CYBERSECURITY WANTS YOU

The hottest jobs in information technology today are in the field of cybersecurity. It’s easy to understand why.

Juniper Research, for example, estimates that 12 billion computer records were stolen in 2018, a figure expected to skyrocket to 33 billion per year by 2023. A study by IBM in 2018 concluded that the average cost of a data breach in the United States is $7.9 million. Globally, the typical breach takes 196 days to identify and another 69 days to contain.

The demand for professionals to maintain network security has never been higher. Unfortunately for American businesses, there simply aren’t enough trained professionals to fill these jobs. A 2019 white paper by ISACA, a non-profit advocating information security, found that “technically proficient cybersecurity professionals continue to be in short supply.” The paper goes on to say that “prized hires” are individuals with the requisite technology skills who also understand business operations. According to Cyberseek.com, an online service created by the U.S. Department of Commerce, there are over 200,000 job openings for workers with cybersecurity skills.

Responsibilities

So, what are the responsibilities of a cybersecurity professional? While the list may vary depending on the type and size of a given organization, the most fundamental duties in this role are to:

  1. Handle security threats to the organization’s security policies caused by malware, ransomware, phishing, distributed denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and more.
  2. Ensure that the organization adheres to regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Federal Information Security Modernization Security Act (FISMA), since failure to do so could result in significant fines.
  3. Maintain firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems to combat unauthorized access to the network.
  4. Use forensic tools to detect intrusions, suspicious traffic, and other security threats.
  5. Identify and remove vulnerabilities in applications deployed on the network.
  6. Ensure the secure addition of smartphones, tablets, and laptops onto the network.

A Day in the Life

The list above offers a broad view of a cybersecurity professional’s responsibilities, but what’s the job really like? How do these experts spend their time every day? What are their main challenges? How do they feel about their work? If you’re considering a cybersecurity career, you will naturally want to hear what those already in such positions have to say. A recent webcast featuring four CISCO security analysts offers insight into a typical day.

What’s a typical day? All agree that no day is typical. Due to the constant bombardment of outside security threats and introduction of new IT challenges like “borderless architecture, bring your own device, and data center virtualization,” data defenders must constantly be vigilant and adaptive. As one panelist said:

“Our adversary only has to be right once. That is how we treat our networks. There’s probably 5, 10, 20 people managing the risk to the environment that you’re in.  But there’s 10,000 people out there trying to knock the door down.”

Why did they choose a career in security? One panelist cites his progression from gaming bulletin boards in the “dark days” to convincing employers to use his creativity in the big leagues. Another began his career solving mainstream computer problems until he decided he wanted to be different. Another couldn’t resist his fascination with what makes things work. 

What’s the biggest challenge? As one panelist put it: “We are learning that it actually isn’t possible to remain secure.” Susceptible end users, the increasing complexity of technology, and the relentless ingenuity of outside threats mean that cybersecurity is a never-ending job. Fighting “bad guys” day after day can take its toll, leading to excessive stress and career burnout.

And yet, for some, the constant challenge of the job is also its best quality, viewed from a career point of view. As long as there are threats, there will jobs for defenders. Panelists also liked the constant change and new learning experiences inherent in their jobs and the self-pride in possessing important, uncommon skills. One panelist concluded by saying: “I still find this is one of the most exciting and fulfilling career environments” available now or in the future.

We can help

If you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, the experienced Team Members at Carolina Career College (CCC) can help you understand the requirements for such positions and decide whether this is the kind of work you’d like to do. CCC is proud to offer a Security and Network Infrastructure Specialist program that prepares students for certifications and jobs specializing in network administration with an emphasis in security.

Please call us at 919-336-1000 today for more information!

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