Cyber security is the heart of information technology since Internet-reliant businesses around the world cannot function without it. This explains why there is currently a 33 percent job growth prediction for cyber security jobs in the US between 2020 and 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you are thinking of launching your career in tech as a cyber security analyst, you’ll need to know more than how to run antivirus software. To be a professional, you need to master all the cyber security processes so you can appropriately handle and defend against cyber risks.
This article will show what these processes are and how they play key roles for companies. Also, you are going to get a glimpse of what cyber security is and the best options for anyone who wants to learn how to become a cyber security analyst.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is a field in information technology security that has to do with protecting critical systems like Internet and intranet networks from threats. It involves a variety of processes, software, and hardware systems designed specifically to protect information and devices from cyber attacks. It includes anything from the prevention of unauthorized access to the recovery of breached networks.
There are three popular types of cyber security. These are cloud security, network security, and application security. Businesses usually need to fortify their cyber networks with all three forms of cyber security by using different security tools.
What Are the Five Components of Cyber Security?
The five components of cyber security are the pillars that bring it all together. These components always play key roles irrespective of the type of cyber security strategy in question.
Cloud Computing Security
The cloud security component of cyber security deals with keeping information safe on the cloud. It concerns virtualized Internet protocols, cloud applications, cloud software services, and everything else that has to do with a company’s cloud security frameworks safe.
The critical infrastructure has to do with the core aspects of a state or city that people rely on daily. This could involve anything from power to water. Cyber attackers can attack a company by hacking into the critical infrastructure. So, firms need to examine their systems thoroughly to make sure that there are no cyber risks that may cost them greatly if the critical infrastructure is attacked.
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An organization is only as strong as its computer network. It is important that a part of the security team is dedicated to ensuring network security around the clock. This includes setting up a firewall to prevent hackers from accessing the system, providing access control, and installing malware. Setting behavioral analytics software is also a vital part of ensuring network security. You can also learn how to become a network security analyst as a specialization.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The primary responsibility of a cyber security expert is to protect an organization’s data from insider and outsider threats within cyber space. So, they need to ensure that no one gets unauthorized access to the system through Internet-connected devices. The cyber security expert must limit the number of network devices to only what is necessary to minimize digital attacks.
In every organization, there are several workers connected to the network. These workers do not always have an awareness of cyber security best practices like those in the IT security department do. It is important that organizations hold seminars and provide other forms of educational activities that inform employees of cyber security policies or best cyber practices. By doing this, the company and mitigate the risk of malicious activity within their organization.
What Is a Cyber Security Process?
Cyber security processes are the requirements and steps that cyber security analysts implement as they execute their duties. These processes may vary slightly across cyber security firms but the goal is usually the same—to prevent and defend against cyber crime. Some large organizations have in-house cyber security experts on their payroll to implement the right strategies when necessary. Smaller firms sublet the job to independent contractors.
What Are Cyber Security Processes Good For?
There are several benefits of cyber security processes for a business that relies on computer networks and Internet-connected devices that are prone to cyber threats. Apart from the direct benefits to the businesses, governmental organizations and people benefit significantly from tougher cyber security measures across the globe. Some specific benefits are listed below.
- Save on costs. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (Ic3) people in the US lost $4.1 billion to cyber fraud in 2020. Some losses were on an individual basis while some affected companies and their clients. With the right cyber security processes in place, an organization can protect its users and business and by extension save costs in the long run.
- Protect sensitive information. In this data-driven world, it’s easier for sensitive information to be stolen and used to access funds or worse. Companies that request sensitive information from employees and clients need to be diligently cyber vigilant to protect data from bad actors.
- Regulatory compliance and stakeholder confidence. Over the last few years, Facebook has faced multiple lawsuits for violating user data. These lawsuits don’t just cost money but reduce the trust the public has in the company. It also means that they aren’t being regulatory compliant. If you want to maintain stakeholder confidence and meet regulatory compliance requirements, invest in cyber security.
What Are the Five Steps of the Cyber Security Process?
There are traditionally five stages or processes of cyber security. Each stage is just as important as the next one and having a clear roadmap helps cyber security analysts execute their duties. These stages are listed below and are followed by all security teams.
Identify the Assets
The first stage of the cyber security life cycle is identifying all the company assets that need to be protected from security threats. For example, if your company collects user data, you need to track the information consistently along with other valuable assets. Most big firms have data classification policies that make tracking and risk assessment much easier.
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At intervals, take inventory of all the assets that may be prone to breaches. Information security professionals usually take inventory of sensitive data by utilizing premium information technology asset management software.
Protect the Assets
Now that you have an inventory of all the valuable assets in your organization, you need to start putting protocols in place to protect these assets. The technologies you choose for protecting your data and operating systems from possible cyber security breaches should be based on the services you provide. The right cyber security analyst will recommend the right VPN, encryption, anti-malware, and antivirus solutions a business needs.
Apart from technologies, you also need to dedicate resources to employee training to make sure that no member of your staff is leaving your system prone to a cyber attack. It also helps to make it clear that employees who don’t comply with the security policy may be penalized.
Monitor the System
Cyber security analysts are smart but hackers are smart, as well. They are constantly researching new and innovative ways to penetrate cyber defenses. So, it is not enough to provide layered protection. A cyber security analyst also needs to monitor the system thoroughly.
At intervals, security experts test the cyber defenses to see if there are loopholes or vulnerabilities that can be exploited by bad actors. Monitoring the cyber systems also allows them to stop hackers before they penetrate the system.
Respond to Incidents
Despite the best efforts of security experts, there is no way to provide 100 percent security. This is where a cyber security incident response plan comes in handy. The incident response team must have a plan on standby that contains the series of actions they should take if hackers end up breaching the network. Incident response plans are essential for business continuity since some cyber attacks have the potential to make businesses bankrupt.
What are the backup and recovery plans for the business? What happens if hackers take over sensitive data in a ransomware attack? What if there is a denial of service attack? Does your business have a backup and data recovery plan in place? Most security analysts emphasize cloud security because it is a great way to backup and recover data when disaster strikes. This is an important step in business continuity planning.
How Can I Learn Cyber Security Processes in 2022?
You can learn cyber security processes in a traditional college through a two or four-year degree. However, college can be expensive and time-consuming. A more viable alternative to college is a cyber security bootcamp. The best cyber security bootcamps offer mentorship and career services that help students get a great job after graduation.
If you do not have the funds for a college degree or bootcamp education in cyber security, you can start learning by taking online courses. Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity all offer a wide variety of courses for people at different levels. You can work your way up from there.
Cyber Security Processes FAQ
A cyber security analyst needs to know how to configure and install security software like firewalls and end-point encryption tools. They also need to stay on top of emerging trends in the information technology industry. Penetration testing and attention to detail are also important skills for these experts.
Cyber security analysts most commonly use programs like Burp Suite, Nmap, Metasploit, Aircrack-ng, Ncat, Nikto, Snort, Nessus, and John the Ripper. These are just a handful of the tools used by security experts and each one has unique features.
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Yes, cyber security analysts need to know how to program. However, not all entry-level cyber security roles require knowledge of software development. You may not need to worry about that until later in your tech career when you are targeting mid and senior-level roles.
Entry-level cyber security experts earn about $82,565, according to ZipRecruiter. Salaries vary significantly depending on the job description, location, and company in question. So, while some entry-level cyber security experts may get up to $143,500, others may get as little as $22,500 annually.
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