2022 Guide

How to Become a Cybersecurity Analyst

BrainStation’s Cybersecurity Analyst career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in cybersecurity. The guide provides an in-depth overview of the skills you should learn, the best training options, career paths in cybersecurity, how to become a Cybersecurity Analyst, and more.

Become a Cybersecurity Analyst

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To become a Cybersecurity Analyst, you need to understand information systems and networks, gain hands-on technical experience, and stay up-to-date in cybersecurity training.

Cybersecurity is a relatively new field compared to other technology careers. This means that there are a variety of paths you can take to become a Cybersecurity Analyst. Many Cybersecurity Analyst jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, or a similar field. However, as the demand for cybersecurity increases, companies are more focused on hiring people with the right skills and technical experience, which can be gained through training and practice.

Five steps to becoming a Cybersecurity Analyst:

  1. Learn cybersecurity fundamentals
  2. Practice technical cybersecurity skills
  3. Earn a cybersecurity certificate
  4. Research the industry
  5. Apply to relevant cybersecurity jobs

Step 1Learn Cybersecurity Fundamentals

When thinking about how to become a Cybersecurity Analyst, your first step should be to learn about the current threat landscape. As technologies change and evolve, it’s important to know how to identify vulnerabilities and threats.

It’s also important to learn cybersecurity fundamentals, including how information systems may be threatened, and how to anticipate and detect threats. You should also get familiar with key elements important to cybersecurity, such as network architecture and protocol, routing and switching, firewalls, and more.

Step 2Practice Cybersecurity Technical Skills

After learning cybersecurity fundamentals, it’s important to apply your knowledge and practice common cybersecurity tasks, like performing security audits, analyzing network traffic, and securing information through encryption.

There are many online cybersecurity training labs available that simulate workplace environments. These give you the opportunity to put your cybersecurity training to the test and practice handling real-world challenges.

step 3Earn a Cybersecurity Certificate

Taking a cybersecurity certificate course is a great way to learn about cybersecurity, the current threat landscape, and the related technology and tools used to detect and protect against threats.

A good cybersecurity course can give you a better understanding of how information systems operate and the tools and best practices to identify threats, and then defend against cyber attacks. The best of these courses will allow you to earn a cybersecurity certificate, which can help you stand out on the job market when applying for a Cybersecurity Analyst job. This is particularly helpful if you don’t have an extensive technical background.

step 4Research the Cybersecurity Industry

Cybersecurity has to constantly evolve. Technology is always innovating and, in turn, cyber attackers are coming up with new tactics and workarounds.

To be a successful Cybersecurity Analyst, it is important to stay on top of new developments in the cybersecurity and cybercrime world. By understanding new trends in security and information technology, you can ensure your knowledge and skills match current needs.

step 5Apply to Cybersecurity Jobs

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million unfulfilled cybersecurity jobs globally.

Here are some of the most in-demand roles in cybersecurity:

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Systems Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Network Engineer or Architect
  • Security Manager or Administrator
  • Vulnerability Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Cybersecurity Consultant
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Chief Information Security Officer

As you can imagine, there are many other positions and job titles in cybersecurity, and they will likely evolve and grow as technology and the threat landscape change.

What is a Cybersecurity Analyst?

A Cybersecurity Analyst enacts cybersecurity measures designed to protect and secure IT infrastructure including networks, hardware, and software from threats, attacks, and malicious actors.

A cybersecurity analyst will help protect a company and its infrastructure from:

  • Phishing, which often takes the form of fraudulent emails, calls, and other communications that aim to steal information including bank accounts, login information, and credit card numbers.
  • Malware or other malicious computer software can take forms including viruses, Trojans, or spyware.
  • Denial-of-service attacks where criminals try to overwhelm servers and a network with bogus traffic that locks out legitimate users.
  • SQL injections into an application’s database that give criminal actors access to sensitive data.

Why is Cybersecurity Important?

Cybersecurity is important because so much of our sensitive information – including personal and health data, intellectual property, and governmental information systems – is vulnerable to attack, and it needs to be properly protected.

The purpose of cybersecurity is to protect systems and data from cyber attacks. Individuals and organizations use cybersecurity to ensure that their data is safe from unauthorized access.

Cyber attacks can happen at any level, big or small. There have been incidences of governmental organizations being breached and citizens losing access to essential services. On an individual level, cyber crime victims have faced identity theft, blackmail, and extortion.

Cyber attacks are one of the world’s fastest-growing crimes, and cybersecurity is a crucial practice as the rate of cybercrime skyrockets. Risk Based Security found that, in 2019, over 15.1 billion records were exposed and 7,098 breaches were reported. By 2021, it is projected that damage from cybercrime will exceed $6 trillion, making cybersecurity more important now than ever. Cyber criminals are also becoming more innovative in their tactics, making cybersecurity critically important.

Any business that relies on internet-connected systems (which is nearly every modern business) needs to put cybersecurity measures in place. A robust cybersecurity strategy involves implementing multiple layers of protection on devices, programs, and networks. Tools, such as firewalls and antivirus software, should be used alongside cybersecurity best practices to ensure that data is protected.

Benefits of Cybersecurity

There are many benefits to seriously investing in cybersecurity, including protecting company data against unauthorized access, improving business performance, and building customer confidence. There is also a steep potential cost if cybersecurity isn’t taken seriously enough. Here are just a few of the benefits that cybersecurity can bring to a business:

Cybersecurity protects against cyber attacks

Cybersecurity measures and tools assess vulnerabilities and prevent threats from infiltrating systems. This keeps sensitive data secure and ensures that only authorized users can access information. Good cybersecurity can provide a comprehensive sense of protection from cyber attacks that could compromise the safety of your customers and employees.

Cybersecurity saves time, money and keeps companies online

Viruses can slow down computers and cause interruptions in business operations. If a significant breach occurs, it can be costly to bring in outside services and experts to deal with the consequences. In the long run, cybersecurity measures end up saving businesses time and money — especially since a security vulnerability could lead to outages that could cost a fortune in lost business.

Cybersecurity improves employee productivity

With proper cybersecurity measures in place, employees can work efficiently on computer equipment that runs free of viruses, Adware, and Ransomware.

Good security improves customer confidence

A robust cybersecurity strategy will inspire confidence in customers. Many businesses gather information from their customers, so customers need to feel that their data is in safe hands. You don’t want your clients and customer base to have to worry about providing their sensitive personal information to sign up for an account or place orders with your company.

Prevents against public-relations disasters

Some companies get hacked to embarrassing effect, while others never see their reputations recover after being insufficiently careful with customer info.

Cybersecurity strategy helps you recover from a data breach

In the event there is a cyber attack, having the right cybersecurity policies and recovery plans in place will allow the company to quickly recover and resume business operations.

Is Cybersecurity a Growing Field?

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for Information Security Analysts will grow 28% between 2016 and 2026, which is roughly an increase of 28,500 jobs.

In a study by Enterprise Strategy Group and the Information Systems Security Association, 70 percent of cybersecurity professionals report that their organization has a cybersecurity skills shortage. As the need for cybersecurity grows, companies are focused on finding people with the right skills.

Cybercrime is becoming more common, and no organization or individual that uses online systems is immune to attacks. The results can be devastating – data breaches have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. Organizations are seeing high-profile companies fall victim to cyber-attacks, so the demand for cybersecurity professionals is now at an all-time high.

What Is a Cybersecurity Analyst?

A Cybersecurity Analyst, also called an Information Security Analyst, is responsible for protecting a company’s networks and servers. They plan, evaluate and implement security strategies to prevent breaches and ensure that a company’s digital assets are secure.

In their role, Cybersecurity Analysts determine whether any weaknesses exist in information systems and develop strategies and solutions to fix these vulnerabilities. They install software and encryption, research information technology trends, review suspicious activity, and educate employees about security. In the case a cyber attack occurs, Cybersecurity Analysts often lead efforts to defend against and recover from the attack.

How Do I Become a Cybersecurity Analyst With No Experience?

Even if you have no experience in cybersecurity, you can become a Cybersecurity Analyst by equipping yourself with the right knowledge and training. First, you need to learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity. Taking a course or program in cybersecurity will give you foundational knowledge about systems and security. You should also build your knowledge around operating systems, databases, and network architecture and administration.

Next, you’ll want to develop the right technical skills. Cybersecurity Analysts work to protect and defend systems and networks, so you’ll need to have basic information technology skills, like system and web application administration. You can also use virtual training labs to practice cybersecurity skills, such as penetration testing and ethical hacking.

While not all Cybersecurity Analyst roles require coding skills, it can be helpful to learn to code enough that you have a basic understanding of some languages, like C, C++, JavaScript, Python, PHP, and SQL. This will be especially helpful down the line as you advance in your cybersecurity career.

Attaining a cybersecurity certificate can also be especially useful if you have no experience. These certificates signal to employers that you have the necessary training and are dedicated to staying up to date on your craft. Some popular certificates include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

Finally, you’ll want to continue to update your training, skills, and knowledge. Cybersecurity is a quickly evolving field. In order to stand out amongst other job applicants, you’ll need to know about the latest technologies and strategies to prevent cyber attacks.