In the modern age, the internet has become a major source of finding information and sharing data. However, with the continuous infestation of malware, data security has become a big challenge for individuals and organizations. People often fall prey to hackers easily. Consequently, they either lose valuable data or their personal information is exploited for malicious purposes. With millions of dollars lost every year to security breaches, organizations need to be aware of potential risks and how to mitigate them.
Considering how cybercriminals are innovating new methods to comprise networks and application security, many organizations have hired cybersecurity experts who devise mechanisms to protect sensitive information and counter possible attacks. This article aims at providing comprehensive information on cybersecurity, its importance, and how to become a cybersecurity professional.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a complete set of practices aimed at securing an organization’s network infrastructure, applications, servers, and data from internal and external threats and invasions. Cybersecurity aims to protect sensitive information from theft, monitor network activity, block unauthorized access, and turn down any active attacks.
Who Are Cybersecurity Specialists?
Cybersecurity specialists are security experts who help decision-makers develop security policies and are responsible for implementing security protocols throughout the organization. They use various tools and mechanisms to identify any weaknesses in the network, internet of things, applications, servers, and data centers and develop effective strategies to overcome these vulnerabilities and protect against possible security threats.
Cybersecurity experts are qualified individuals with specialized degrees, certifications, and relevant experience. Various educational institutions also offer cybersecurity bootcamp for fast-paced, targeted training to IT professionals who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
Cybercrimes are increasing at an alarming rate, and organizations are at a high risk of data breaches. Cybersecurity specialists are in great demand, with attractive salary packages and excellent growth opportunities. Firms are striving to acquire the best talent since they cannot compromise on data security.
Importance of Cybersecurity for Organizations
Businesses rely on digital information for decision-making and conducting day-to-day activities. An e-commerce business or a digital organization completely relies on its digital assets – information stored on servers and the cloud. Whether it’s personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property data, customer databases, or corporate information, organizations need to protect all types of information from cybercriminals. The absence of a robust cybersecurity program results in data vulnerability and disrupts services. Consequently, businesses have to bear the loss of millions of dollars.
Organizations face a staggering amount of security attacks every year. Here are some of the most common security attacks:
Denial of Service
Denial of service attacks is one of the most devastating cyber-attacks. Hackers overwhelm servers with millions of connection requests per second, causing the website to go offline as a result. By denying other users access to the website, hackers also attempt to breach security and steal sensitive information while the organization attempts to restore the site’s functionality.
Within a short time, denial of service attacks can cause millions of dollars in losses. A distributed denial of service attack on Google in June 2022 resulted in 46 million connections per second from thousands of IP addresses. Cybersecurity professionals help develop counter strategies to block such attacks using web firewalls, pen testing, and asset monitoring.
If employees are not adequately educated about the potential security threats and safety practices, some employees unintentionally or mistakenly cause data exposure, resulting in hacking attempts. On the other hand, a disgruntled employee can also get access to sensitive organizational information and expose it to external entities.
Cybersecurity professionals ensure that security policies are strictly implemented, and monitor network activity and connection requests to ensure data is not leaked from within the organization. They also conduct training sessions to make the employees aware of several forms of cybersecurity threats and safety precautions.
Malware and Ransomware
Although malware and ransomware have been here for more than a decade, they’re still one of the most dangerous forms of cybersecurity threats most organizations face. Hackers disguise themselves as authoritative figures from credible organizations and trick employees into clicking a link or opening an attachment.
As a result, malware or ransomware is downloaded directly on the devices or computers, and the hacker gets access to sensitive information. Cybersecurity experts ensure that the security system, including web security solutions, hardware and software firewall, and data encryption is up to date and functional to prevent infiltration of malware or ransomware.
Banking Trojans are another type of malware. In such an attack, the hacker pretends themselves as an official from a bank and tricks the employees into giving out financial information such as credit card numbers, company account details, and personal information. A cybersecurity professional helps mitigate such attacks and educates employees on how to counter such attacks.
Developing a Career in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is critical for every organization. By getting a relevant education, certification, and practical experience, a cybersecurity professional can gain a competitive advantage over other IT professionals. To become a cybersecurity professional, you need the following:
- A bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity or software engineering
- Certifications including CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker), CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor), or CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).
- Experience in software development, data encryption, network management, or cybersecurity
Here are some of the most rewarding career paths for a cybersecurity professional:
Security architects or cybersecurity engineers are responsible for planning and implementing security systems against an array of cybersecurity threats. People who have practical knowledge of IT networks, data encryption techniques, and penetration testing can pursue careers in this field.
Chief Information Officer
A chief information officer or chief security officer is an expert cybersecurity specialist who develops and implements security policies. This is a high-level managerial job, and people with extensive experience in cybersecurity are eligible for this post.
If you’re a cybersecurity professional but don’t want to limit yourself to one organization, cybersecurity consultancy is the best career path for you. As a cybersecurity consultant, you will be working with multiple clients to analyze their current infrastructure and provide security solutions.
With a shocking increase in cybercrimes and security threats, organizations need to hire cybersecurity professionals to design and implement state-of-the-art security systems for foolproof information and network security. This comprehensive guide will help you assess the importance of cybersecurity professionals for organizations and the prospects of these experts in career growth.