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If you want to work as a cybersecurity professional, you need have a variety of talents that you can develop. Having these skills can assist you in ensuring that a company’s security systems are secure. Understanding what skills businesses want in candidates and how to develop them will help you qualify for a career in this field.

Cybersecurity skills are the qualifications and capabilities required for a career in this field. Cybersecurity experts work within an organization’s IT division to keep data, networks and systems safe and secure. They monitor current systems for both internal and external threats and risks posed by any outside services the company accesses and uses. They also assess risk, troubleshoot problems and create solutions for optimal system security.

Here are ways you can improve your cybersecurity skills:

1. Become certified

Many employers require or prefer cybersecurity personnel to have certifications in their areas of practice. Consider earning any of the following common cybersecurity designations:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker CEH)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Certified Information Security
  • Auditor (CISA)
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)
  • Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSO-ISSAP)
  • Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (CISSP-ISSEP)
  • Information Systems Security Management Professional (CISSP-ISSMP)

Many of these certifications are available online. Check with your employer to see if they can cover some or all of the certification costs.

2. Stay updated

Stay informed about new technological developments, threat risks and best practices in your specific industry. Technology is a fast-moving environment, and familiarizing yourself with the latest systems and capabilities can enable you to protect the company’s digital information.  Modern changes in risk can present both new vulnerabilities in existing tech and include new risks that emerge with the adoption of new technologies or services. You can stay updated by:

  • Reading industry publications and websites
  • Subscribing to newsletters
  • Attending conferences and workshops
  • Following large technology and development companies on social media

3. Improve your soft skills

In addition to significant technical proficiency, organizations want employees who can fit in with their peers, managers and company culture. Enhancing your soft skills can help you stand out to potential employers. Consider taking courses on or practicing the following skills:

  • Interpersonal skills: Learn how to relate to and interact with those around you in a pleasant, engaging way.
  • Leadership skills: Improving your leadership skills, can help you qualify as a candidate for promotions and managerial roles.
  • Time management skills: Cybersecurity issues can be numerous and varied. Learning how to manage your time effectively can help you succeed in a fast-paced, demanding profession.

As complex technologies continue to evolve, cybersecurity experts are continually developing new skills to help them prevent and combat cyber threats to individuals and businesses. Here are several skills required for cybersecurity positions:

1. Fundamental technological skills

More complex tasks, like building a cloud system or creating access software, depending on the knowledge and application of foundational technical concepts, including;

  • Network configuration and management
  • Firewall installation
  • Programming
  • Administration of various operating systems

2. Programming

Programming and scripting languages like JavaScript are core competencies for cybersecurity experts to understand. They can use these languages to write internal systems, and it’s important to understand them to prevent hackers from using them to access the organization and its data.

3. Risk identification and management

A critical part of a cybersecurity specialist’s job is identifying areas that may be vulnerable to internal or external manipulation. Once you know what the risks are, you can then develop our outsource appropriate ways to combat these threats. Risk management is an ongoing duty that requires regular monitoring and analysis.

4. Data management and analysis

As more companies conduct business using technology, they accumulate increasing amounts of data from inside and outside their organizations. Cybersecurity specialists create systems to compile, organize, analyze and protect this data. This means that data management and analysis are essential skills for individuals in this field. 

5. Cloud implementation and management

As companies continue to use cloud computing for both cost-saving and enhancing accessibility, it’s important for cybersecurity experts to understand these systems and processes, including monitoring access and ensuring the company’s data storage and sharing is secure within common cloud providers.

Read Also: The Rise of Ransomware: Detection, Prevention and Response Strategies

Because of their increasing prominence, cloud systems may be more appealing areas for hackers to target ploys. Cybersecurity individuals may also work with IT departments to create safe internal cloud systems for an organization.

6. Logical reasoning and troubleshooting

When problems arise within a company’s digital operations, the issue is not always obvious. Cybersecurity experts are responsible for applying their technical knowledge with their reasoning skills to troubleshoot problems. These competencies can also help them develop long-term solutions. 

7. Automation implementation

The development and application of automated systems are becoming increasingly popular. It’s important for cybersecurity specialists to understand this technology so they can evaluate the risks and benefits of using it in an organization. This can also help them with transitioning certain security tasks to an automated process.

8. Adaptability

Technology moves quickly, and new types of threats arise frequently. Cybersecurity specialists typically learn new technologies quickly, adjust processes and systems readily and adapt to change easily. This allows them to stay up-to-date with relevant technological and industry changes.

9. Communication skills

Cybersecurity specialists typically handle technological challenges, assess risks and update systems. When they’re performing these tasks, they may discuss these functions with people who don’t have the same technical vocabulary and experience. This can require effective communication skills and the ability to connect with a variety of audiences both in-person and increasingly, remotely via video or in text for remote workforces.

10. Access management

Cybersecurity individuals may manage which members of an organization have access to certain systems and information and develop processes that control how they obtain it. This may include identity verification, monitoring and security alerts to prevent any unauthorized access of company systems. This means that access management is a valuable skill for people in this field. 

11. Attack surface management

Attack surface management focuses on analyzing an organization’s risks and liabilities from the perspective of a hacker. This allows cybersecurity experts to identify and repair any vulnerabilities before an outside actor can take advantage of them. This can save the company money and ensure its data remains secure.

12. Application security and protection

As businesses increasingly use and rely on a range of external applications, it’s important for cybersecurity experts to understand application security and protection. Beyond a company’s internal systems and processes, these individuals may benefit from understanding the additional threats outside applications may pose.

What Skills are Needed for Cybersecurity?

Do you think a career in cybersecurity might be for you? Cybersecurity is an in-demand, fast-growing field with a need for qualified employees, offering high median salaries, job opportunities in a variety of sectors, and a challenging, fast-paced work environment.

If you’re excited by the prospect of protecting organizations’ digital assets and intelligence from security breaches, but aren’t sure if you’re right for the job, it’s important to do your research on the field, find out what typical cybersecurity jobs look like, and learn more about the skills needed for cybersecurity careers.

Those pursuing a career in this field will need to have a broad set of technical, professional, and functional skills, as well as the specific cybersecurity skills and key soft skills in demand by employers that will set you apart from the competition.

Problem-Solving Skills

As a cybersecurity professional, problem-solving will play a major role in your day-to-day work. Those in the field need to find creative ways to take on and address complex information security challenges across a variety of existing and emerging technologies and digital environments.

Technical Aptitude

As the name implies, cybersecurity is a technology-focused field: you will be likely be tasked with responsibilities such as troubleshooting, maintaining, and updating information security systems; implementing continuous network monitoring; and providing real-time security solutions. Being technologically savvy is essential in order to perform the daily activities of a cybersecurity professional.

Knowledge of Security Across Various Platforms

Cybersecurity isn’t just limited to computers: you’ll need to be comfortable working on a variety of operating systems, computer systems, mobile devices, cloud networks, and wireless networks – and keep up to date on advances in the field for all of them.

Attention to Detail

Being able to defend an organization against cyber breaches requires you to be highly vigilant and detail-oriented, in order to effectively detect vulnerabilities and risks. You’ll like be responsible for continuous network monitoring and will need to be able to quickly identify concerns and come up with real-time security solutions to address them.

Communication Skills

As a cybersecurity specialist, you’ll be working closely with individuals in other roles and departments, and it’s important to be able to effectively communicate and explain your findings, concerns, and solutions to others. It’s important to be able to speak clearly and concisely on cybersecurity strategy and policy, as well as to be able to convey technical information to individuals of different levels of technical comprehension.

Fundamental Computer Forensics Skills

While computer forensics and cybersecurity are two separate fields, they’re closely related – and having a foundation in computer forensics can help you excel in your cybersecurity career. To be able to effectively protect organizations’ digital assets and prevent security breaches, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of what happens if your efforts fail, and how compromised data is recovered. Most cybersecurity degree programs will have a computer forensics component for this reason.

A Desire to Learn

As with any technical field, cybersecurity is fast-changing. Anyone who works in the field will need to be committed to keeping current with best practices and emerging industry trends, and will always need to be learning and self-educating – both on and off the clock.

An Understanding of Hacking

To effectively protect an organization’s network and infrastructure, you’ll need to know how they can be exploited in the first place – that’s why most cybersecurity professionals must learn how to “ethically hack.” Essentially, you need to have the same skills as a hacker, to fully understand how a system could be breached, and in turn, create effective solutions for thwarting these attacks.

What are 10 Good Cybersecurity Practices?

1. Think Before You Click

This is one of the most important Cyber Security email tips that you can use and follow regularly to keep your data safe. Stay cautious of the unknown links you receive through emails, messages, or while visiting other web pages that are not secure enough.

Clickjacking is among the most common methods used by hackers to gain access to your personal data. Just because you are capable of clicking these links does not imply that you should because if these links are malicious then, it can cause you to lose hefty amounts and can damage your life in several ways.

Links in mails in the form of password recovery emails, bank statements, etc. are among the most popular methods used by hackers to trick you and gain your personal information. The fake sites connected to these links are too similar to the real ones where the hackers will get you to provide your personal details and gain access to your account using the same.

2. Use Strong and Varied Passwords

This is another one of the most significant cyber safety tips for users. It may be easy to use and remember the same password across multiple platforms for all your accounts but it makes your account more insecure. You should use distinct passwords for all your different accounts. With this practice, even if a company where you have an account is breached or hackers have gotten access to one of your account credentials, these credentials would not work on other websites.

Also, you need to use strong passwords for your accounts as they are important for online security. To make your passwords strong and secure, you can refer to the password policy guidelines of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and consider the following:

  • Use passwords with more than 8 characters and a maximum of 64 characters
  • Never make use of the same password twice
  • Use at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, and a few symbols other than &, #, _, @, etc.
  • Use passwords that are easy to remember and also, do not leave clues in the open or make them available to the public
  • Change your password often and reset it.

3. Use a Password Manager Tool

It may be difficult to remember so many passwords for your various accounts, which is when a password manager comes into the picture. A password manager is a program or software that will help you store and manage all your passwords together. You will be able to access all these passwords using a single ‘master key’ password. This will help you keep these credentials secured and also prevent you from writing down your passwords, which is one of the most unsafe methods of keeping a track of your passwords. It is extremely important in this digital era for you to have cyber safety and security awareness.

Some of the most commonly used password managers include KeePass, LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, and Roboform. While some of them are entirely free, the others offer both free and paid versions.

4. Set up Two-factor or Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Generally, you require only your user id and your password to sign in to your account but the MFA service enables you to add extra security layers to the standard method of using passwords for online verification. With this, you will receive a prompt to add another method of authentication along with the password, like a code, fingerprint, OTP in your phone number or email, etc.

With this method, you will be required to enter more than two credentials while logging in, keeping your account more secure by making it more difficult for hackers to access your data. This is another one of the most significant Cyber Security measures that you must take.

5. Check CERT-In Updates on a Regular Basis

CERT-It stands for Computer Emergency Readiness Team- India. It came into operation in January 2004 and falls in the constituency of the Indian Cyber community. CERT-In basically serves as the national agency to perform various functions in the Cyber Security domain such as cyber security incident forecast and alerts, emergency response actions for tackling cyber security events, etc. Hence, regular checking of CERT-In updates is very important to deal with cyber emergencies.

6. Keep Your Systems Updated

Another one of the most crucial cyber safety tips is that you must keep all your browsers, software, and operating systems up-to-date. This is especially one of the most important Cyber Security tips for the workplace and also for users. If your organization firewalls for security purposes, you must update that as well. The older your system and its configurations are, the longer the hackers have to find and exploit all the weaknesses. Updating them will prevent attackers from exploiting them for enough time until new updates.

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