What Is a Cyber Security Analyst: Overview, Job Role, Opportunities and How to Become One

Hackers worldwide continue to apply new and sophisticated techniques to hack and access an organization’s sensitive data. As the number of cyber attacks continues to grow in frequency, the demand for cyber security analysts is also increasing rapidly

What Is a Cyber Security Analyst?

A cyber security analyst is primarily responsible for protecting a company’s network and systems from cyber attacks. This involves researching upcoming IT trends, creating contingency plans, reviewing suspicious activities, reporting security breaches, and educating the rest of the company on security measures. 

Cyber security analysts are also responsible for implementing threat protection measures and security controls. They may even simulate security attacks to find out the potential vulnerabilities that exist within the organization.

Since hackers are continually using new strategies and tools, cyber security analysts also need to stay informed about the various developments in their digital weapons.

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How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst?

There are a number of requirements needed to become a cyber security analyst. Typically, most companies will prefer people with a degree in information security or any other related field. 

However, it is also possible to enter into this profession by starting in an entry-level IT position, and then working your way up to a cyber security role. You can gain experience and necessary skills through certifications and online bootcamps, which offer crash courses on cyber security. Certifications help you increase your earning potential and make you stand out to employers.

What Are Cyber Security Analyst Roles and Responsibilities?

A cyber security analyst prepares for and responds to cyber attacks. This process might differ between workplaces, companies and sectors, but the general idea remains the same. Here are a few common cyber security analyst roles and responsibilities:

Manage Software

Install, manage, and update software on all the systems and networks in an organization, and ensure adequate security measures on all of them.

Monitor Networks

Monitor networks to stay informed of activities taking place within them, identify negative activity in incoming code and respond to them accordingly.

Develop Security Plans

Providing suggestions and best data security practices for employees and end users.

Reporting  

Compile ongoing safety reports, document security issues and measures taken to resolve them.

Research

Research upcoming trends in information technology and security, stay updated on potential threats and attacks, and come up with preventive strategies.

What Are the Important Skills for Cyber Security Analysts?

A cyber security analyst needs to have a broad range of skills to be able to handle malware and security breaches. The most important skills for a cyber security analyst are:

Scripting

Working knowledge of computer programming languages and scripts like Java or C++ is highly sought after. This enables cyber security analysts to understand encoded threats and rewrite software, if needed.

Hacking

Cyber security analysts need to think like a hacker to understand the hacking process. This will enable them to prepare for cyber attacks and prevent them before they even occur.

Networking

Cyber security analysts need to have a vast expertise in working with diverse networks and understand how each of these elements can impact the security of an organization.

Operating Systems

Cyber security analysts need to be comfortable working on all types of operating systems such as Linux, Windows, iOS, Android etc.

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Cyber Security Analyst Job Description 

As cyber attacks and threats become more frequent, the demand for cyber security analysts continue to grow. According to RiskBased Security, a shocking 7.9 billion records were exposed by data breaches in the first nine months of 2019. This was a 112% increase in the number of records exposed in 2018.

Cyber security analyst jobs are projected to grow upto 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than any other occupation. A job description for cyber security analysts may differ for different organizations and sectors. However, here are some common attributes found in every one of them:

  • Configure antivirus systems and consoles and take care of day-to-day operations and data structures
  • Conduct threat and risk analysis and provide viable solutions for them
  • Collect and analyze data to eliminate risk, performance and capacity issues
  • Create tools and actively take part in the security architecture reviews
  • Design and develop security features and procedures
  • Integrate and deploy security software solutions
  • Design secure principles and optimize new technology services

Cyber Security Analyst Salary

A cyber security analyst salary depends on a range of factors including experience, qualifications, skills, sectors, and locations. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a cyber security analyst is  $99,730. Those at the highest 10 percent earn more than $158,860 per year, and those at the lowest 10 percent earn about $57,810 per year. 

Certifications Required to Become a Cyber Security Analyst

There are a number of certifications out there that are beneficial for both entry-level and existing cyber security analysts. 

Certified Ethical Hacker Certification

A Certified Ethical Hacker certification allows you to lawfully use your hacking abilities and knowledge to improve an organization’s security. This certification validates that you have the skills to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems like a malicious hacker, but uses it in a lawful and legitimate manner to assess the security of organizations.

CISSP Certification

A Certified Information Systems Security Professional or CISSP Certification is a globally recognized information security certification created by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC). It validates your skills in designing, building, and maintaining a secure business environment using globally approved information security standards

CISA Certification 

A Certified Information Systems Auditor or CISA Certification is a designation issued by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). This is a globally recognized certification that validates your skills in auditing, control, and security of information systems.

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Here’s What You Should Do Next

If you’re interested in ethical hacking and passionate about building the best defense systems out there, cyber security is the perfect career path for you. Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Program in Cyber Security is specially designed for those who want to enhance and upgrade their technical and programming skills to handle security challenges. With live Masterclasses from the amazing MIT faculty, hands-on projects, and live classes from industry practitioners and experts, this program will help you learn all the in-demand skills you need to rock your cyber security career.

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal is a passionate digital nomad with a major in English language and literature, a word connoisseur who loves writing about raging technologies, digital marketing, and career conundrums.

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