and computer systems. Cyber Security Analysts may frequently scan the network for the presence of malware and use anti-malware software to cleanse infected systems.
Analyze IT Networks and Systems for Vulnerabilities
One of the main responsibilities of a Cyber Security Analyst is to analyze IT networks and systems to detect vulnerabilities. After detecting vulnerabilities, they develop solutions to improve the security of the company’s IT infrastructure. This may involve several of the steps discussed, including installing firewalls and software along with continued monitoring to analyze the effects of any changes.
Develop Procedures for Dealing with Security Breaches
Other Cyber Security Analysts and Network Security Technicians often follow specific procedures when a security breach occurs. Cyber Security Analysts may be responsible for developing these procedures. They may also update these procedures after responding to a security breach, as they may learn something new that could help resolve similar issues in the future.
The procedures may be called “contingency plans” and include steps for securing data or isolating the threat. The goal of the procedures is to minimize the impact of the security breach and reduce downtime that may impact business operations.
What is the job like
You Help Protect Against Cyberattacks
Cyber Security Analysts are responsible for protecting against cyberattacks, which can make this job rewarding. You get to be the hero who stops criminals from stealing data.
You Continually Learn New Things
Cyber Security Analysts who enjoy learning should find this job satisfying, as you are constantly learning new security techniques and using the latest cybersecurity technologies.
You Can Work in Any Industry
Cyber Security Analysts often work for IT service providers but are needed in every industry, providing endless opportunities for career changes.
There Is Potential for Career Advancement
Cyber Security Analysts may eventually progress to higher-level positions, such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).
Cyberattacks Are Stressful
Dealing with a cyberattack can be a stressful experience, especially when the attack impacts business operations and forces employees to stop working. However, stopping a cyberattack can also be exciting.
You May Work Long Hours and Suffer Burnout
Cyber Security Analysts may occasionally work extended hours, including working on the weekend. The long hours result in a higher risk of suffering work burnout and adds to the pressure of the job.
Where they work
About one-quarter of Cyber Security Analysts work for IT service providers that design and manage IT networks for other businesses. Financial institutions are the second-largest employer of Cyber Security Analysts due to the need to protect bank accounts. Insurance companies are also major employers of Cyber Security Analysts. Qualified individuals may also find work at local, state, or federal government agencies.
Should you become one
People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally. You can read more about these career personality types here.
Cyber Security Analysts are typically logical and detail-oriented individuals, as logic is needed to work with complex computer code and detect small details when monitoring networks. Cyber Security Analysts should also be alert and focused, as they may need to respond quickly when a cyber threat is detected. Communication skills are also vital for this career due to the need to work with other IT professionals and walk non-technical people through procedures.