What Does It Take to Work in Cybersecurity?

By BridgingMinds Network Posted 2mth(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes


The cybersecurity world has experienced incredible demand in recent years— and this transition is due to global acknowledgment for the need for increased cybersecurity.

The world runs digitally these days; and cyber criminals have increased as well. This led to cybersecurity strategies that can resolve IT problems and control threats occurring in the technology field.

Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for protecting the IT world from rising threats and issues. Cybersecurity must be viewed as a risk management issue, and not merely a technical issue. Decision should be deliberated at the appropriate management level to balance the trade-offs between security, operational requirement and cost.

Organizations must adopt a “defence-in-depth” approach, addressing security gaps between policies and practices.

But what do these cybersecurity professionals do? Let’s take a look at their roles and responsibilities.

What are some of the cybersecurity roles?

Professionals who take responsibility for protecting networks, infrastructure, and computer systems are IT security professionals.

These roles may include cybersecurity analyst, incident response analyst, cyber forensic investigator, system administrators, network security officers, information security engineers, application security engineers, network managers, network engineers, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Information Audit Manager (IAM), and Information Risk Manager (IRM).

These are just a few of the primary roles for IT security professionals—more roles are added as new ways to protect against cyber threats evolve.

As new ways to protect against cyber threats evolve, organizations have been adding new roles to expand their pool of IT security professionals. 

It’s important that organizations have a “baked-in” cybersecurity strategy versus a “bolt-on” one. This means that security is part of the conversation from the very beginning when formulating their strategic initiatives.

Cybersecurity efforts in most organizations focus almost exclusively on protecting their physical assets. As such, security is seen as a standard operating cost when doing business, leading to it being segregated from the rest of the business.

Separating cybersecurity from the rest of the business can lead to numerous complications. One of which is obtaining the needed resources to close the security gaps and to reduce a company exposure to cyber risks.

In order to properly understand cybersecurity and mitigate risk, cybersecurity needs to be seen less as a cost of doing business, and more of a tool to protect the business as a whole and enabling the business to succeed in the marketplace.

What are some of the responsibilities?

The job of an IT security professional revolves around protecting IT systems. This includes network, infrastructure, applications and all other areas of IT.

Securing information assets, customer data, financial information, and other critical information is the key responsibility of an IT security professional.

In addition to a range of security tasks, IT security professionals have to provide access and information to users based on their job requirements. However access and information should only be given when there are legitimate reasons.

Each IT security department has policies and principles and it follows a set of rules, regulations, methodologies and strategies to protect information systems.

Many IT professionals have had to assume security responsibilities over time. They have an operational role, and are also required to take on a security role as well. It is often difficult to fulfill both. When need increases, cybersecurity teams have to grow and responsibilities allocated to avoid internal fraud activities. It is important to segregate duties and establish independent review of activities around security functions.

7 critical tasks

While the functions of each IT security professional may vary, there are certain tasks that are critical:

  1. Develop and design security devices and software to ensure the safety of clients’ or internal products and information

  2. Manage security measures for information technology system within a network system

  3. Conduct security assessment and cyber risk management

  4. Operate regular inspections of systems and network processes for security updates

  5. Conduct audit process for initiating security and safety measures and strategies

  6. Customize access to information based on rules and necessity

  7. Maintain standard information security policy, procedure, and services

IT security professionals also need to be updated with advanced technology knowledge and skills along with a collaborative mindset to meet information security and business goals.

Besides critical technical skills, IT security professionals also need to be updated with advanced technology knowledge as well as possess a collaborative mindset to meet information security and business goals.

4 critical skills

Finding secure ways to implement technology and adopt measures that reduce the risks is the primary objective of every IT security professional.

But what are the skills that make an IT professional stand out from the rest?

  1. To ensure protection of network, infrastructure, and computer systems, he or she must be aware of evolving security measures and controls and have the ability to implement these in the organization.

  2. An IT security professional should be strategic enough to judge the “before and after” consequences of any security measure.

  3. They should have adequate management and communication skills to ensure effective coordination with teams and clients. He or she needs to communicate with every professional within an organization about IT security as well as effectively relay security measures and principles to clients/vendors.

  4. Be technically competent to learn new advanced technology skills in order to grasp technical security issues immediately and resolve them.

In information security, there is a well-known (and oft-repeated) objective called "confidentiality, integrity, and availability,” or CIA which stands for:

  1. Confidentiality takes into account what a company needs to do to ensure sensitive data and information stays private.

  2. Integrity is focused on the lifecycle of the data and ensuring that it is always accurate.

  3. Availability means that your hardware and software systems have constant uptime and that everything is maintained properly.