Cyber Security Analyst/ Engineer Job Description & Profile
A cyber security analyst’s primary responsibility is to help protect the company from all digital threats, including data breaches, unauthorised access, intellectual property theft, and fraudulent transactions. The challenge is distinguishing between a potential attack and the thousands or millions of genuine transactions.
Three main areas make up the overall responsibility for cyber threat protection:
At the strategic level, cyber security analysts are responsible for crafting the company’s cyber security, data, and access policies, including making backup plans, training materials, and audit techniques. This role is for medium- or senior-level cybersecurity analysts for larger companies. But for small or medium enterprises, a cyber security analyst or engineer would be expected to perform all roles from planning to execution.
Execution is when the entire organisation has adopted and implemented all of the company’s cybersecurity policies. It involves supporting all stakeholders, like the IT department, by installing the right tools and access controls and the HR department by preparing suitable training modules. Cybersecurity analysts will therefore develop tools to monitor and measure data relevant to digital security or to liaise with external vendors.
Monitoring and Response
Daily monitoring of all the transactions and other digital interactions will form the bulk of your daily routine early in your career, which might involve looking at suspicious patterns or analysing transactions flagged by the system. In case of any issues, the cyber security analyst would lead the response effort to minimise the breach’s impact, assess it, and immediately initiate countermeasures.
A Day in the Life of a Cyber Security Analyst
The day-to-day responsibilities of a cyber security analyst depend significantly on the type and size of the company and their level of experience. At the entry level, much time would be spent learning and studying the firm’s policies and monitoring all transactions and digital contact points for any breaches. You would have access to a large set of data that you would be required to analyse and report your findings to your superiors. The company might be using some software for this as well, so cybersecurity analysts and engineers would be expected to be able to use such tools.
For medium or senior-level executives, a greater focus would be on the strategic aspects of cyber security. They would spend most of their time assessing new threats and how to tweak their policies to protect against these threats. They would also spend time dealing with exceptions and queries directed at them from junior analysts or elsewhere within the organisation.
You Might Spend Your Day Doing One or More of the Following:
- Reading up on the latest news and events in cyber security and learning about any major incidents
- Looking at various daily reports of flagged or suspicious transactions
- Preparing reports for senior management and other stakeholders
- Answering queries from other departments on cyber security matters
- Preparing formal training for staff directly or in coordination with third-party vendors
- Coordinating with various vendors on cybersecurity-related matters
- Trying to find potential security loopholes in the system through various means and then patching those vulnerabilities directly or with outside support.
The cyber security team must enter crisis mode in case of an actual security issue. Such incidents are highly time-sensitive and require coordination and analytical and stress management skills.
Why Choose a Career in Cyber Security?
CEOs often cite cyber security as one of their business’s biggest threats. Considering the massive reputational damage many companies have faced recently over data breaches, this is not surprising. Because of this, cyber security continues to be one of the fastest-growing business verticals and engineers/ analysts can expect many options for growth.
Cybersecurity threats have evolved significantly and require a broader approach to combating threats. It’s not just a matter of IT expertise anymore, but also dealing with behavioural issues. After all, most cyber security breaches happen because of employee error – not having a secure password or not following access protocols which means that the role of a cyber security analyst has become more strategic than purely technical. Companies are willing to pay more than ever for candidates with the right experience. You can find a more detailed breakup of cyber security salaries here.
Cyber Security Career Prospects
- Cyber security analysts and engineers can expect to grow organically to eventually become something like a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), although some organisations might have a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) role to cover cyber security. Below the CISO, there may be team leader-type roles depending on the organisation’s size.
- Another career path is to become an independent cyber security consultant and help multiple client companies, which can be highly lucrative but requires substantial technical expertise in information and cyber security. There are even roles where security consultants try and attack a company’s cyber defences themselves to help find vulnerabilities and patch them. Forensic investigators and auditors also fall in this category of external consultants and are usually brought into the picture on a need basis.
- Lastly, there is the option to work for a cyber security software/ tool development company as an architect, coder, or implementation engineer. Some of the largest companies even have in-house teams developing cybersecurity tools for their internal use.
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