Cyber security is a growing concern for individual users and businesses alike. In the recent decade, we have seen an exponential rise in the number of digital attacks carried out in all parts of the world. Together with the number of attacks, the cost of the impact of cybercrime has also increased significantly.
For all kinds of users, it is not just the monetary cost of a cyberattack that’s a problem but also the associated challenges. For instance, if a person’s data is stolen from a company’s database, it puts the individual at risk because their data is now in the hands of unauthorized and unscrupulous persons. This costs the company money in legal fees and it also negatively impacts the reputation of that company.
Data is a very valuable asset and businesses are willing to pay a lot of money to someone who can help them secure it. Here are a few options you have in cybersecurity.
The incident response team is the first layer of defense in a cybersecurity management system. Whenever a data breach happens or any kind of security-related event takes place it is these people who are the first to address the issue. Data attacks can happen in many different ways leading to different consequences. The job of the incident response professionals is to understand the attack and formulate an appropriate response. In some cases, the existing infrastructure will be enough to handle the situation; in other cases, something entirely novel needs to be used to mitigate damage.
Engineering is a core component of security and something that can be extremely financially rewarding as well. Essentially, you will be using your knowledge of software and cybercrime to help companies build security solutions. There are countless digital platforms that security experts can specialize in. The ideal candidate is a full-stack engineer who has done everything from cyber security bootcamp to highly specific cybercrime architecture courses. In more executive roles in this position, you could be dealing with broader management of the security engineering team and also overseeing department finances and other operational activities.
Information system security management is an entire universe in itself. This is something you won’t be getting into right out of the gate, but you can work your way up. Security managers are different from the department heads of other areas of security because they act as a bridge, not only for intra-department communication but also to connect the organization with the outer world. Cybersecurity is a highly regulated field with numerous frameworks and regulations that businesses and cybersecurity professionals have to adhere to. Every little detail has some kind of SOP and there is always someone needed to ensure that things are being done the way they should be done.
This is essentially the role of security management. So you not only need to be good with cybersecurity, you need to be knowledgeable about these different frameworks and you need to know how to bridge the gap between your organization and the relevant stakeholders.
A lot of cybercrime relies on exploiting the loopholes, bugs, and general weaknesses in various systems. This applies to both hardware and software. It is quite difficult to ‘break’ into a digital device in most cases because you are limited by technology. However, the complex security systems we develop do have weaknesses and even the developers don’t fully know all the weaknesses in their products.
Testing is all about white-hat hackers. These people do the same thing that a criminal would do, but their motive is to show the developer or the company what the weakness in their system is, not to exploit that weakness. In this way, developers can then improve their systems and increase overall security. If you like problem-solving, this is the field to pursue.
With experience and knowledge, you can reach a position where you are being paid just to look at a protocol or a system or a business model, and share your thoughts on it. Security consultants can work in all the above-mentioned areas or they can be consultants to help develop completely new products. Many consultant-level security experts start their own company with a unique service or a product. This is a great place to be, but it takes time to arrive.
With the way cybersecurity is moving forward and how people are adopting digital devices, it’s unlikely that we will ever see a decrease in the need for cybersecurity professionals. However, it is also very likely that this field will continue to grow increasingly challenging as things continue to get more complicated. Similarly, it is something that is always going to be evolving because it is a competition between the criminals and those trying to secure the system. Ideally, start with an end goal in mind so that you are working towards a specific kind of job rather than just exploring cybersecurity in general because it is a very broad field.