Cyberattacks can be financially devastating. The internet provides practically unfettered access to massive amounts of information at lightning speeds, but such availability is often abused by scammers who bilk everyday consumers and businesses from years of hard work. Hacked computer networks and database vulnerabilities cost the world economy $3 trillion in 2015, and that total is expected to double by 2021 to $6 trillion (Herjavec Group, 2019).
Even when basic security measures are implemented through software programs and safe web surfing practices, cyberthreats still loom large.
Fortunately, cybersecurity analysts are on the case. The information technology industry, as it pertains to data protection, is a massive field and each security professional serves an important role. As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated and hard to detect, cybersecurity analysts are in high demand. The new Master of Cybersecurity program at the University of Nevada, Reno is a gateway into this field. It can supply you with the advanced technical skills and enhanced theoretical knowledge you need to succeed and think two steps ahead of cyberattackers’ underhanded tactics.
What does a cybersecurity analyst do?
It raises a key question: What does a cybersecurity analyst actually do on a day-to-day basis? A cybersecurity analyst basically serves as the point person for protecting a business’s computer networks and data systems. Their responsibilities include monitoring servers and networks for incursions, updating internet security software, installing firewalls, encrypting data and performing research on the very latest cyberthreats. Security controls that worked well as recently as a year ago may be insufficient by today’s standards due to cyberattackers’ ability to adapt and alter their breach strategies. Cybersecurity analysts aim to stay ahead of scammers subterfuge through penetration testing. These are measures designed to simulate what an attack might present itself as and what steps are needed to head them off. It may be something as simple as plugging vulnerabilities through smarter patch management to more complicated efforts that involve network reconstruction. Whatever the strategy, cybersecurity analysts are charged with making it happen (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019).
How likely are you to get a cybersecurity analyst job after graduating?
Information and cybersecurity analyst jobs are posted all the time and aren’t expected to slow down any time soon. According to the BLS, there were 112,300 people in this occupation in 2018, but that number is expected to surge in years to come. potentially by as much as 32%. Several household organizations have been hit by cybercrime, including Target, Equifax, Yahoo, Facebook and many others. However, small businesses are impacted more frequently than major companies, as 70% of all attacks in the U.S. impact employers with 500 workers or fewer (National Cybersecurity Society, 2019).
The typical cyberattack costs businesses $200,000 to fix (Hiscox, 2019). Some of these have been too costly to absorb, forcing them to close.
Given the ubiquity of these breaches, more companies are hiring cybersecurity analysts to better protect themselves and develop a proactive strategy, rather than reactive. Because so many businesses depend on the internet to function, many can’t afford not to have dedicated IT teams.
What skills do you need?
A successful cybersecurity analyst has a good blend of hard skills and soft skills. You would learn hard skills through a more in-depth curriculum via undergraduate and graduate degree programs. For instance, penetration testing isn’t something that simply anyone can do; there is a very specific process involved.
Soft skills are more general and can be applied in several different ways. One of the more indispensable soft skills for those in cybersecurity is ingenuity, according to the BLS. Because attackers are constantly coming up with new ways to access sensitive data, professionals must counter these efforts by coming up with outside-the-box strategies that stymie their ploys.
Another core soft skill that’s critical in this line of work is problem-solving. Everything about cybersecurity involves recognizing problems and coming up with plans for how to solve them. Ideally, weaknesses can become strengths when analysts have an ability to seamlessly detect, detect and defeat viruses, worms and the manner in which they developed.
A highly common type of cyberattack is known as phishing. Using emails that appear to be authentic, phishing perpetrators trick recipients into clicking on links that are unsecured and use convincing calls to action that get them to detail their financial information. Only 12% of respondents in a recent ISACA poll said they were confident in their ability to adequately differentiate phishing emails from legitimate ones.
A cybersecurity analyst must possess the problem-solving skills and solutions that can provide companies and their employees with the tools and aptitude they need to spot deception.
Other ideal soft skills that employers may look for on a cybersecurity analyst resume include attention to detail and an ability to think critically.
What is the average salary for a cybersecurity analyst?
Like most other positions, how much you stand to earn in this role is largely based on your years of experience. Those newly out of college may not make quite as much as those who have been in this line of work for several years. However, even those on the lower end of the salary spectrum can earn a good living, as the bottom 10% made $56,750 in 2018, according to the most recently available data from the BLS. The top 10% earned nearly $156,600. The median was $98,350.
The security measures needed to overcome breaches are anything but ordinary these days. The University of Nevada, Reno Master of Science in Cybersecurity can provide you with the extraordinary talent employers look for. Contact us today to learn more.
U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019. Information Security Analysis. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
ISACA, 2019. Few Professionals Are Fully Confident in Ability to Assess the Effectiveness of Their Phishing Defenses. Retrieved from: http://www.isaca.org/About-ISACA/Press-room/News-Releases/2019/Pages/Few-Professionals-Are-Fully-Confident-in-Ability-to-Assess-the-Effectiveness-of-Their-Phishing-Defenses.aspx
National Cybersecurity Society, 2019. Retrieved from: https://nationalcybersecuritysociety.org
Herjavec Group, 2020. The 2020 Official Annual Cybercrime Report. Retrieved from: https://www.herjavecgroup.com/the-2019-official-annual-cybercrime-report/
Hiscox, 2019. Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hiscox.com/documents/2019-Hiscox-Cyber-Readiness-Report.pdf