Cyber security analysts are modern-day gatekeepers and protectors; their job is to safeguard computer networks and fight off cyber attacks. As companies become more digitized, knowledgeable cybersecurity analysts are crucial assets for companies everywhere. This blog answers the question: what does a cybersecurity analyst do? We also talk about the different skills needed and how Coding Dojo can help you break into tech.
What Is a Cybersecurity Analyst?
Cyber security analysts are experts who specialize in understanding the network and IT infrastructure security of a company. Cyber professionals are like hawks – always looking for cyber attacks, malware outbreaks, and cybercriminals trying to breach the network. Nothing’s off the table; cybersecurity analysts need to be ready for anything.
What Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Do?
Many cybersecurity analysts are responsible for taking care of all company tech hardware, monitoring software, and watching for breaches from cunning cybercriminals. That’s just a short list of all the job requirements. When it comes to a company’s virtual security, an analyst needs to understand its IT infrastructure in great detail, monitor all online activity, and pay attention to any data breaches.
Top Cybersecurity Analyst Responsibilities
- Manage Security Software
A cybersecurity analyst’s role is essential in fighting all possible cyber attacks by managing, installing, and operating all security software. A cybersecurity analyst is in charge of installing software to monitor email and login security, take preventative measures against malware, look over the security of all mobile devices, and supervise all access activity.
- Monitor Networks for Vulnerabilities
Cyber security analysts always look for potential security breaches, including checking login activities, incoming codes, possible suspicious connections, or even identity theft. By continuously monitoring a network’s vulnerabilities and weak points, cybersecurity analysts act as the gatekeeper for all types of access management.
- Perform Security Tests
In today’s world, information security is a top priority. Cyber security analysts are always on the go, assessing all possible risks, updating firewalls, and checking for any weak points. A critical part of performing security tests is conducting internal and external audits of the computer network, mainly to check how the network will stand up to a potential future cyber attack.
- Research Security Trends
As businesses enter this next digital revolution, ensuring that every device and piece of sensitive data is kept secure is vital. Technology continues to change rapidly, and with this innovation, cybersecurity analysts need to be up to date on all news, hacks, and evolving norms for the tech sector.
- Develop Security and Recovery Plans
Cyber security analysts are in charge of advising business owners and staff on safe practices and developing a detailed cyber recovery plan in anticipation of a cyber attack. Developing security and recovery plans includes everything from keeping backups on all sensitive data to ensuring all security frameworks are current with government regulations.
Most In-Demand Cybersecurity Analyst Skills
- Intrusion Detection
Intrusion detection is probably the most significant component of any cybersecurity analyst’s job. In other words, they must keep an eye out for any company data breaches. Analysts must be experts in using intrusion detection software such as security information and event management (SIEM) products, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS). Hackers won’t stand a chance.
- Risk Management
Risk management is an essential ingredient for cybersecurity for businesses. A perfect blend of technical and non-technical skills is necessary for solid analysis, creative thinking, clear communication, and proactive problem-solving for any probable risks.
- Incident Response
Prevention is always priority number one for cybersecurity, but a speedy response time is also a vital skill for all analysts. A faster response time helps mitigate any damages, before sensitive data gets stolen and falls into the wrong hands.
- Data Security
When a company suffers a data breach, it can be truly devastating. It’s not just the loss of crucial information and financial loss, but many firms lose the trust of their clients and vendors as well. In the worst-case scenario, a business can be bleeding thousands of dollars, leaving the company unable to recover and ruining their reputation.
- Network Security
Networks are the lifeblood that allows departments to collaborate and securely communicate; safeguarding them is paramount. Ensuring a secure network that all devices use is a company’s bread and butter for cybersecurity. If the network goes down, is breached, or is left vulnerable, it could mean game over for that entire firm.
When a hack occurs, cybercriminals are almost always looking to gain control of the network. When this happens, a cybersecurity analyst needs a concrete understanding of how a network works, how a breach can happen, and what they must do to stop the attack.
When it comes to becoming a stellar cybersecurity analyst, having strong scripting skills with programming languages such as C, C++, and Java can be the distinguishing factor during a cyber attack. Experts who are skillful at scripting can work on writing and rewriting to optimize software to prevent future hacks.
- Ethical Hacking
One of the greatest tricks of the trade for cybersecurity analysts is ethical hacking. Ethical hacking is proactive, looking for vulnerabilities that could be a target for breach. In this case, the analyst looks for weak points through extensive testing.
- Penetration Testing
Knowing penetration testing is necessary for anyone looking to break into a cybersecurity analyst career. Companies will sometimes hire ‘freelance hackers’ to do a dry-run reenactment of a cyber attack with the hope of seeing what needs improvement and how an actual attack might play out.
- Operating Systems and Database Management
It’s essential to keep an eye on all operating systems, computers, and mobile devices. The cybersecurity analysts who tend to set themselves apart from the pack are the ones who know macOS, Windows, Linux, and iOS or Android for good measure.
Common Cybersecurity Tools
In cybersecurity, tools like firewalls have been around forever. Firewalls have a simple job: stop and prevent unauthorized access to devices and networks. Some standard firewall programs are Tufin, AlgoSec, and RedSeal. This tool continually monitors network traffic and scans all connections to determine whether it’s safe.
- Packet Sniffers
Packet sniffers, also known as packet or protocol analyzers, work to catch, record, and understand all network traffic, creating a base pattern to look for suspicious activities. Some examples of packet sniffers are Wireshark, Tcpdump, and Windump.
- Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is all about fighting computer viruses, harmful malware, potential ransomware, and spyware, among much more. Some examples of antivirus software tools are Norton 360, Bitdefender Antivirus, Norton AntiVirus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, and McAfee Total Protection.
- Encryption Tools
The job of encryption tools is to protect data and make sure it’s unreadable to any unauthorized users trying to intercept sensitive messages. Examples of encryption tools include Tor, KeePass, VeraCrypt, NordLocker, AxCrypt, and TrueCrypt.
- Network Intrusion Detection
All intrusion detection system (IDS) tools are responsible for policing network and system traffic, always looking for unusual traffic patterns and notifying the network administrator. Examples of network intrusion detection tools include Snort, Security Onion, SolarWinds Security Event Manager, Kismet, and Zeek.
- Web Vulnerability Testing Tools
Web vulnerability testing tools scan all web applications searching for weak security points, including cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and path traversal. Examples of web vulnerability testing tools include Burp Suite, Nikto, Paros Proxy, and SQLMap.
- Network Security Monitoring Tools
Network security monitoring tools analyze network data and detect any possible network-based risks. Examples of network security monitoring tools include Argus, Nagios, Pof, Splunk, and OSSEC.
How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst
Learn the Cybersecurity Basics
The cybersecurity landscape is vast and overwhelming for those just starting; the world of tech is constantly changing. For anyone considering making a move into cybersecurity, here are some free course suggestions to get started: Introduction to Information Security, Introduction to Cybersecurity, and Ethical Hacking for Beginners.
Cyber security internships are great for companies and anyone transitioning into a career as an analyst. As internships are only a short-term commitment for either side, it’s the perfect mix for gaining professional experience without a lot of pressure.
Cybersecurity Analyst Certification
Many certifications can be a great starting point for anyone beginning their career in tech. The Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) certificate, issued by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), is a common one, for example.
The beauty of bootcamps is that they’re so short but are also jam-packed with information. Anyone with no prior knowledge can leave with the technical skills and the fundamental understanding needed to hop into a cybersecurity job within a few short months. Most cybersecurity analyst bootcamps are flexible, with classes held in-person or virtually – perfect for a busy schedule.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that most cybersecurity analysts have completed a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, mathematics, computer science, or engineering. For anyone who thinks the cost of a four-year degree is out of the question for the moment, bootcamps are a great alternative to give the necessary skills and knowledge to transition into a tech career.
Average Cybersecurity Analyst Salary
In the United States, the median salary for a cybersecurity analyst, as of 2020, stood at $103,590 per year, based on numbers from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. A career cybersecurity analyst is quite a lucrative career, much like the rest of the tech sector.
Learn Cybersecurity at Coding Dojo
When it comes to cybersecurity bootcamps, Coding Dojo’s program gives all students a clear advantage in doing what a cybersecurity analyst does, especially in such a hyper-competitive market. Over 24 weeks, you’ll receive hands-on experience with the latest cybersecurity tools and finish with an impressive portfolio, giving you the valuable skills needed in the real world. Apply today!
Cybersecurity Analyst FAQs
Is Cybersecurity a Good Career?
Out of all tech jobs, cybersecurity analysts have the lowest levels of unemployment, hovering around 0% in fact, due to their high demand. Between 2013 to 2021, cybersecurity positions grew by 350%, with no signs of slowing down. As of 2019, there is a need for over 2.9 million cybersecurity professionals globally. In the United States alone, there’s a need for over 500,000 experts.
Do Cybersecurity Analysts Code?
For those entry-level cybersecurity analyst jobs, coding skills aren’t usually required. However, as for the many mid to senior-level positions, coding is a necessary skill to advance. A strong understanding of different programming languages is a considerable asset for how hackers think, and how data breaches can occur.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important?
The importance of cybersecurity isn’t something that will disappear; as companies go digital, the need for highly qualified cybersecurity experts will only continue to grow. Whether it’s a small family-owned business or a global corporation, firms of all sizes will need help with cybersecurity. As time goes on, more data leaks, cyber attacks, and sensitive information will fall into the wrong hands.